welch regt. mg team

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welch regt. mg team

Postby trooper » 22 Nov 2014 06:44

I am sure most members are aware of the Belgian army using dog pulled carts to carry their machine guns during WW1. It would appear that the Welch Regiment had a similar thought even earlier as the attached photo shows. it has been dated to c,1912. Trooper
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby jf42 » 22 Nov 2014 20:49

An interesting discovery. Was it not tried more generally, perhaps because it was seen as not quite British?

I suspect that the Belgians may have been using dogs for military purposes for some time the outbreak of war, rather than coming up with it in August 1914, as it were. Dog-drawn carts, for example, were used for milk deliveries and other local food runs.

Not a gun person but is the fact that the MG is a Maxim rather than a Vickers relevant?
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby trooper » 23 Nov 2014 08:24

The Maxim is relevant in helping date the photograph as the Vickers wasn't introduced until November 1912. I wonder why the Welch decided on this mode of transport rather than using a pack mule, maybe they were more easy to control? It would appear to have been unique to the regiment as I have never seen or heard of the practice being applied anywhere else. Trooper
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby grumpy » 23 Nov 2014 16:44

Nice one. If 1912 [I do not dispute] WELSH not Welch [1920].
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby trooper » 23 Nov 2014 19:36

[quote="grumpy"]Nice one. If 1912 [I do not dispute] WELSH not Welch [1920].[/quote]

My heading was based on the inscription on the side of the cart. Trooper
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby grumpy » 23 Nov 2014 20:42

I sympathise. Both the Welsh and the Royal Welsh were enaged in a constant struggle against authority, preferring their ancient Welch, whereas the official line was rigidly Welsh .... Army List, Colours, badges and the rest. Both regiments used Welch internally. The official spellings had alternated C/S/C/S from time immemorial, until 1920, and even then the regiments were shafted on merging in 2006.

Relics of the power struggle are to be found in CWGC cemeteries of the Great War, where both versions can be found side by side. This is because the stones were first engraved after 1920 [Welch] but some interfering twerp reminded CWGC c. 1985 that this was incorrect. As stones need replacing, the spelling is "corrected".

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby jf42 » 23 Nov 2014 22:57

Is the Welch/Welsh dichotomy found only within certain West British regimental circles or is it found in wider Wales?
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby Frogsmile » 24 Nov 2014 12:11

trooper wrote:I am sure most members are aware of the Belgian army using dog pulled carts to carry their machine guns during WW1. It would appear that the Welch Regiment had a similar thought even earlier as the attached photo shows. it has been dated to c,1912. Trooper


It says E Company, WELCH on the cart and we can deduce a few things from that and the dress of the men. The caps are circa 1905+ and there are shoulder straps rather than cords, with no cloth shoulder titles, all of which indicate post 1908 when metal titles were introduced. There were 2 Maxim Guns under a subaltern and a sergeant in each battalions MG Section, for which transport was provided on the establishment table. In 1912 the Maxims were exchanged for Vickers, except in TF Battalions. Regular battalions were still using the WELSH spelling but at least one TF Battalion was using WELCH. Regulars changed to the 4 (double) company organisation (A to D) circa 1913-14, whereas TF did not do so until 1915. Together these factors suggest that it is a TF Battalion's MG Section, probably around 1910-12. Could the animals be Hounds from a country land-owner's hunting pack, suitably trained? The history of the Welsh Regt might perhaps throw some light on this unusual arrangement.
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby grumpy » 24 Nov 2014 16:12

I believe not all regular battalions had Vickers on 4th August 1914, and, for example, 2nd RWF only had ancient gun-carriages for their MGs, rather than tripods.
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby Frogsmile » 24 Nov 2014 17:02

grumpy wrote:I believe not all regular battalions had Vickers on 4th August 1914, and, for example, 2nd RWF only had ancient gun-carriages for their MGs, rather than tripods.


