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Army Cyclist Corps Units


Sappersnooper
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Scratching my head on this one. My Grandfather served in the Army Cyclist Corps but I have racked my brain on how to find his unit. He survived the war and was awarded the The British War Medal and Victory Medal (see attached medal card), indicating that he did not serve in Theatre before 1916. There is no service record (assumed to be in the "burnt records") and even if I ask WFA for the pension record it will only say Army Cyclist Corps.

I am aware of the changes in ACC organisation in 1916, which reduces the number of war diaries to look at, but even if I plough through these they are unlikely mention a private who did not receive a special award. Does anyone have any ideas?

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Medal roll says he was in 9th Corps Cyclist Battalion.

The battalion's war diary has been digitised and can be obtained from the National Archives for a small fee. It goes by reference WO95/845/2.

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I have the war diary. happy to give you a summary when I have acces to my notes next week .If you go to the Imperial War Musem website and search for "vickers" and "cyclist" you can listen to the memoirs of Sgt Henry Vickers who served with the 9th Corps Cyclists throughout their time in France. They were in action almost constantly from the spring offensive in 1918 until the end of the war. They took part in the attack on Montbrehain on 5th October 1918 and suffered heavy casualties. Very interested in any photographs you may have of your grandfather!

Alt the best

Clive

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I'll move this to Units and Formations - more people will likely see it then

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Thanks for all your contributions. On the right trail now! I remember as a lad we had a Pickelhaube and a rather nasty German bayonet with a serrated edge on the top, bought back by my Grandfather. Sadly, both now lost in the mists of time. I am trying to track down any photos from our extended family so will get in touch with Clive if I find any.

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Not much to add from my notes but Joe Taylor was part of a draft of around 90 men from 2/1st Northern Cyclist Battalion who transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps on 3rd May 1917.They were initially posted to the Cyclist Training Centre at Chisledon Camp. The draft was split up and was sent as piecemeal reinforcements to a number of Corps Cyclist Battalions. They were initially sent to the Cyclist Base Depot in Rouen between mid May and late June 1917 and then from Rouen to their units. Two other men from 2/1 NCB transferred at the same time as your grandfather, 20846 Robert Baines and 20902 Fenwick Pearson but I don't have exact dates. Most men seem to have spent about four weeks at Rouen before going to the front line, so your GF probably arrived too late for Messines Ridge, the most likely time for him arriving with the Battalion is mid June 1917.

At the end of May 1917 IX CCB was at Berthen and on the evening of 6th June was stood to in anticipation of moving forward to exploit the aftermath of the Messines Ridge mines:

June 7th Berthen 3.10 am ZERO HOUR Second line transport moved to Corps Mounted Troops Headquarters (R 5 A Central 27 SE) and dumped all surplus kit there. Battalion stood by ready to move at ½ hour notice to forward area as required by special tracks which had been reconnoitred previously. Henry Vickers: We had been standing by ready to advance and as soon as the violent explosion was over away we went. We pushed through obstructions and entanglements and eventually reached open flat country and were thus in a position to penetrate deep into German-held territory. A message was relayed from the Cavalry also taking part in this advance to us Cyclists and to the Infantry a long distance in our rear that the cavalry were in touch with the enemy who were preparing a defence by gas attack. An immediate curt reply was received from HQ and relayed: Halt advance. Dig in. Consolidate the position This we did.

On the 18th June, the Battalion moved to camp at Brulooze corner where it remained until November 1917.

Regards

Clive

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Not much to add from my notes but Joe Taylor was part of a draft of around 90 men from 2/1st Northern Cyclist Battalion who transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps on 3rd May 1917.They were initially posted to the Cyclist Training Centre at Chisledon Camp. The draft was split up and was sent as piecemeal reinforcements to a number of Corps Cyclist Battalions. They were initially sent to the Cyclist Base Depot in Rouen between mid May and late June 1917 and then from Rouen to their units. Two other men from 2/1 NCB transferred at the same time as your grandfather, 20846 Robert Baines and 20902 Fenwick Pearson but I don't have exact dates. Most men seem to have spent about four weeks at Rouen before going to the front line, so your GF probably arrived too late for Messines Ridge, the most likely time for him arriving with the Battalion is mid June 1917.

At the end of May 1917 IX CCB was at Berthen and on the evening of 6th June was stood to in anticipation of moving forward to exploit the aftermath of the Messines Ridge mines:

June 7th Berthen 3.10 am ZERO HOUR Second line transport moved to Corps Mounted Troops Headquarters (R 5 A Central 27 SE) and dumped all surplus kit there. Battalion stood by ready to move at ½ hour notice to forward area as required by special tracks which had been reconnoitred previously. Henry Vickers: We had been standing by ready to advance and as soon as the violent explosion was over away we went. We pushed through obstructions and entanglements and eventually reached open flat country and were thus in a position to penetrate deep into German-held territory. A message was relayed from the Cavalry also taking part in this advance to us Cyclists and to the Infantry a long distance in our rear that the cavalry were in touch with the enemy who were preparing a defence by gas attack. An immediate curt reply was received from HQ and relayed: Halt advance. Dig in. Consolidate the position This we did.

On the 18th June, the Battalion moved to camp at Brulooze corner where it remained until November 1917.

Regards

Clive

Thanks Clive. How do you know that he was one of the 90 drafts on 3 May 1917. Without a service record I have been defeated by this one and I assume that drafts are not named in the diary unless they are officers.

Glyn

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Glyn

They were sequentially numbered in alphabetical order, classic draft numbering. Men before and after him in the number sequence were transferred on 3rd May and were all from 2/1 NCB so it would be highly improbable that he could have transferred on any other date or from any other unit. Clearly without a service record there are no guarantees but looking at other service records in the same numbering sequences is usually a good indicator.

Regards

Clive

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Thanks Clive, I have heard of this one before but did not think to use it!

regards

glyn

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