Drafts to the East Coast.


From a local paper dated 7/8/14 = Good - Bye ..............

Territorials leave Huntingdon   =   Since the beginning of the week the headquarters of the Hunts Cyclist Territorials at Huntingdon has been seen of the greatest activity, and many recruits were accepted. The whole of the two Huntingdon companies were paraded on Tuesday evening, and again on Wednesday previous to the church parade. Further equipment, including trenching tools - a sort of combination of small pick and spade - was issued, and the whole of the men and their equipment were carefully inspected. Early this (Thursday) morning they were paraded and Marched to the Huntingdon Great North Region Station, ready for conveyance to their appointed station. Soon after 8.00 the railway station was surrounded by a large crowd. The Earl of Sandwich, in uniform, arrived by motor, and Mrs. Howard Coote and party were present in their car and Mrs. Barkley had also driven to the station. At 8:30 the train arrived, partly filled by the St. Neots contingent, under Lt. K. Hunnybun. The engine drew out and coupled on to the luggage vans standing in the dock and these were backed onto the front of the train. Meanwhile the two Huntingdon companies had arrived singing loudly and had been welcomed by cheering from the crowd. Safely in the trying the greater part of the "terriers" removed their coats, while at least two heads were hanging out of each open window and other faces were pressed against the glass. The shunting of the luggage was not yet complete and the interval was spent in the singing of "are we downhearted?" And popular songs learnt at Skegness during the recent camp and the shouting of "good - byes" to relatives and friends, who were either lining the railings of the up platform, or standing on the down platform at the carriage doors. At 8:40, when the train began to move, handkerchiefs were waved from the windows and both soldiers and crowd re doubled their cheers, which were continued until last of the train had passed under the bridge. The officers in charge were Captains M.  Barkley, and A. R. Lowe, and Lieuts. J. M. S. Gardner, while Captain Cook joined the battalion later.


On Saturday 19th December 1914 one hundred and thirty officers and men of the 2/1st Hunts. Cyclist Battalion left Huntingdon station for Bridlington; several were young men from Ramsey and the surrounding Fenland villages who had earlier volunteered for Imperial service.


From a local paper dated 19/3/15  =  Departure of the Cyclists.

The enthusiastic scene took place at Huntingdon on Tuesday morning, when the 2nd Hunts Cyclists left for another sphere of usefulness. Under the a Command  of Lt. Col. Stanley, the Battalion paraded in full marching order with their cycles, and made an imposing display. It was difficult to realise that the Regiment is not six months old, so well have the men responded to their training. The county has good cause to be proud of having raised so smart a Battalion in so short a time. The men have been eager to get away to their appointed station, and they were in high spirits as they entrained. Many of the parents and relatives of Cyclists were present to witness the departure. The band played lively airs during the period of waiting, and the "Auld Lang Syne" as the train pulled away.  


From a locally printed  newspaper dated 11/12/15  =  With the departure of a strong draft for the 1/1st Hunts. Cyclists, the ranks of the 3/1st Cyclists have been considerably diluted. Recruiting has been renewed; encouragingly, over 20 joined on Monday, nearly all of them from the county.


From a locally printed  newspaper dated 9/6/16  =  Departure of Cyclists.

The Huntingdon Cyclists have had a rare send off on Saturday, when they entrained for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire to join the County Battalions. The boys were in high spirits, and friends gathered in strong force to wish them luck. It was a keen disappointment that “Jack” the regimental mascot, was left behind. The dog, too, was very reluctant to stop, and it was only by force that he was kept out of the train.

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If you can help with any data on this Huntingdonshire Cyclist please contact me at huntscycles@btinternet.com

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. .  Martyn Smith ©