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The Plugstreet Archaeological Project

The 1st NZ Machine Gun Company.




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The 1st NZ Machine Gun Company was part of 1st NZ Brigade, New Zeland Division.

At the Battle of Messines the Company took part in the attack near Petit Douve Farm on the 7th of June 1917.



Those who served with The 1st NZ Machine Gun Company

at The Battle of Messines



History of the 51st (Highland) Division 1914-1918

F.W. Bewsher


The Highland Division was one of the pre-war Territorial divisions. Its HQ was in Perth with brigade HQs in Aberdeen, Inverness and Stirling. On mobilization the division moved down to its war station in Bedford where it remained, carrying out training till embarking for France in May 1915. During this period six of its battalions were sent to France, three in November 1914 and three in the following March, replaced by two Highland battalions and a brigade of four Lancashire battalions; it is not clear whether the latter were required to wear kilts. They were transferred to the 55th (West Lancashire) Division when that division reformed in France in January 1916 and were replaced, appropriately, by Scottish battalions. It was in May 1915, just as the division arrived in France, that it was designated 51st and the brigades 152nd, 153rd and 154th; by the end of the war the 51st (Highland) Division had become one of the best known divisions in the BEF.


History of the 9th (Scottish) Division

John Ewing


The division’s record is graphically described in this history - what Field Marshal Lord Plumer in his foreword referred to as “a record of wonderful development of fighting efficiency.” There are useful appendices giving the Order of Battle, command and staff lists with the various changes; a table showing periods spent in the line, with locations; a table of battle casualties and the VC citations. The maps are good with adequate detail for actions to be followed.


Machine-Guns and the Great War

Paul Cornish


More information on:

Machine-Guns and the Great War




Mud, Blood and Bullets: Memoirs of a Machine Gunner on the Western Front.

Edward Rowbotham


It is 1915 and the Great War has been raging for a year, when Edward Rowbotham, a coal miner from the Midlands, volunteers for Kitchener's Army. Drafted into the newly-formed Machine Gun Corps, he is sent to fight in places whose names will forever be associated with mud and blood and sacrifice: Ypres, the Somme, and Passchendaele. He is one of the 'lucky' ones, winning the Military Medal for bravery and surviving more than two-and-a-half years of the terrible slaughter that left nearly a million British soldiers dead by 1918 and wiped out all but six of his original company. He wrote these memoirs fifty years later, but found his memories of life in the trenches had not diminished at all. The sights and sounds of battle, the excitement, the terror, the extraordinary comradeship, are all vividly described as if they had happened to him only yesterday. Likely to be one of the last first-hand accounts to come to light, Mud, Blood and Bullets offers a rare perspective of the First World W


With A Machine Gun To Cambrai

George Coppard


First World War memoir of George Coppard who served as a private soldier from 1914 until he was wounded at the end of 1917.
More information on:

With A Machine Gun To Cambrai




Mud, Blood and Bullets: Memoirs of a Machine Gunner on the Western Front

Edward Rowbotham


Mud, Blood and Bullets is a useful and still rare addition to the ordinary soldier's experience of the Machine Gun Corps in World War I. --War Books Review Likely to be one of the last first-hand accounts to come to light, this book offers an ordinary soldier's viewpoint of WWI. --Best of British Magazine Product Description It is 1915 and the Great War has been raging for a year, when Edward Rowbotham, a coal miner from the Midlands, volunteers for Kitchener's Army. Drafted into the newly-formed Machine Gun Corps, he is sent to fight in places whose names will forever be associated with mud and blood and sacrifice: Ypres, the Somme, and Passchendaele. He is one of the 'lucky' ones, winning the Military Medal for bravery and surviving more than two-and-a-half years of the terrible slaughter that left nearly a million British soldiers dead by 1918 and wiped out all but six of his original company. He wrote these memoirs fifty years later, but found his memories of life in the trenc


Somewhere in Blood Soaked France

Alasdair Sutherland


This book follows the life of a crofters son from the Highlands of Scotland to Edinburgh and beyond and is a very rare example of a Brave man who secretely kept a diary during his military service from the Campaigns in Dardenelles, Egypt, the Somme, Ypres and every other battle he fought in, most not as memorable and probably long forgotten but every bit as Bloody. Angus's diary gives a modest and unique version of events he lived through and also the horrific conditions which he had to face on a daily basis. The author Alasdair Sutherland paints a bigger picture of what really took place on those diary entry dates looking back in time to the battlefields filling in the detail and giving the diary more depth and perspective. This is a unique story brought to life by a very knowledgeable author who researched the subject in great detail.


Somewhere in Blood Soaked France

Alasdair Sutherland


From the heat and dust of the Dardanelles to the mud of the Western Front, Corporal Angus Mackay had one constant companion, his diary. He wrote of the battles and campaigns he fought in, names that would go down in history: Gallipoli, the Somme, Ypres and Arras. Serving in the the 1st/5th Battalion (Queens Edinburgh Rifles) Royal Scots and later the 88th Brigade Machine Gun Corps, he left a record of one man's extraordinary and tragic war. In Somewhere in Blood Soaked France, Alasdair Sutherland reveals this previously unpublished account of the First World War, complete with historical context, orders of battle and extracts from official war diaries. This rare source - it was an offence to keep a record in a case of capture - offers a stirring insight into the bravery of Mackay and his companions, who were not afraid to die for their country. 'If I go under it will be in a good cause, so roll on the adventure.'




If you know of anyone who served with this unit at the Battle of Messines, please complete the form below so that they can be remembered.

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Surname:             * Of the veteran..
First Name:         
Middle Name(s):
Nick Name:       
Rank:                 
Galantry Awards: DSO, MID etc.
Service Number:
Service:               * British Army/AIF/NZ/RFC/Civilian. etc.
Unit:                     Regiment/Squadron etc.
Sub unit:              Battalion/Section/Flight/etc.
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Date of Death,     if during the war.
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