The name of James Leith is recorded on the Machine Gun Corps ( Infantry) section of the Memorial Wall at Pozieres British Cemetery. The Memorial to the Missing commemorates over 14,000 men, the majority of whom, fell during the German offensive of March / April 1918 and who have no known grave. Pozieres Ridge and Pozieres village were front line British positions prior to this action.
Pozieres British Cemetery, Somme
The inscription over the Cemetery entrance reads
Pozieres British Cemetery
In memory of the officers and men of the fifth and fourth armies who fought on the Somme battlefields 21st March - 27th August 1918 and to those of their dead who have no known grave
Photographed August 2000
The Machine Gun Corps
The Machine Gun Corps was a war-time creation in the First World War, originally centralising machine gun crews from a number of infantry and cavalry regiments and other technically competent soldiers. The Corps was intended to exploit the Vickers Medium Machine Gun in support of other arms operations. The Machine Gun Corps was formed in 1915 with three branches: the Cavalry Branch, the Infantry Branch, and the Motor Branch or Motorised Machine Gun Service. The Cavalry and Infantry Branches wore the corps cap badge of crossed Vickers machine guns beneath a crown. The Motor Branch of the Machine Gun Corps (the MMG Service) wore the corps cap badge with the letters MMG beneath.
The Heavy Branch of the Machine Gun Corps grew out of the MMG Service in 1916 and then gave birth to the Tank Corps (later The Royal Tank Corps and then The Royal Tank Regiment) in 1917. The Motor Branch of the Machine Gun Corps gradually disbanded, and its personnel were absorbed into the Tank Corps.
Brigade Machine Gun Companies were formed in most divisions in Jan 1916, and in Feb 1918 the machine gun companies (about 300) were grouped into battalions (about 100). The Cavalry Branch had 26 squadrons. The Motor MG Service had about 40 companies. They were numbered in several separate sequences, such as "Mobile MG Company", "Light Armoured Car Battery", "Railway Armoured Motor Battery", and "Light Car Patrol". Some units were mounted on motorcycles with sidecars.
Existing separately outside the MG Corps was the "Guards Machine Gun Regiment" of 1918-20, also known as the "6th or Machine Gun Regiment of Foot Guards", consisting of five battalions - the three Household Cavalry regiments having been totally converted to this role, the five Foot Guards regiments contributing a regular and a reserve battalion.
Belton Park, near Grantham in Lincolnshire, was also the Corps Depot and Training establishment of the Machine Gun Corps from 1915 to 1920. It is now in the care of the National Trust for England and Wales.
The Machine Gun Corps was formally disbanded in 1922.