The Bands of the Hunts. Cyclists.

Photo from Steve Farrant.

The 1/1st. Hunts Cyclist Battalion Band. 

 

This photo appeared in a local newspaper dated

14th August 1915.

 In addition to the 1st. Battalion's Band there was also a Drum and Bugle Band, (Corps of drums), these on occasions both played with the main band of the 1st. Battalion. Many members were formerly with the Fletton Victoria Prize Band, most of who joined up in 1914 to become 'bandsmen'. Sgt. Joe Hackney, formally the Fletton Bandmaster took control of the band. 

They were also used as stretcher-bearers, see photo in Filey, but later on were used to carry out full soldiers duties.

Photo from Steve Farrant.

The 1/1st Hunts Cyclist Battalion Band in their other job as trained stretcher bearers for the Battalion.  The emblem on their right arms indicate that they were all part of the Battalion band.

Extract from Camp diary - Tuesday 14th July 1914. = The weather continues ideal, and every detail of camp work is in order.  The food is even improving, while the work, though very thorough, is by no means heavy.  The band played in the camp on Monday night, and Bandmaster Hackney's "Company" is daily improving.  Amongst other music they have mastered is the newly adopted Regimental March " A' Hunting We Will Go" a happy selection on someone's part.  In spite of the heat, inter - Company football matches seem popular. 

Extract from Camp diary - Saturday 18th July 1914. = The Yaxley Company's Band played "selections" during the afternoon.  They collected and got something, but not all that they deserved.  Someone is credited to having given the command "Whoa ! Right twist" - I won't say that the rumour is true. 

Extract from Camp diary - Sunday 19th July 1914. = The first parade was for Church service, which was conducted by the Chaplain (the Rev. K. D. Knowles R.D. rector of Brampton).  He preached a very practical sermon on manliness.  The singing of the hymns was led by the band, under Bandmaster Hackney.  It may be observed here that the Fletton musicians have improved immensely in their primary work, to say nothing of their gaining proficiency in rifle cleaning and ambulance duties.  To return to the service - the concluding voluntary was " A' hunting we will go." 

Photo from Steve Farrant - other sources were also provided.

' Are We Downhearted '  The date and location of the

photo is not known.

Photo from Steve Farrant.

The Hunts Cyclist Battalion Band.  The date and location of the photo is not known.

The regimental march was ' A hunting we will go' - bugles were made by 'Potter's and Boosey's and were copper with brass trims complete with dark green chords and tassels with braided gold in them.  It is noted in the records that the officers of the 2/1st bought second hand instruments for their men in order that they could play at events whilst on the coast.

The men of part of the Hunts Cyclist Battalion Band.  The date and location of the photo is not known.  As is typical of band members of this period, the men have red cross armbands on their left arms.

The Hunts Cyclist Battalion Band.  The date and location of the photo is not known.

From a local newspaper dated 1/1/1915 - Bandmaster Sergeant W. J. Hackney has been transferred from the 1st Cyclist Battalion to Huntingdon, and is attached for duty as Bandmaster.

From a local newspaper dated 8/1/15 - The Mayor said they felt proud of St. Ives because so many of her young men had come forward and shown their patriotic spirit. They had left their homes, and in some instances their wives and families to do all for the honour of country. Those at home must look after their wives and children for the time being. With regard to the National Reserve as suggested, another meeting would have to be arranged to discuss the question. As the band played national airs recruits were called forward.

 From a local newspaper dated 6/2/1915 - Cyclists' Smoking Concert - Another capital Smoking Concert was held at the Cyclists' Canteen at Huntingdon on Wednesday, several representatives of the Yeomanry assisting. Those contributing to the programme were: - Corporal Hancock, Corporal Wilkinson, and Pte. Mason, Pte. Bowden, Corporal Boyer, Pte. Conquest, Pte Cade, Lance-Corpl. Pridmore, and sergeant Major Grover [Cyclists], Trooper Hunter, Trooper Metcalfe, Lance Corporal Baker, Corporal Smith, and trooper Ray [Yeomanry]. The accompanists were Corporal Rimes, Bandsman Woods and Lance-Corpl. Powditch. The Cyclist band gave several excellent selections.