I can well believe that Grumpy as the issue of the new (Vickers) guns was, as always, phased. I wonder if the other units in 19th Bde missed out and that it was something to do with that brigade being rather cobbled together.
Anyway, I am not sure how 1st and 2nd Welsh were placed in regards to Vickers and I still think the photo might well show Territorials.
Is there a number in front of the word "WELCH" on the cart? I cannot tell.
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby jf42 » 24 Nov 2014 22:09

Frogsmile wrote: Could the animals be Hounds from a country land-owner's hunting pack, suitably trained? The history of the Welsh Regt might perhaps throw some light on this unusual arrangement.


That is an interesting notion, although from my limited knowledge of fox-hounds, the colouring is not right- and can you imagine any Master allowing his hounds to be used that way, even in the off-season? And, having not long ago been cornered in a neighbour's steading by a fox hound, supposedly retired, that decided to turn territorial, I wouldn't want to have to persuade any of those big b****rs that the King required their service.

The beasts in the OP,don't look too sure of the business do they? They have a mastiff look about them and I read that the Belgian matin was bred to draught work. That of course would be the key factor in any experiment with dog-drawn weaponry; not least in battle or, rather, mock-battle. I have visions of soldiers cursing and chasing recalcitrant dog teams as they belted off up some back road with the Maxim bouncing behind.
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby trooper » 25 Nov 2014 06:31

The caption on the side of the cart reads E Coy over Welch. Trooper
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby Frogsmile » 25 Nov 2014 17:58

jf42 wrote:
Frogsmile wrote: Could the animals be Hounds from a country land-owner's hunting pack, suitably trained? The history of the Welsh Regt might perhaps throw some light on this unusual arrangement.


That is an interesting notion, although from my limited knowledge of fox-hounds, the colouring is not right- and can you imagine any Master allowing his hounds to be used that way, even in the off-season? And, having not long ago been cornered in a neighbour's steading by a fox hound, supposedly retired, that decided to turn territorial, I wouldn't want to have to persuade any of those big b****rs that the King required their service.

The beasts in the OP,don't look too sure of the business do they? They have a mastiff look about them and I read that the Belgian matin was bred to draught work. That of course would be the key factor in any experiment with dog-drawn weaponry; not least in battle or, rather, mock-battle. I have visions of soldiers cursing and chasing recalcitrant dog teams as they belted off up some back road with the Maxim bouncing behind.


I don't think that they are Belgian dogs in terms of breed but I agree that it's not clear what breed they are.

It doesn't seem impossible that they might be hounds from a pack. There is always a breeding programme and usually one or two old favourite dogs that the Master cannot bear to put down, although they were usually pretty ruthless in culling useless hounds.

I seem to recall that there was a rather eccentric gentleman whose family had something to do with the Welsh Regiment but I cannot recall his name. In any case it is difficult to believe that there is not a record somewhere of what seems to have been a typically eccentric experiment with a dog drawn machine gun cart.
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby Frogsmile » 25 Nov 2014 18:06

trooper wrote:The caption on the side of the cart reads E Coy over Welch. Trooper


Thank you Trooper. It is unusual for a battalion number to not appear in front of the word Welch. We need to find out which battalion(s) was/were using the Welch spelling at that time, as I don't think that the regulars were, although there seems to have been inconsistency.
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Re: welch regt. mg team

Postby jf42 » 25 Nov 2014 18:46

Well, I think most fox hounds are are liver and white, aren't - although there's probably some obscure arcane term they use. I didn't mean to suggest they had imported some Belgian mastiffs but, then again, I think it's unlikely you can hitch any old pair of dogs to a cart and expect them to comply. Training, if not breeding, would be fairly important. And, without wishing to flog a dead hound, it would have to be a very decrepit fox hound who would submit to being put in traces. They are bred to run fast and bite, after all. Tricky beasts.

I wonder if local press archives might contain some nuggets hidden away.
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