1912 – 1938
No. 2, assists No. 1 at the gun, carries the gun into action and mounts it with the assistance of the No. 1. In action he will attend to the feeding of the gun, watch for signals from the section or brigade machine gun officer, and generally assist the No. 1.
In January 1916, the War Office issued an Army Council Instruction withdrawing the use of rifles by the Nos. 1 and 2 of the Vickers and Maxim Machine Gun detachments: A.C.I. 1915/Jan/224.
It has been decided to withdraw the rifles and ammunition from Nos. 1 and 2 of all Vickers and Maxim Machine Gun detachments and to reduce the number of rounds carried by Nos. 3 and 4 to 50 rounds per man. This reduction will be carried out forthwith.
It was followed in June 1916 with a similar instruction for Hotchkiss Machine Gun detachments and, in the same Instruction, the Nos. 1 and 2 of Machine Gun detachments of Machine Gun Squadrons and Cavalry Regiments were permitted to be armed with revolvers (Army Council Instruction 1916/1265). It was followed in July by Army Council Instruction 1916/1382:
1939 – 1942
This Airlanding Bn No. 2 has his 1937 Pattern equipment, Airborne (Denison) Smock and Airborne Mk. II Helmet. As he is in the midst of training, he is wearing denim trousers without gaiters. He is not carrying his personal weapon at this time but would have been armed with a Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk. I (or Mk. I*) Rifle, Mk. 5 Sten Machine Carbine, Colt .45-inch Automatic pistol or Mk. IV .38-inch Revolver. He is carrying the Mk. I MMG, the spare parts case and a liner of 250-rounds of ammunition. The gun has been fitted with the barrel wrap and flash eliminator, with the condenser hose wrapped around the water jacket.
1943 – 1968
In the 1951 Manual, the No. 2 is identified as carrying the following equipment on a ‘long carry’: