When the TF was created in April 1908, three of these four Cyclist Battalions were established. The fourth was not created until 1913, as explained below. They are listed here collectively, but were independent units. In addition to these, certain infantry regiments also created TF cyclist battalions. And all of these were in addition to the Army Cyclist Corps.
Northern Cyclist Battalion
1/1st Battalion: Headquartered at the Drill Hall on Hutton Terrace, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, the battalion moved on mobilisation in early August 1914 to its pre-planned war station at Morpeth. By 1916 it had moved to nearby Alnwick where it remained as part of the Tyne Garrison.
2/1st Battalion: Formed in late 1914 as a second line unit. By 1916 was at Skegness and in June 1918 was at Burton Constable as part of the Humber Garrison.
3/1st Battalion: Formed in 1915 as a depot/training unit. Disbanded in March 1916 and its men posted to the 1/1st and 2/1st, with some going to the Machine Gun Corps.
The regimental badge of the Northern Cyclist Battalion as depicted on a CWGC grave headstone. Author’s collection.
Highland Cyclist Battalion
1/1st Battalion: August 1914 : in Kirkcaldy. Remained in Scotland until moving to Ireland in May 1918, where it then remained. Stationed at St. Andrews for much of the time.
17 May 1916: a large draft from the battalion went to France as reinforcements for 2/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
2/1st Battalion: Formed in Kirkcaldy in November 1914 as a second line battalion. Remained in Scotland until moving to Ireland in May 1918, where it then remained. In July 1915, it formed the 1st Provisional Cyclist Company.
3/1st Battalion: Formed in Kirkcaldy in 1915 as a dept/training unit. Remained in UK until disbanded in March 1916; the troops were posted to the 1/1st and 2/1st Bns and some to the Machine Gun Corps.
Kent Cyclist Battalion
1/1st Battalion: Headquartered at the Drill Hall in Tonbridge, the battalion moved on mobilisation in early August 1914 to its pre-planned war station at Canterbury. It was placed under orders of 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division for duties with the Kent and Sussex coastal defences at Swale and Rye, with a detachment on the Medway. It left the Division and moved on 2 December 1915 to Chisledon Camp and reorganised as an infantry battalion. From this time on the unit did not use the word “Cyclist” in its title. Together with 2/6th (Cyclist) Bn Royal Sussex Regiment , 1/9th (Cyclist) Bn Hampshire Regiment and 1/25th (Cyclist) Bn London Regiment, they formed a brigade originally intended for service in East Africa. There was a change of mind, however, and the battalion sailed for India on 8 February 1916. On arrival came under command of Southern Brigade, 9th (Secunderabad) Division and went to Bangalore. Moved in December 1916 to Burhan and the Ferozepore Brigade in 3rd Lahore Divisional Area. In February 1917 the Brigade transferred to the 16th Indian Division. Between 4 March and 15 April the battalion served as part of the North Waziristan Field Force. between 11 March and 1 May 1918 it served in Baluchistan; it helped quell riots in the Punjab in April 1919; between 19 May and 17 August 1919 it took part in the Third Afghan War. After a final period at Dagshai it sailed for home on 8 November 1919. It was finally disbanded in February 1920.
2/1st Battalion: Formed in late 1914 as a second line unit. By 1916 was at Canterbury and in March 1917 at Ramsgate. By August 1918 it had moved to Lydd.
3/1st Battalion: Formed in 1915 as a depot/training unit. Disbanded in 1916.
Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion
1/1st Battalion: The TF, when established in 1908, was envisaged as being the army that would provide home defence while the regular army went off to war. At that time, the old Huntingdonshire Volunteer Battalion was converted into two Companies of the new 5th TF Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment. Many people were dissatisfied that Huntingdonshire no longer had its own recognisable regiment and after long discussions War Office approval was granted in March 1913 to raise a “wheeled” battalion, but it was not until February 1914 that the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion was formed and began to recruit. After it was established, men of the two local Companies of the Bedfordshire Regiment were allowed to transfer into the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion, and most did so. The battalion was headquartered in St Mary’s Street in Huntingdon, and had local drill stations at St. Ives, Somersham, St. Neots, Kimbolton, Ramsey, Warboys, Fletton and Yaxley. It was attached to Eastern Command for use as mobile infantry, and for work on signals, scouting and similar activities. The battalion remained in England throughout the war. It moved on mobilisation in early August 1914 to its pre-planned war station at Grimsby. In 1916 it went on to Scarborough and by June 1918 to Whitby. In late July 1916 a party of more than six hundred men that left by train from Scarborough. They travelled to Southampton and embarked the SS “Alexandria”, arriving at Le Havre. Here their first two nights were spent in a camp where they were officially posted to the 1/8th Royal Warwickshire Regiment before they were moved by train to join their new unit on the Somme.
2/1st Battalion: Formed in October 1914 as a second line unit. By 1916 was at Sutton-le-Marsh in Lincolnshire and by March 1917 at nearby Alford. By July of that year it had moved to Chapel St Leonards and by May 1918 was at Skegness.
3/1st Battalion: Formed in 1915 as a depot/training unit. Disbanded in March 1916, the men were posted to 1/1st and 2/1st Battalions and to the Machine Gun Corps.