Machine Gun Corps Silver Cigar Box, 1920s
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8cm (3in) x 25cm (9.75in) x 15cm (6in)
A sleek silver cigar box with engraved banded decoration by William Hair Haseler, hallmarked Birmingham 1914, the cover centered on a roundel applied, circa 1920, with a gold and enamel crossed Vickers gun badge of the Corps.
The Machine Gun Corps was formed in 1915 and served on all theatres of the First World War 1915. Post 1918 the M.G.C. saw active service in Russia and on the Northwest Frontier of India before being disbanded in 1922.
The water-cooled Vickers Machine Gun is an icon of Great War. It weighed approximately 42.5 lbs and needed seven and half pints of water for the barrel casing cooling system. Each Vickers was served by a team of eight men, one to carry the gun, one to carry the tripod and the other six to carry belt ammunition in 22lb boxes. The cyclic rate of fire was 450 to 600 round per minute. Approximately 170,500 officers and men served in the M.G.C. with over a third becoming casualties and including 12,498 being killed.