01 August 2023
The Vickers MG Collection and Research Association is very pleased to announce access to an unparalleled collection of records linked to the Machine Gun Corps.
The Machine Gun Corps Database has been compiled by one of the association’s members, Graham Sacker, who has spent more than 20 years collecting and collating records of the men who served in the corps from 1915 to 1922.
Director of the VMGCRA Richard Fisher said, “This database is a magnificent piece of work that Graham has spent so long collating. He's been helping people with their enquiries for many years but to allow us to share his entire archive like this massively simplifies how people can find out information about their MGC relatives.”
Saturday 15 July, marked the 101st anniversary of the Machine Gun Corps disbandment. The Machine Gun Corps was an influential unit of the British Army formed by Royal Warrant on 14 October 1915, which at its peak comprised nearly 160,000 officers and men. Responsible for operating the British Army’s Vickers Machine Guns, seven of the Corps’ members were Victoria Cross recipients and more than 12,000 were killed during World War I. The Corps was disbanded in July 1922 but its legacy has survived through the machinegunners of the British Army.
Thanks to Graham’s hard work and generosity the Association can now offer access to an unrivalled free to access database with over 128,000 records. Graham and Richard have created a comprehensive guide on how to use the database. The database has been added to the Association’s UK National Archives catalogue enabling rapid and concise searches. This open access via the National Archives’ Discovery Catalogue should make it easy to find MGC soldier information in a one stop location alongside the war diaries, medal index cards and many other records from institutions around the country.
This will be invaluable for family and military historians enabling them to find out more about individuals; however, the Association would also like to hear from academics and educational organisations that may wish to access the whole database and study the ‘big data’ information it gives.
Additionally, to further commemorate the MGC the Association has recently published Postcards of the Machine Gun Corps: Volume 1, the first edition of a series of books analysing postcards drawn from Graham’s extensive collection. The book comprises 50 fascinating postcard photographs alongside descriptions and analyses of the uniforms, equipment, weapons and other noteworthy elements.
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