What is the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion Project?

           Quite simply it is the result of my years of research into the history of this Battalion in order that enough information could be gathered together to publish a book on the  subject. The end result was originally only to be a book telling the story of this little known band of men so that they will not be forgotten. It is still my hope to publish such a volume, but the project has now expanded to cover the service history of all the 4,300 men that passed through their ranks. 

        My collection now includes 1,600 plus photographs and nearly 5,550 copies of letters, documents, paper cuttings and effects from the soldiers giving a unique insight into their life in khaki.

    

 

  

    This photo of Horace Jaikens was taken in Huntingdon during 1915 and the 'Rampant Stag' collar badges can clearly be seen above the word 'HUNTINGDONSHIRE' which is set within a scroll.  He was my Grandfather and started my initial interest in the Hunts. Cyclists.

    Sadly, not much original material exists as to the formation or the history of the Battalion and information has had to be pieced together from many sources both locally and nationally.  This original information is mainly on individuals with the history of the battalion being extracted from local papers and where possible checked against all available documents held within the Public Record Office at Kew.

    My original interest in his life story was in order to complete our family tree & once this was finished I looked for another project to research.  I found that there was very little known about the H C B and virtually no documents were held in the local Record Office or other local libraries. This was some 13 years ago and started the project that still continues to this day.

    In my research I have come across some wonderful items of history in relation to the way the men rallied to the call of their small county as well as material that has come to light on the way they lived during their time in the Battalions.

    These items have come in from many sources, mostly from family collections and have allowed me to get a 'feel' for the way the men thought and acted whilst wearing Khaki. 

    Some items, like this poster, are full of pride for the Battalion and its efforts and others so private that they bring a lump to the throat.

   It would be wrong to say that it is an individual effort, as there have been many people over the years that have provided information on the men that served in their ranks, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one them for their support in this work. 

       I would especially like to thank my wife Wendy for her understanding of my obsession as well as my mother and father for their support.  Sadly my mother recently passed away before being able to see it completed.

  Where possible acknowledgements have been made on all material supplied from other sources.  This whole site is covered by copyright and permission should be sought before reproducing any information from it. 

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To contact the Hunts. Cyclist Battalion researcher.   huntscycles@btinternet.com

 

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11/07/2017

. . Martyn Smith .