Uniform, insignia and equipment.
The badge worn by the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion was the "Rising Stag" and was taken from the seal of the County Borough of Huntingdon, this stag is set above a scroll inscribed "HUNTINGDONSHIRE". The original seal of the showing a stag and a hunter. The badge was made of brass alloy, and had a spring clip fixing attached to the reverse side. There were two sizes of badge made, the larger was a cap badge the other was for a collar. The original badges are said to be one of the rarest in the country, and as a result are much in demand by collectors. Officers wore a bronze version of the same badge.
The men also wore a brass shoulder flash of a 'T' over the word HUNTS. These again are quite rare, and soon snapped up by collectors. the T stood for territorial, but the men called themselves "Tommy Hunts". Sadly, neither were recorded on the monthly Army listings produced by the Army, but they were marked in a collection of silk regimental badges produced by the cigarette manufacturers E. & W. Anstie Ltd., the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalions, I believe being no. 26 in a set of 86.
During April 1915, the Territorial Force Association asked local firms for a quotation to supply the metal "Rising Stag" cap badges, two local traders replied on the same day i.e. 30th April 1915, these being J. W Cox 94 High Street, Huntingdon and George Pratt, 133 High Street Huntingdon. Both tendered the same figure of 5/- per dozen. Both indicated that they had the items in stock, with Messrs George Pratt, being able to supply 5 dozen immediately, the rest to follow within 4 days.
The records do not show if an order was placed and if so who was successful. Later on in July 1915 it transpires that Messrs Hobson and Son of 156 to 164 Tooley Street, London, had a order dated 24th July 1915, to supply 100 of the cap badges, no price was mentioned, and they needed 14 days to supply the items. This company had previously had a similar order for 100 badges on the 13th July 1915.
Original cap badges have been seen with the 'J. R. Gaunt – London' & 'Lambourne ace – Birmingham' stamped into the rear pin, but other ones have a plain pin.
During the second world war the same cap badge was used by the Huntingdonshire Home Guard as part of its uniform and today it is still used by the Kimbolton School Cadet Corps and, I am reliably informed, that it was worn by one of its former members whilst on duty with the intelligence corps of the I F O R force in Bosnia.
The full crest was shown on a Christmas card that was sent to all the families of the men who were serving in the H. C. B. over Xmas 1916.
The Regimental march of the Huntingdon Cyclist Battalions was a tune called " A’ Hunting we will go." It was used by the time the Battalion went on their first camp Skegness in July 1914, but so far I have not been able to find out to which tune the march was played. When the HCB were re-formed as the 5th Northamptonshire (Territorials) they adopted the tune "The Northamptonshire" as their march.
Before the 14/4/1916 a stray dog that had followed the marching men all day was adopted as a mascot, he was named by the men ‘Jack’ and was the local mascot of B company of HCB, by June 1916, his company were sad that he had to stay behind in Huntingdon, while they went off to the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire coast.
‘Pride’ was a St. Bernard dog and he was also listed as the 1/1st Battalion mascot and appears on several official photographs of the Battalion when they were in Yorkshire.
To the best of my knowledge the Battalion did not have a presented set of their own 'Colours' whilst they were designated the H.C.B. possibly as they were a territorial unit, but records show that on the 17th August 1929 the 5th Northants. Regt. were given their regimental Colours, and that these were used until they were laid up in Peterborough Cathedral on 21st October 1979.
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