World War One broke out on August 4, 1914 and hundreds of local men across Huntingdonshire left to fight on foreign battlefields - many, of course, never to return to the families and home towns and villages.

There are many stories of courage among those who gave their lives and also those who survived, and others who simply did what was asked of them.

When Britain's fighting men were mobilised at the start of World War One, a group of men called the Hunts Cyclist Battalion responded nobly.

It is hard to imagine now, but this was a cyclist infantry battalion of the British Army that was formed from the Huntingdonshire Territorial Force. After protracted negotiations with the War Office, agreement was reached in March 1913 that the Hunts Cyclist Battalion could be formed and it was "raised" on February 27, 1914 just months before the outbreak of the war.

The headquarters of the Hunts unit was in St Mary's Street, in Huntingdon, and there were eight companies of men who represented Huntingdon, Godmanchester, St Ives, St Neots, Kimbolton, Ramsey, Warboys and Fletton. There were also detachments at Standground, Yaxley, Peterborough and Farcet.

Men from the Hunts Cyclist Battalion were posted to Yorkshire to patrol the coast in the early part of the war. Eventually, the men, minus their distinctive green bikes, were transferred to other units and posted overseas.

After the war, the Territorial force was disbanded, although this was a formality, and it was reformed in 1920 and later renamed the Territorial Army. The local unit became the 5th Hunts Battalion.

The Battalion saw extensive service in World War Two and with active service in France in 1940, Tunisia from 1942–43 and later Sicily and Italy from 1943–45 before ending the war in May 1945 in Austria.

After World War Two the unit was amalgamated and in 1961 it joined the 4th Northamptonshire Regiment and they became know as the 4th/5th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment.

If you want to know more about the men who served in the Hunts Battalion, a website has been created which lists the names of men who served in the regiment. Visit: