Ernest Roland Herbert.


His father John Arthur Herbert, of Peterborough, had a factory that made clothes and was described as a Clothier & Outfitter at Bridge House Bridge Street in Peterborough, he was as well as owning 1000 acres in Norfolk, was elected to the status of Alderman. He was the commanding office of the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion. He lived at Bridge Street Peterborough.

His name appears in the first Gazette of the 1/1st Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion printed in the winter of 1914.  = Lieut. colonel = commanding officer.

He was a Lieutenant Colonel [Commanding Officer] of the 1/1st Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion, and gave his address upon enlistment as Bridge Street Peterborough, who came from the 5th Battalion the Bedfordshire regiment to take over the command of the 1/1st Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion. (this was by 7/2/1914)  One sources states that he had associations with his father’s connection in the manufacture of bricks at Norman Cross and Fletton. He held a post on Peterborough City Council, and Huntingdonshire County Council education Committee. Before enlisting in the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion he had served with the volunteers, where he was promoted to Lieutenant, and later Major. He had associations with the Bedfordshire Regiment. ( check if this was as a member of the volunteers or the real Bedfordshire Regiment).

Sunday 12th1st camp July 1914.  = “For the first time in the history of the Battalion, the Hunts. Cyclists are in camp, but there are enough “old hands” under canvas at Skegness to render it by no means a gathering of Nov.ices only.  In all there are between 400 & 500 men, divided into 8 companies, under training, with Col. Herbert in command, the strongest units ( and some say the most efficient !) coming from the northern end of the county. 

The journey was excellently managed on July 12th, in almost tropical weather. The necessary preliminary arrangements occupied the time between dinner and tea.  There was a storm with a heavy downpour of rain during the afternoon, and more rain in the evening, but not enough to prevent a big invasion of Skegness.  The camp is something over a mile from the town an easy walking distance, and as leave is readily available to midnight, there will doubtless be many uniforms in the streets and amusement houses.  Each Company had a good send - off, but probably Ramsey’s departure from home was the most affecting, showers of confetti indicating to the contingent how much their best girls would miss them.  The Chaplain (the Rev. K. D. Knowles) was “on duty” in the camp.”

From a local paper dated 14/8/1914The Hunts. Battalion at Grimsby. The Hunts. Cyclist Battalion, under Col. Herbert, the first of the Territorial units to be called to duty, are stationed in a large school at Grimsby, in which town there are a large number of Territorials.  They are doing an enormous amount of duty on the docks, the coast, and at other points.  The recruits are undergoing training in the use of the rifle on the ranges near.  On Friday the Battalion suffered a casualty, a youth receiving a slight wound on the leg from a splinter from a bullet, whilst marking on the range.  The range was found defective, and has been closed since.  The Battalion is, of course, under military law, but though conditions are so different from camp, everyone is in the best of health and spirits. 

13-11-1914 “ Lieut. Colonel Herbert, Commanding the Hunts. Cyclist Battalion, paid a visit to the recruiting headquarters at Huntingdon last week, and expressed gratification at the fine response of recruits for the reserve Battalion.

From an entry in the Kelly directory of Huntingdon dated May 1915 Herbert - E. R., Col. Hunts. Cyclist Bn. held the position of Military Member with the Huntingdon Territorial Force Association.

 He attended the funeral of the Earl of Sandwich in July 1916, and at the time held the rank of Colonel in the 1/1st Battalion.

At the wedding of Captain Kenneth Hunnybun in August 1916 he held the rank of colonel and formed the guard of honour as they came out of the church.

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. . Martyn Smith