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From 10:45am to 11:30am
MACHINE GUN CORPS Tuesday 11th November 2014, 11.00 to 11.30 at Cheriton Road Cemetery
At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Two Minute Silence is observed on Armistice Day. The time which marks the end of hostilities in the First World War in 1918.
A short service is held at the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) Memorial (dedicated to World War I soldiers, and after standards have been displayed and wreaths laid, the Last Post and Reveille are played.
The Folkestone ceremony takes place at the cemetery in Cheriton Road at the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) Memorial, which is dedicated to World War 1 soldiers.
The Mayor and veterans will attend a short service arranged by the Cheriton & Morehall Branch Royal British Legion. After standards have been displayed and wreaths laid, the Last Post & Reveille are played. All are welcome to pay their respects at this short moving service.
One of the less well known military connections of the south Kent town of Folkestone is with the Machine Gun Corps. The MGC was one of the few “war raised” units, having no existence prior to the conflict, and suffered the ignoble fate of disbandment as soon as WW1 was over.
On the outbreak of war in 1914 the British army continued to place its reliance upon cold steel and the rifle; the professional soldier could fire 15 aimed rounds from his Lee Enfield rifle in one minute and, such was the effectiveness of this skill, that during the retreat from Mons the Germans believe that they were coming under machine gun fire.
The army was equipped with the Maxim and Vickers machine guns, but in only limited numbers - far fewer that the Germans. It was in an attempt to rectify this
disadvantage that the MGC was formed.
For an organisation that numbered over 100,000 men of all ranks, it is a mystery why so few records exist about the Corps. It has been suggested that the army “establishment” wanted to quickly forget that the Corps ever existed - it had, after all, taken away from the long established infantry regiments some of the very best and cleverest officers whose skill at arms, in mathematics, trigonometry and calculus would become such an asset in the operation of the Vickers machine guns.
Line regiments were combed for recruits to the Corps, taking the fittest and the best meet the demand for ever more intelligent young men to man the guns. It succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of its conception, becoming in two short
years a model of ruthless efficiency and operational supremacy.
Little wonder that its demise was looked upon with satisfaction in some quarters.
Conveniently, perhaps, all of its operational records, its establishments and
regimental orders were totally destroyed in a mysterious fire which took place at the
last Headquarters of the Corps, at Shorncliffe, near Folkestone in 1920. Not a single sheet of paper survived and even the partly written history of the Corps was lost.
No attempt has been made to put right this omission until recent years. Jeanne Brinton, a member of the Old Comrades Association of the MGC wrote an article which appeared on Emma Gee, the official magazine of the OCA.