Formed on the 12th November, 1914, the Motor Machine Gun Service was organised into Motor Machine Gun Batteries and was part of the Royal Field Artillery.
Army Order 480. 1914. XV. – Motor Machine Gun Service
- A motor machine gun battery will be added to each division of the Expeditionary Force.
- Personnel for these batteries will be found from volunteers from units of the New Armies, or by special enlistments for the motor machine gun service.
- Serving non-commissioned officers and men volunteering and accepted for service with a motor machine gun battery will be transferred to the Corps of the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery, and posted to the motor machine gun service, and will receive pay at the rates laid down for Royal Field Artillery.
- Instructions will be issued later as to the qualifications for proficiency pay. In the meantime men transferred to the motor machine gun service will retain their present rates.
- Enlistment for the motor machine gun service will not be carried out without special orders. Any men so enlisted will be attested for general service for the duration of the war, and appointed to the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery for duty with the motor machine gun service.
- Officers who volunteer and are accepted will be seconded for the period of the war, or while employed with a motor machine gun battery.
- The Officer in charge Records, Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery, will be the Officer in charge of Records for the motor machine gun service.
On establishment, the MMGS formed a training centre at the National Rifle Association ranges at Bisley, Surrey.
Army Council Instruction 289 of 26 October 1914 set down the requirements for the Motor Machine Gun Service.
289. Motor Machine-Gun Battery for each Division of the [Expeditionary Force].
[General Officers Commanding-in-Chief] are informed that it has been decided to add to each division of the [Expeditionary Force] a motor machine-gun battery with a [War Establishment] as shown in the attached table.
2. In order to provide the personnel for these motor machine-gun batteries volunteers are required from units of the New Armies. Officers who volunteer and are accepted will be seconded for the period of the war. [Non-commissioned officers] and men will be transferred for purposes of organization and promotion to a “Motor Machine Gun Service.”
Pay for all ranks will be as laid down for the [Royal Field Artillery].
3. Only men who can ride a motor-cycle and understand its mechanism may be recommended for transfer to the motor machine-gun service. It is particularly desirable to get men who are familiar with the “Scott” motor cycle.
4. The officers and [non-commissioned officers] for 10 batteries and 40 privates to be furnished by the [General Officer Commanding-in-Chief] Eastern Command, will assemble at Hythe on 31st October 1914, for a preliminary course of three weeks.
5. The remainder of the rank and file will assemble at a time and station to be notified later.
6. [General Officers Commanding-in-Chief] are therefore requested to call for volunteers immediately.
The names of all officers volunteering and recommended should be reported by telegraph to the [War Office].
[Non-commissioned officers] volunteering and recommended up to the maximum numbers shown below, together with the party of 40 privates referred to in para. 4, should be ordered to join at Hythe on Saturday, 31st October, 1914, and their rank, name, number and regiment reported to the [War Office].
The remaining rank and file volunteering and recommended up to the numbers shown above should be recorded on nominal rolls pending further instructions.
7. The numbers “other ranks” required from each command are:-
Serjeants. Corporals. Privates and Drivers. Aldershot 10 10 140 Southern Command 10 10 140 Eastern Command 10 10 140* Northern Command 2 2 28 Irish Command 4 4 56
* including the 40 privates referred to in para. 4.
Additional numbers will be required later for the New Armies to be formed.
(L. 20/Art./3784, A.G.1)
On 21 November 1914, they had their own Motor Machine-Gun Training Centre opened at Bisley by virtue of Army Council Instruction 193 of 17th November, 1914.
All personnel became part of the Motor branch of the Machine Gun Corps on its formation in October, 1915.
The strength of the Machine Gun Corps (Motor) was recorded from January, 1915, until March, 1920, on a month-by-month basis.
At its peak, in April, 1915, it consisted of 141 officers and 3,758 other ranks – a total of 3,899 all ranks. A more detailed analysis is available on the MGC strength page.
It appears that some numerical references for MMG units are duplicated. The same reference appears to be used for both units equipped with light armoured cars and motorcycles.
More information on the Motor Machine Gun Batteries is available by clicking the link in the title of the Battery.
- No 1 Battery
- No 2 Battery
- No 3 Battery
- No 4 Battery
- No 5 Battery
- No 6 Battery
- No 7 Battery
- No 8 Battery, attached to the 14th (Light) Division (equipped with motorcycles) and also 1st Cavalry Division (equipped with armoured cars)
- No 9 Battery
- No 10 Battery
- No 11 Battery
- No 12 Battery, attached to the 17th (Northern) Division
- No 13 Battery
- No 14 Battery
- No 15 Battery, attached to the 18th (Eastern) Division, then XV Corps
- No 16 Battery
- No 17 Battery
- No 18 Battery
- No 19 Battery
- No 20 Battery
- No 21 Battery
- No 22 Battery
At the end of the Great War, the Machine Gun Corps (Motors) were gradually run down and individual units disbanded. The whole Corps was disbanded in 1922 along with the rest of the Machine Gun Corps.
The administrative run-down of the Corps included the cancellation in April 1922 of the Mobilization Stores Tables (Army Forms G1098) for the different units, including:
- Army Form G1098-7, “Motor Machine Gun Brigade (France).”
- Army Form G1098-420, “Motor Machine Gun Brigade Ammunition and Supply Column, R.A.S.C.”
- Becke, 1934
- Gould, 1977
- Longstaff and Atteridge, 1917
- The National Archives, WO 123/56, Army Orders 1914.
- The National Archives, WO 123/64, Army Orders 1922.
- The National Archives, WO 293/1, Army Council Instructions 1914.
- War Office, 1922