Horace Jaikens.

These photos tell the story of Horace Jaikens, my Grandfather, and the man that started my interest in the history of such a small local Battalion.  It was through the telling of his life story that I became so interested in the history of what was to become the last battalion formed before the outbreak of the 1914 - 1918 war.

He enlisted during late November 1914 at their recruiting office in St. Mary's street Huntingdon and was initially placed in 'B' company of the 1/1st Battalion being allotted a Battalion number of 1454.  


This is the last photo taken of Horace before he went overseas and before he was sent to serve with The 1/8th Royal Warwickshire Regiment.  

The 'Rising Stag' collar badges can clearly be seen on this photograph.  The photo is almost unique in my collection of photographs of H C B men in that Horace can bee seen here with a Lanyard worn over his left shoulder.

This postcard was posted to his future wife's sister Edith Clark who, at the time lived in Abbotsley.  Their family home would have given them an excellent view of the H C B as they left the station heading for the east coast.  Her father was the senior signalman at Huntingdon station.
Horace Jaikens in a pose in H C B uniform - the photo was taken early in about February 1915.  The picture was thought to have been taken by E. Whitney in his studios in Huntingdon.  There are many other photographs that were taken of the HCB men that have identical backgrounds to these photos.

St. Neots Advertiser = 14/12/1917 =  Abbotsley Prisoner of War.

Private Horace Jaikens writes to his mother, Mrs. James Jaikens of Abbotsley from Giessen in Germany as follows: -

 "My dear mother,  A line hoping this will find you all in the very best of health, as I am pleased to say it leaves me fine.  I am delighted with the pile of letters I received last night,-no less than two dozen.  I will try my best to write to them all in turn. All my friends appreciate me immensely.  Winter is setting in here, and we find it much colder all at once. 

 My Regt. looks after me well and I am well set up for plenty of warm clothes for the winter.  I hear you will be allowed to send a private parcel once a month soon.  I hope it's right. If you can possibly send me three most valuable articles : cakes, cigars, and a piece of bacon if you can get it.  I hope I am not asking too much, as I know things are pretty dear and scarce.  I am also pleased to hear from Percy Milton.  I have written to him twice, and wonder why I don't hear from him. Be sure he gets my address and I congratulate him on his promotion. 

 Haven't they a camera at St. Neots good enough for dad?  His photo is a long time coming.  Will you say 'so am I' but nothing more certain some day.  My health is at it's best, and am pleased to say it has never failed since I have been here. Still growing, not upwards, which is needless, but expanding a bit, a promising bit of news for you.

Study the chorus of "Keep the home fires burning.  That explains all. "



The reverse of the postcard showing the stamps of the censor and a pass mark from the POW camp at Giessen in Germany.


The same photo postcard was also sent to another of his relations in Halifax.

Local paper clippings.

5/9/1916 = The War Office have intimated to Joseph Childerley, of Abbotsley, that his son Harry, of the Royal Warwicks, is missing.  Horace, the son of Mr. Jaikens, of Abbotsley, and of the same regiment, is also reported missing.

 6/10/16 = The War Office has written to Mr. James Jaikens, of Abbotsley, and informed him that the name of his son, Horace (Royal Warwicks) is not on their casualty lists.  He has been missing five or six weeks.

27/10/1916 =  "Pte. Horace Jaikens, who originally belonged to the Cyclist Battalion, when last heard of was reported to be quite well.  He is a prisoner of war in Germany."

 27/10/1916 = Private Horace Jaikens, of Abbotsley (Royal Warwicks), who is a prisoner in Germany, writes: (Giessen, August 31st, 1916.)

Dear Mother, - just a line to let you know I am alive and well and a prisoner of war on the way to Germany.  Hope this will find you all well at home.  Do not worry, I am well treated.  Will write a letter at the first opportunity.  Let Clara know I am quite happy.  Must be satisfied with this until the end of the war.  So must close with love to all, from your loving son, HORACE.

27/10/1916 - Pte. Horace Jaikens, who originally belonged to the Cyclist Battalion, when last heard of was reported to be quite well. He is a prisoner of war in Germany.  

10/11/1916 - Pte's. Hollock and Jakins, of the Cyclists, who were billeted with Mrs. Hitchbourn at Newborough, Huntingdon, have forwarded a postcard stating that they are prisoners of war, and were just leaving for Germany.  They were with the Warwicks when captured.

12/1/1917 - Pte Horace Jaikens, of Abbotsley, a prisoner of war, writes that he has received lots of letters and parcels from many friends. He says he is looking well, and hopes to see all at home before long.

30/3/1917 = Pte. Horace Jaikens is still a prisoner at Giessen,  Hesse-Darmstadt, and is quite well.


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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