"THE POETRY OF THE HUNTINGDONSHIRE CYCLISTS"      

  The Huntingdon boys you’ve heard of,

Who are guarding England’s shore

From Spurn Point up to Scarboro

As it ne’er was done before.

- - - 

 The spirit, pluck and cheerfulness,

In the way they do their work.

Calls forth the praise of everyone,

They’re not the boys to shirk.

- - - 

All night when a storm is raging,

In the teeth of furious gales,

They calmly watch the rugged coast

All alert for mystic sails.

- - - 

With rifles cocked and fully armed,

They await the coming foe

Eager to fight for England’s might

And their British pluck to show.

- - - 

There’re only young, but brave and strong,

With the right blood in their veins,

And are longing for their colours

To adorn their battle gains.

- - - 

They’ve made themselves so popular

All along the stretch of coast,

The natives think the world of them,

And of their Behaviour boast.

- - - 

 No other troops to their idea

Come up to the Tommy Hunts.,

They know who guards their heath and home,

Who’s bearing the hardest brunts.

- - - 

The folk at home in Huntingdon

Of their soldier sons are proud,

More than the Germans it would take

For their spirits to be cowed.

- - -

So here’s luck to their boys in Khaki,

We wish them a safe return ;

And they’ll always be remembered

From Scarboro’ down to Spurn.

 

 Composed before 11-12-1914

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 "The Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalions"

1914.

We come from a little county,

But we muster a thousand men,

Recruited in town and village,

And away from the flat bleak fen;

We patrol the Eastern coast, sir,

We are the boys who do not shirk

Though the wind blows stiff

Yet we guard your cliff,

For that is the Hunts. boy’s work.

 

G. N. R. to Grimsby,

Bicycle up to Hull,

Pedal on to Hornsea,

A forty-five mile pull,

Ride up north to Filey,

Or ride down south to Spurn,

We'll do our job for a daily "bob,"

But we've more than our pay to earn.

 

We're bred from the old Fen stock, sirs,

Which oft times fought with Montagu;

We're hewn from the self-same rock, sirs,

Stern old Oliver Cromwell knew;

And throughout the two Battalions

You'll not find a father's son

Who will bring shame

The old fighting name

Of the lads of Huntingdon.

 

G. N. R. to Grimsby,

Bicycle up to Hull,

Pedal on to Hornsea,

A forty-five mile pull,

Ride up north to Filey,

Or ride down south to Spurn,

We'll do our job for a daily "bob,"

And the fame that we mean to earn.

 

K. D. Knowles. (rev. HCB)

 

The Huntingdonshire Wiresides

When Old England was in Some doubt

Whom she'd send to the coast to scout

North, south, and east and round about,

She chose the "Huntingdon Wiresides."

 

So when we reached here by and bye,

We heard the Yorkshire people cry

"Truly Old England cannot die

With Terriers like the Wiresides ! "

 

The Wiresides nightly march about

Alert to put the foe to route ;

What wonder that the people shout

In praise of Huntingdon Wiresides !

 

And when these Cyclists leave a town

The population's head hangs down,

Their sad salt tears bid fair to drown

The gallant Huntingdon Wiresides !

 

Along the cliffs they're now entrenched ;

With hail, rain, snow, their clothes are drenched ;

But their spirits are not damped or quenched,

They are still the Huntingdon Wiresides !

 

When the Kaiser's Navy sees this lot,

It'll turn its tail for a quieter Spot,

If not - in the neck it will get it hot

From the wiry Huntingdon Wiresides.

 

Composed by Lance Corporal Abraham.

 

Scaremongering.

 

My dear old lady I don't wish to scare you,

But have you heard the latest German boast

How they intended to send their fleet and tear you

With bag and baggage from the Yorkshire coast ?

This scheme, quite unknown to the nation,

You may not think that it amounts to much,

But I can vouch for secret information;

With Kitchener, and Churchill, I'm in touch.

The reasons why you ought to go,

These things I mayn’t disclose ;

But if you knew the things I know,

The things that no one knows !

I must not tell you any more

‘Twas told me secretly ;

But if you'd seen the things I saw

In earth and sky and sea -

But then I must not say a word

For reticence is might,

But if you'd heard the things I heard,

One dark and stilly night !!!

But now dear lady quite enough I’ve said

A peaceful night to you, and so to bed.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Medical Inspection Room.

There’s an orderly private named Peak,

Who attends to the sick and the weak,

He doses their ills

With administration

Of No. 9 pills

And free imbibation

Of Syrup of Squills

But his pet occupation

Is inoculation.

The pure joy of hearing them squeak

Appeals to the instincts of Peak.

 

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Khaki in the saddle - By P. Cox - Orton Goldhay - Peterborough

KHAKI IN THE SADDLE

Wiresides who heard the clarion call
And so we all signed up at the Town Hall
Our steeds they might only two wheels own
Have tube steel instead of flesh and bone
And Charlie, says he wants to Paris go
Or he'll talk about some fancy show
While we must patrol above the dunes
Searching with eyes sharp beneath the full moon
Looking out for Saxons upon the sea
Who mean to invade our land still free
Until some foul storm blows up great waves
That cover the sailors cold, silent graves


On Sunday to some small church we'll go
Old Victoria Band, a real show
Singing hymns hollow as the chapel bell
We pray to Heaven about foreign Hell
And while there's still a good pint to drink
Upon our fate we'll try not to think
And children see the stag badge on my cap
For luck some baby dropped in my lap
Today we'll cycle Hunt's leafy lanes
And soon leave granted to harvest the grain
But it is for this land, field and trees
That we must one day fight across the seas


Now if I'm shipped to foreign field
Let me record Lincolnshires weald
And in trenches my thoughts might well turn
For the warm Fen home for which I yearn
I will try to recall my friends back home
And think on when we watched the foam
Looked out for ships filled with lads like me
Who all are sent where they are told to be
When time, I'll write postcards to my love
Pray every night to the Lord above
But if any can keep me from harm
I'm sure he'll have three stripes on his arm.

 

New addition to the poetry session - Is this the first poem written about the Hunts. Cyclists for 50 years?

I recently gave a talk to the Friends of the Broadway Cemetery in Peterborough and was delighted that at the end of the talk I was then entertained by 'their resident poet' P. Cox who read the following poem.

I am delighted to add it to the website in order to help remember the men that served and died for the country.

Many thanks to Mr. Cox for allowing it to be published here.

 

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

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10/08/2013

 Martyn Smith © .  Link To The poetry of K D Knowles.