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The Canadian "Emma Gees"
A History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps
Lt.-Col. C.S. Grafton

Transcribed by Dwight G. Mercer

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During the Canadian occupation of Bonn, Germany, a Canadian Machine Gun Corps Historical Section was established, in charge of Major Harry Logan, M.C.  Capt. Mark Levey was added and with a staff of three or four undertook the task of gathering the necessary data.  Moving with Corps Headquarters, the section finally crossed to England and then eventually found itself in Ottawa.  Major Logan shortly after resumed his civil occupation and the work was carried on by Capt. Levey until February, 1920.  The result of these labors found their way into typewritten script, which, in three volumes, was bound and distributed to six persons.  Afterwards another set was subscribed for by other Machine Gunners interested and again only a few copies were available.

A great many Machine Gunners who continued on in the militia after the war were not aware of the existence of this history, but as the discussion of the necessity of getting a history written arose from time to time at Canadian M. G. Association meetings, only to be tabled, it was more widely recognized that the History already gathered would be the basis; of any further work undertaken.

Upon the disbandment of the C.M.G.C. in 1936, upon reorganization of the Canadian Militia, it seemed more urgent than ever that something regarding a History should be done.

When the writer first looked over the material collected (it dealt only with battles from Vimy Ridge, where the C.M.G.C. was first authorized) it was recognized that, because of its length, reprinting would run to a sum totally out of reach of available financial resources.  The writer, however, believed that the History as it existed could be condensed, given different continuity and narrative structure and as a History could be given abridged form. He therefore volunteered to undertake the task.

Later it seemed only proper that it should be written with a view, to having some value to a new generation of machine gunners and so it was necessary to provide a high-lighted background of Machine Gun History.

"The Book of the Machine Gun," by Major F.V. Longstaff and Capt. A.H. Atteridge, was taken, with the kind permission of the holder of the copyright, Major Longstaff, as the basis of the Introductory Chapter.  Many machine gunners of the Great War era were ignorant of the fact that quite an extensive library on machine gunnery of all nations had been written prior to 1914.  "The Book of the Machine Gun" may have been followed by many later works, but its general coverage of the Machine Gun's historical background up until 1917, when it was published, still seemed to be adequate today and the tactical principles advocated still as sound as they proved to be daring the Great War.

The writer is also indebted to the Historical Section, Department of National Defence, for aid in filling in data from M.G. Company reports dating from the formation of these units down to the Battles of the Somme and including some reports of Hill 70, which latter were missing in the original History.

He recognizes that from a purely History point of view the book will be considered inadequate, but to follow the fortunes, in minute detail, of at least 16 Infantry M.G. Companies from their Battalion Section beginnings and on into their absorption into M. G. Battalions would have required many volumes.  Briefly, it seemed more vital that some record should exist, no matter how inadequate than that the C.M.G.C. should disappear without a trace.

It is hoped, therefore, that this History will be judged by the limitations of finances and space imposed and that if the historical could not be preserved in full detail at least some flavor of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps, its triumphs and vicissitudes, has been retained for those who served and that future machine gunners may derive some value from this account of the Corps' phenomenal growth during the war and from incidents in battle, illustrative of the role of the Emma Gees.

July 15th 1938.
Timmins, Ont.

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