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Old 11-11-07, 06:04 PM   #1
Machka 
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Remembering the Cyclists

Since today is Remembrance Day ...

These were some photos I took during Rowan's and my trip to Belgium and France this past August. We spent a few days in Iepers touring the battlefield and going to the war museum.

The first is of Menen Gate in Ieper where 50,000 fallen soldiers are listed on the walls of the arch and remembered. These were the soldiers whose bodies could not be found.

The second is a list of names from one of the Cyclist Battalions on Menen Gate.

The third is another list of names at one of the largest cemeteries in the area. These names are also listed on a memorial because their bodies could not be found.

-----

What did the Cyclist Battalions do during the First World War?

These sites explain:

http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/anzac-cyclists

"Bicycles were useful for transporting men and light equipment over large distances in much less time than it would take troops on foot – despite often being hampered by the terrain and muddy conditions, they could easily cover 60 kilometres a day. Cyclists also performed tasks such as traffic control, tree felling, cable laying, trench repairs and reconnaissance."

http://www.commelec.forces.gc.ca/org...ch/chap3_e.asp

"On 20 September 1914 1st Canadian Division Cyclist Company was formed by the Corp of Guides. Their role was intelligence gathering, topography interpretation, signalling, tactics and usage of the light machine gun (Lewis Gun). Later, traffic control, despatch riders, guards for prisoners of war, trench guides, listening posts and snipers was added to the role. Eventually a Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion was formed , referred to as the "Gas Pipe Cavalry". The battalion suffered 22% casualties and was referred to as a suicide battalion."
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File Type: jpg MeninGate_CyclistBattalion_small.JPG (97.5 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg CyclistBattalion_small.JPG (85.9 KB, 2 views)
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Old 11-11-07, 06:15 PM   #2
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Today is Veteran's Day in the USA, we honor those that served and are still with us. Memorial Day is in May.

Still, good read. The US Army gave a regiment of Buffalo Soilders bicycles in the 1890, and found they were faster and more reliable then horses.
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Old 11-11-07, 08:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
Today is Veteran's Day in the USA, we honor those that served and are still with us. Memorial Day is in May.

Still, good read.
Maybe not everything in the world is about you ?
Or maybe I'm misinterpreting your post and your not correcting someone from a different country than yours on when her countries day of remembering veterans is.
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Old 11-11-07, 09:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jarery View Post
Maybe not everything in the world is about you ?
Or maybe I'm misinterpreting your post and your not correcting someone from a different country than yours on when her countries day of remembering veterans is.
Lighten up dude. You are misreading his post.
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Old 11-12-07, 12:57 AM   #5
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The part I find amazing is the ability of these cyclists to cover 60 kms a day ....... over the terrain in Belgium during WWI, in the weather that was going on then, and with the bicycles they would have had then. These guys were fit!

I think most of us would struggle with those distances under those conditions, especially combined with all the additional work they did.


Here is some more info about the cyclist battalions:

This one is about the Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion
http://www.cefresearch.com/matrix/Ar...lion/index.htm
(I like the medallion, it's a bicycle wheel. )

And this is a fascinating general history of cycling in Canada, but it mentions the following:
http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/i...=A1ARTA0000726

"In WWI young men with the cycling urge were encouraged to join the Canadian Corps Cyclists' Battalion. Over 1000 men eventually did so, their duties ranging from message delivery and map reading to reconnaissance and actual combat. A battalion publication, The Cyclone, served these cycling veterans for over 50 years. After the war organizational enthusiasm was largely regional, with Québec remaining a leading centre up to and beyond WWII."


And about the Australian Cyclist Companies:
http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-...se/cyclist.htm

More about the Australian Cyclist Companies, with an interesting history of bicycles in war, and at work:
http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0...craze-AIF.html
And an interesting paragraph (among many) in this article:

"During the First World War, France and Belgium would field over 150,000 cyclists; the British Army Cyclist Corps would eventually total 100,000 men; and the German Army would field 125,000 cyclists. Although the US Army was to bring 29,000 bicycles with it to France, these were used for communications and message carrying only and there were no cyclist units in the *AEF. (11)"

There were a lot of cyclists in that war!

Last edited by Machka; 11-12-07 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 11-12-07, 07:43 AM   #6
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Thanks for posting the links- fascinating reading!
vickie
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