Famous Men of the Machine Gun Corps

updated on 10th July, 2020.

Edward Thomas M.M.

Reputed to have fired the first rifle shot of the British Army in the First World War on August 22nd 1914 whilst serving in the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards.

He enlisted as a drummer in the Royal Horse Artillery.  He was promoted Sergeant on November 5th 1915 and transferred to the MGC in 1916.  He returned to the Royal Irish Dragoons at the end of hostilities and was finally discharged in 1923.

Henry Williamson

The Author of such books as "Love and the Loveless" and "The Golden Virgin" both set during the First World War and "Tarka the Otter".

Tom Beaumont

Lawrence of Arabia's number one Vickers gunner during the campaign against the Turks in Palestine during 1917 and 1918. In civilian life, he worked in the textile industry.  During the Second World War, he trained Air Training Corps Cadets in armaments at Dewsbury.  He died in 1991 aged 93.

General Sir Richard Gale GCB, KBE, DSO, MC.

A career soldier who won the MC in 1918 as a junior MGC Officer.  Between the wars, he served in India and during the Second World War, in the 1st Parachute Brigade and then the 6th Airborne Division during the invasion of Normandy in the D-Day landings of 1944.

Private Alfred Hill

He was a member of the MGC and father of the comedian Benny Hill.

Bernard Dillon

Bernard was a well known jockey, and served in the transport lines at Belton Park, the MGC training depot.  He was not a good soldier and was often in trouble.  However, he was married to the famous actress Marie Lloyd who would travel to Grantham to upbraid any officer who had punished her husband.  These officers would often go missing when she arrived.
A recent BBC4 drama documentary about Marie Lloyd featured her husband.
He rode the winning horse in the 1910 Derby and twice won the 1000Guineas

Captain Kermit Roosevelt M.C.

The son of the former President of the United States of America, he was attached to the 14th Light Armoured Motor Battery.  The High Command decided they could not risk his life and so they made him an officer in charge of Transport (ancient Ford cars).  Thereafter, Captain Roosevelt made it his main aim in life to get his Ford in front of the Armour.  His Military Cross was well earned.

Copyright Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades' Association.

Articles written by Judith Lappin and Keith Stephenson.