Wanted: Bikers

The MotorCycle - Military Notes December the Second 1915

Dec 2nd 1915

Many of the 24 November 1915 intake in to the Motor Machine Gun Service went on to serve in tanks in 1916 and beyond.

They were all volunteers who had to pass a trade test before being selected for initial training.

Amongst those who were recruited, by the editor of the Motorcycle magazine, were twenty five men who went into action when tanks were used for the first time during the Battle of Flers- Courcelette on 15 September 1916 (which we will describe in detail in Sep 2016). Of these, only Tom “Tippo” Wilson died of his wounds as a result of the battle but Harry Tiffin was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Cambrai on 20 November 1917.

Four of the men ended up as officers, two were awarded the Military Cross – Percy Boult winning a MC and Bar – and a further six were awarded the Military Medal.

Not a bad record for a bunch of bikers.

What’s in a Name?

As work on the prototype continued in Lincoln there was much discussion at the War Office and in the Admiralty on how this new capability, the Landship, should be developed.
Sir Tennyson D’Eyncourt was concerned about security and in particular he was worried that the continued use of the term Landship would lead to this new secret weapon being discovered before it could be used in anger.

On 4 November he wrote a memo that, instead of Landships, referred to the prototype vehicles as Water Carriers. And so, briefly, the committee overseeing the development was known as the WC Committee.