No. 16 Battalion, Machine Gun Corps

A Machine Gun Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps was attached to each Infantry Division and was formed of four MG Companies.

The 16th Bn, MGC was formed on 9 March 1918.

Division attached to:16th (Irish) Division
Formed from the:47th Machine Gun Company
48th Machine Gun Company
49th Machine Gun Company
269th Machine Gun Company

As a unit of the 16th (Irish) Division, it will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.

21 March to 03 AprilFIRST BATTLES OF THE SOMME [VII Corps until 25 March; then XIX Corps, Fifth Army, until 02 April; then XIX Corps, Fourth Army].
21 to 23 MarchBattle of St. Quentin [VII Corps, Fifth Army].
26 and 27 MarchBattle of Rosieres [XIX Corps, Fifth Army].

Between the 21st March and 3rd April the 16th Division had 7,149 casualties. Except the artillery and the machine guns, where were left to cover the 14th Division, the 16th Division was relieved by the 3rd April, and on the 4th April the Division concentrated in the Hallencourt West Area. On the 10th the Division was transferred to XIII Corps, First Army, and the work of reorganising and refitting began. On the 14th April the three infantry brigades were formed into a compostie infantry brigade (under Br.-Gen. F.W. Ramsay) and moved to Therouanne, and on the 16th this brigade began work on the G.H.Q. Line at Isbergues, in front of Aire. On the same day the Division was reorganized in four battalions and six training staffs. Work on the G.H.Q. Line continued until the 14th May, when the Division moved to Samer (south-east of Boulougne) and was employed in training American troops (4th and 80th American Divisions)…

The Battalion was sent to Camiers on 08 May 1918 and all personnel reposted to Infantry Battalions and the transport went to Abbeville.

A reformed Battalion was formed at Grantham on 18 June 1918. It embarked at Southampton on 15 July 1918, disembarked at le Havre on 16 July 1918, left le Havre on 18 July 1918 and joined the 16th (Irish) Division on 02 August 1918 at Samer.

…The reconstituted division returned to France on the 27th July, and on the 2nd August the 16th Division was concentrated in the Samer area in First Army Reserve. On the 18th August the Division moved forward and on the 22nd took over the centre sector of the front held by I Corps, Fifth Army; the divisional artillery rejoined between the 28th August and 7th September. The 16th Division was then complete and before the Armistice it took part in the following operations:-

02 October to 11 NovemberTHE FINAL ADVANCE IN ARTOIS AND FLANDERS [I Corps, Fifth Army].

Starting its advance from near Vermelles the 16th Division crossed the Schelde on the 9th November and occupied Geuronde (north of Antoing). When the Armistice brought hostilities to a close at 11 a.m. on the 11th November, the Division was halted on the Schelde and the engineers were repairing and strengthening the bridges.

Until the end of November the Division remained billeted to the west of Seclin. The month was spent in training – military, educational, and recreational, and on the 11th December the first party (coal miners) left for demobilization. In January 1919 the Division dwindled further as demobilization went on. The Division was still in the same billets when H.R.H. the Prince of Wales stayed with it from the 1st to the 3rd February and inspected the units. By the 30th March the dwindling division was drawn in around railhead at Templeuve, and nearly all the units had been reduced to cadre. On the 29th May all cadres were further reduced by 75 per cent., and at the end of the month the Division was broken up in France. Its history had come to an end. During the Great War the 16th Division lost 28,398 killed, wounded, and missing.


Leave a Reply