The Machine Gun Training Centre identifies the Machine Gunner as being a special type of soldier that has

Unusual strength of body and suppleness of muscles; the keen eye and cunning hand; speed of foot, steel nerves, a stout heart – these are the physical requirements. The machine gunner must be possessed, also, of intelligence above the average: his mind must be swift as a bullet in flight: he must be resourceful, audacious, possessed of initiative, capable of endurance to the uttermost.

The training of the Machine Gunner was very extensive and initially covered the elementary subjects of machine gunnery but there were also specialisms in Fire Control and Range-Taking.

Training was carried out at specialist establishments. These were initially the Machine Gun Schools which later became the Small Arms School Corps establishments. However, during the Second World war, the numbers of trainees exceeded what the SASC could deal with so they only trained MG Instructors and senior ranks and other ranks were training using Machine Gun Training Centres.

Training the Machine Gunner

For elementary training, the machine gunner would undergo an extended period of training.  By 1951, this had developed into the course shown here.

Training the Fire Controller

Any member of the MG Platoon that had to control a number of guns was considered a Fire Controller.  They had to do additional training, described here for the 1951 course.

Training the Range-taker

A key member of the MG Platoon was the range-taker.  He used the range-finder equipment and had to be trained to do so.  The syllabus is here.

The Machine Gun School

To develop training methods and improve machine gunnery in general, Machine Gun Schools were established.  From 1929, it was staffed by the Small Arms School Corps.

Machine Gun Training Centres

For large-scale training, Machine Gun Training Centres were formed to provide machine gunners with elementary training.

Officer Cadet Training Units

Officers for Machine Gun units in the Second World War we’re trained at these Units.