Hoots from the Archive - Item from the Archive - The MGS Machine Gun

Posted by Rachel Kneale on 29 Feb 2024

Machine gun

In 1919 after the end of the Great War, the War Office gave a number of schools German machine guns and other weapons to thank them for their service during the conflict.

MGS had been applauded in the press for its programme of war service for boys. High Master J.L. Paton encouraged boys to to do their bit, and large numbers of boys embarked on work that later on in the war was formalised into a National Service scheme. Work included fruit picking and other agricultural work in the holidays, work at the Newton Heath railway depot after school, and work on the trams in Salford.

In addition, the MGS Officer Training Corps was set up in 1913 and it was specifically for this that the machine gun was given. Ulula reported, "To recall to future generations the part played by both officers and cadets of the M.G.S. O.T.C. in preparing candidates for commission during the Great War," the War Office have allotted the School a German Machine Gun. The question arises as to where the trophy shall be stationed. May we suggest that it might be useful as well as ornamental if mounted by the Porter's Lodge?

Until recently, we never knew what had become of this elusive gun. We might speculate that it was handed back to the Government at the outset of WWII, or melted down for metal, but where was it stationed prior to this?

A chance browse through the cricket archive threw up our answer:

This photograph dates from 1925, and was taken at "The Cliff" sports ground which the School bought in 1898 because MGS lacked sporting facilities at the Long Millgate site. The style of gun matches those seen in photographs from Winchester College, Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Portsmouth Grammar School and St. John's School, Leatherhead. It would have seemed sensible to place the gun at "The Cliff" where there was more space, although it isn't clear what other schools visiting for sports fixtures would have made of it!

Rachel Kneale


Alan Sutton

0 Likes Posted one month ago

I don’t know much about guns 



1 Like Posted one month ago

Not a machine gun I'm afraid, but a German Artillery piece.

Not an area where I have much expertise, but possibly a 7.7 cm FK 16. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7.7_cm_FK_16

Could be worth trying the likes of The Great War Forum to get a better identification. There are also a number of Facebooks groups I'm told, (not a member of facebook so can't vouch for them).

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