I have been researching the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalions for many years and I am writing to ask if any of your readers can help me in my research so that as they are not forgotten in the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War.
Although formed in Huntingdon, as soon as war broke out in August 1914, they were sent up to patrol the whole length of the coast of both Yorkshire and Lincolnshire ‘Coast Watching’ for an enemy invasion. Their headquarters was at Scarborough, but men were stationed in most villages just behind the coast. Most men served there until they were sent to France in September 1916, where sadly, many of them were killed in the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme and later engagements in the trenches of the Western Front.
When on the east coast the men were warmly welcomed by the local people and many a soldier ‘walked out’ with local girls, attended dances, helped organise entertainment in local halls and then about 20 of them married local girls. There were also a lot of visits after the war to see the locals again, and my grandfather who served with them, always talked warmly of visiting friends he made in and around Scarborough, who he used to visit frequently.
In memory of these men I have set up a website www.huntscycles.co.uk in order that they are ‘not forgotten’ and I am hoping that your readers may be able to help with any information, stories or photographs to add to the site.
Any help, however small, would be greatly appreciated.
I can be contacted on email@example.com.