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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Surprisingly not identified.


Hugh Pattenden

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I came across a picture of a grave at this site of an 'Unknown Soldier: Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion'. It seems stange, not to mention sad that the man could not be identified.

After all, there can't have been that many men of the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion serving in the uniform of that unit on the Continent given that the unit itself never left England.

I wonder if there has been a misidentification with the Royal West Kents.

If it is a soldier of the H.C.B., I wonder if an identification would be possible.

Any ideas?

Hugh.

post-3813-1113418196.jpg

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Hugh

Very interesting. As you say it seems strange that identification wasn't possible from such a small Bn.

From SDGW - There are actually 4 who died in France/Flanders from this Bn and it also gives a further 12 died at home.

Glyn

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Very many Hunts Cyclists were drafted into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Quite a few into the 14th Royal Warwicks after 23 July, 1916.

Perhaps this has something to do with it. Could it be when remains were found his Hunts Cyclists cap badge may have been in a pocket or possibly a Hunts Cyclists Shoulder title.

Terry

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It's only becoming that there should be a grave bearing the Huntingdonshire Regiment emblem, as a great deal of men from it served in other units in most of the fighting fronts. Huntingdonshire cyclists were drafted to many battalions, sections, etc. of the following Regiments or Corps (or at least these I know from Rolls, SDGW, etc...): Army Cyclist Corps, Bedfordshire Regt., Royal Berkshire Regt., Machine Gun Corps, London Regt., Royal Fusiliers, Royal Scots, Norfolk Regt., Oxford and Bucks L.I., Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Northamptonshire Regt. and Labour Corps...And this is NOT a definitive list!

As Terry says, there were also drafts to the Royal Warwickshire Regt., not only to the 14th Bn, but also to the 1/5th, 1/7th,1/8th and 15th... At least that I know. It is evident that the Huntingdonshires fought in the front, but their unit, as such, went whithout the recognition their contribution deserved.

The Huntingdonshire Cyclist Regiment raised three battalions during the Great War (the Cyclists' battalions stablishment comprised fewer men than infantry battalions: about 600 men in all). These battalions were employed in England's coast defence in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

If you want to know more about this unit I cannot recommend enough Mr. Martyn Smith's Website:

http://www.huntscycles.co.uk/

Gloria

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Hugh

Very interesting. As you say it seems strange that identification wasn't possible from such a small Bn.

From SDGW - There are actually 4 who died in France/Flanders from this Bn and it also gives a further 12 died at home.

Glyn

I found this very interesting and went off to look them up - then I had a thought - officers. There are also eight officers who died during the war years. They are all buried "over there" with one missing officer commemorated at Tyne Cot.

of the four other ranks, two have graves and two are commemorated at Thiepval. So from this preliminary look, there would appear to be three Hunts Cyclists who are Missing::

1760 Pte. Pte. John Charles Shorter

1484 Pte. Frank White

Lieut. Cyril George Crick

(No doubt I've missed something out or failed to think of something though. ) :ph34r:

Tom

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One precision. I have taken this photo in Tincourt Cemetery not far from Peronne.

This is not no so rare to find insigna of small units only on unknown

soldier's grave.

For exemple this is the case also for this unit East Kent Mounted Rifles :

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/tanneguy.desplanqu...t%20yeo%202.jpg

This is the only grave I knew in F and F fields of the Royal East Kent Yeomanry.

I have the feeling that in certain circumstances a soldier or more often an officer could keep his badge of his original unit even after entering another one.

personal choice was possible ?

If anybody knows some details about the rules...

Interesting also is the case of the household battallion with commonly graves with insiga of other units

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/tanneguy.desplanqu...e%20yeo%201.jpg

and others with the household battalion one.

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/tanneguy.desplanqu...20battalion.jpg

Is it a choice of the soldier... a decision of the CWGC taking in account some special circumstances... who knows ?

Regards :)

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Guest Huntscyclist

I am most intesersted in the grave at Tincourt for a HCB man - and the conversations that followed. I have spent the last 15 years researching this unit in order to ensure that they are not forgotten. It was the unit that my Grandfather served in and as noted previously I have a website www.huntscycles.co.uk dedicated to this unit. They were also noted as being a Cavalry unit and the last unit to be formed before the outbreak of WWI and thus known as the 'Baby Unit' of the British Army.

My research has indicated that the HCB men went to over 53 regiments and units but as a home based unit they were not allowed to serve overseas as HCB men - this is the one thing my Grandfather and the other HCB men I have spoken to most regretted!

Officially as soon as a HCB man or Officer was sent overseas he was added to that Regiment / unit - he therfore lost his HCB status. In theory there should be no HCB men buried abroad that have a HCB grave marker. However, there are some, as correctly identified - the Two mentioned at Thiepval - were 'Ox and Bucks' men - and even the CWGC can't tell me why they were buried as HCB men.

As to my best guess as to why buried as HCB - you will find that most HCB men kept their 'old' Rising Stag cap badge when the went overseas for 'luck' - and it is possible that when killed he was recorded by this badge found on him - the other being missing when the body was recorded.

However I am open to any other offers!

Martryn Smith

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Guest Simon Bull

Is it possible to make a stab at identifying him by finding out the names of men from the Battalion who are recorded on the relevant Memorial to the Missing which I presume is Thiepval and/or Pozieres?

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Guest Huntscyclist

I have already checked the lists of all the names of the men on the main memorials including Thiepval, Pozieres etc. - their names are recorded under about 33 regiments that they went into after going to France. I have traced most of the names of the HCB men that left the UK - but there are no official records of the names of men that went where in France.

This data has been put together from many hundreds of records, MIC's and Battalion orders and as most daily orders in the War Diaries that the HCB men eneded up in say had a relief of '213 O.R.' etc. it is not possible to to identify who went where.

Only one unit actually states that they had a consignment of HCB men and noted that they were the tallest, smartest and best drilled men that they were ever given, but even then they are not named.

Some HCB men were even re regimented in France before they actually got to their allocated unit - I can only assume that they were needed to replace serious losses in another unit - so the picture gets even more cloudy!

I think that - to be honest - you are never going to find out who he was unless there suddenly appears a great mass of paperwork that has been in some Ministry office for 90 years and as yet has not been deposited in the National Archives.

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