From a local newspaper dated 6/11/1915 -  A company of the 3 rd Battalion, Hunts. Cyclists visited Facet last week. The men, despite the inclement weather, looked remarkably fit. Lt. McNish was the officer in command. The first Battalion band was in attendance under Bandmaster Sergt. J. K Hackney. The village was packed, and the tone and spirit of the band was excellent. A halt was called at the top of the village, where a box of apples and pears was distributed to the men by the kindness of the residents. The band afterwards journeyed to Peterborough and the other men to Huntingdon.

From a local newspaper dated 16/11/15 - The fine military band of the Hunts. Cycle Battalion now staying in the district paraded at Fletton, New Fletton, and Woodston on Monday, and also gave selections at various stopping places. This splendid band, formerly known as the Fletton Victoria Brass Band, is conducted by Mr. Hackney, and its rendering of the many pieces reflect great credit both to performers and conductor. There is no question but the standard of this splendid band will give a decided help to recruiting.

From a local newspaper dated 21/1/1916 - Cyclists new band. = Taking advantage of the offer made by the Huntingdon Town Council to allow the use of instruments belonging to the defunct Town Band, a very creditable band has been formed by the 3/1st Hunts. Cyclists who fortunately numbered in the ranks men who had been connected with the Buckden Band and the Huntingdon Town Band.  The instruments were handed over on Monday, Pte. Richter, of Alford, who is a good musician, was placed in charge of the Band, and only a short preliminary practice was necessary to pull the Band into shape.  On Tuesday morning the Band made its first appearance, and headed the battalion as it marched to drill at Hinchingbrooke Park.  The Bands of the 1st and 2/1st battalions will have to look to their laurels.

From a local newspaper dated 21/1/1916 - The band of the 3/1st Hunts. Cyclists have already got to work. The offer of the loan of the Huntingdon town instruments having been accepted, the men received them on Monday, on Tuesday they played the Battalion out on parade. Pte. Richer is acting as bandmaster.

From a local newspaper dated 2/2/1916 - New Cyclist Officer. = Sergt. Bliss, of the Hunts. Cyclists has received a commission.  He joined the 2nd Hunts. soon after the Battalion was formed, and was one of the first to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant.  He organised the excellent band belonging to the Battalion, and had been almost popular N. C. O. with the men.  Mr. Bliss was working for the Church army before he joined the Cyclists.  He belongs to King's Ripton, where Mrs. Bliss holds the position of school mistress.

From a local newspaper dated 21/1/1916 - The band of the 3/1st Hunts. Cyclists have already got to work. The offer of the loan of the Huntingdon town instruments having been accepted, the men received them on Monday, on Tuesday they played the Battalion out on parade. Pte. Richer is acting as bandmaster.

From a local newspaper dated  11/2/1916 - Another draft of 47 of the Hunts. Cyclists left Huntingdon on Saturday to join the 1st Battalion. They were played to the station by the band of the 3/1st Battalion, and were given a hearty send-off.

The 2/1st Hunts. Reinforced - the 2/1 Hunts. Received their 'share' of men from the 3/1 Hunts. On Saturday morning. The draft arrived [minus one cap] at 1:20 p.m., under the command of Lieut. A. W. McNish, Company Sergt.-Major Allen Hitch also accompanying the warriors. They found that a number of palatial billets had been prepared in advance, so that they have only to step into 'rows of houses.' The Band played them into camp, and dinner was waiting. Sunday was wet, but in spite of this the newcomers found themselves welcomed into a very happy family.

Band and the Huntingdon Town Band. The instruments were handed over on Monday. Pte. F. Richer, of Alford, who is a good musician, was placed in charge of the Band, and only a short preliminary practice was necessary to pull the Band into shape. On Tuesday morning the Band made its first appearance and headed the Battalion as it marched to drill at Hinchingbrooke Park. The Bands of the 1st and 2/1st Battalions will have to look to their laurels.

From a local newspaper dated the 8/1/15 - The Mayor said they felt proud of St. Ives because so many of her young men had come forward and shown their patriotic spirit. They had left their homes, and in some instances their wives and families to do all for the honour of country. Those at home must look after their wives and children for the time being. With regard to the National Reserve as suggested, another meeting would have to be arranged to discuss the question.   As the band played national airs recruits were called forward.

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

  Return to Home Page. 10/08/2013.
 . Photos from collection of Steve Farrant   -   Many thanks to him for allowing publication on my website.   Martyn Smith.