V Corps Cyclist Regiment (North Irish Horse)

 

The V Corps Cyclist Regiment (North Irish Horse) was formed from February to March 1918 from the dismounted 1st Regiment North Irish Horse. The diary is sourced from National Archives document WO 95/761.

 

 

April 1918

1-11

Rubempre. Regiment chiefly employed as Corps guides, traffic control duties, and runners to V Corps Heavy Artillery.

12-16

Naours. Regiment marched from Rubempre to Naours and continued duties as above. 

17

Naours. All traffic control posts furnished by Regiment withdrawn.

18-30

Naours. Training in dismounted action, scouting, map reading, musketry, bombing, lectures, Lewis Gun, and tactical schemes in conjunction with 12th Machine Gun Squadron.

 

Extract from V Corps routine orders d/ 7 April 1918.
The Corps Commander wishes to express his pleasure at the efficient manner in which the traffic has been controlled by the North Irish Horse (especially the Corps Traffic Detachment), under the difficult conditions of a retreat. He attributes the comparatively light losses in guns and transport suffered by the V Corps very largely to their self sacrificing devotion to duty.

 

[Signed] A Hamilton Russell
Major
V Cyclist Regiment
(North Irish Horse)

 

May 1918

1

Naours. Scheme with 12th Machine Gun Squadron carried out. Five NCOs despatched to V Corps School for course on Lewis Gun.

2

Naours. Three Officers and 97 Other Ranks proceeded on working party to Varennes.

3-21

Course of Instruction in bombing and signalling.

22-26

Training continued, one hour each day being devoted to working with Box Respirator on.

27-31

Course of Instruction for Officer on Lewis Gun.

 

[Signed] A Hamilton Russell
Major
V Cyclist Regiment

 

June 1918

1-30

Naours. Three Officers and 95 Other Ranks employed on working party at Varennes. Remainder of Regiment employed on traffic duties, Corps guides, runners at Corps Headquarters, and with ammunition columns.

[Signed] A Hamilton Russell
Major
Commanding V Cyclist Regiment
(North Irish Horse)

 

July 1918

1-31

[1-31 July] Naours. Regiment chiefly employed on working party, with A.O Signals; traffic control duties, bridge guards, Corps guides, and orderlies at Corps Headquarters.
[10-16 July] One hour each day being devoted to working with Box Respirators on.
[28-31 July] Four classes of instruction on Lewis Guns.

 

[Signed] A Hamilton Russell
Major
Commanding V Cyclist Regiment
(North Irish Horse)

 

August 1918

1-6

[1-6 July] Naours. Regiment employed on working parties and traffic control duties.
[6 July] Regiment concentrated for training.

7

Regiment moved to Rubempre.

8-31

[8-23 August] Rubempre. Daily training – drill, physical and bayonet training, musketry, scouting signalling, tactical exercises under Company Commanders, patrolling.
[11-18 August] Rubempre. Lewis Guns of the Regiment employed on the anti-aircraft defences of ammunition dumps.
[14 August] Rubempre. One Officer and 13 Other Ranks to 64th Infantry Brigade, 21st Division, for patrol duties, still employed as such.
[16 August] Rubempre. 10am. Inspection of Regiment by V Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Shute. Lieutenant General Shute explained the role the Regiment would be called upon to fulfill in the coming advance, viz, vanguard to the Corps. One Squadron would be attached to each Division and they would be used entirely for tactical work, keeping touch with the enemy as he withdrew.
A Squadron under Captain J.C.G Kirkpatrick allotted to 21st Division.
E Squadron under Major I.A Finlay allotted to 38th Division.
D Squadron under Captain H.E.L Montgomery allotted to 17th Division.
Commanding Officer to act as liaison officer between 17th and 21st Divisions.
Adjutant to act as liaison officer between 17th and 38th Divisions.
[20-23 August] Rubempre. Two Officers and 67 Other Ranks with all Lewis Guns of the Regiment (viz, nine) to 62nd Infantry Brigade to take part in attack by 21st Division on morning of 21st August.
[21-31 August] Rubempre. Thirteen Other Ranks with 64th Infantry Brigade, 21st Division, patrol duties.
[23 August] Rubempre. E Squadron under command of Major I.A Finlay to 38th Division. Headquarters and D Squadron moved to Toutencourt. D Squadron joined 17th Division under command of Captain H.E.L Montgomery.
[24 August] Toutencourt. A Squadron under command of Captain J.C.G Kirkpatrick joined 21st Division engaged on patrol duties to 31st. Headquarters moved to Beaussart. Lewis Guns of D & E [Squadrons] ordered to join their Squadrons with Divisions.
[26 August] Beaussart. [On 26th] Headquarters moved to Hamel, thence on 27th to Courcelette, thence on 30th to Martinpuich.
[21-31 August] Casualties: Killed, seven Other Ranks; missing believed killed, one Other Ranks; wounded, two Officers (2nd Lieutenant A.H Cleaver, 2nd Lieutenant J.A O'Neill), 25 Other Ranks.

 

[Signed] A Hamilton Russell
Major
Commanding V Cyclist Regiment
(North Irish Horse)

 

September 1918

 

A Squadron

1

Map reference 57c 1/40000. Beaulincourt. Squadron assisted in capture of village of Beaulincourt. Attached 21st Division.

2

Patrols pushed forward and found ridge east of Beaulincourt to be strongly held by enemy.

3-4

Resting at N.13.d.3.3.

4-15

Attached to Brigades of Division by Troops for reconnaissance and runners.

16-17

Squadron resting at W.22.c. Letter of appreciation of good work done received from General Officer Commanding 21st Division.

18

Moved to advanced Brigade Headquarters of 64th Infantry Brigade at W.18.c.9.6. One Troop went forward with orders to find out if Villers Guislain was held by the enemy. Report received at 3.00pm, enemy machine-guns in south-west corner of village. Patrols sent out to gain touch with 51st Brigade, which they did.
4.45pm. Advance troops reported unable to enter Villers Guislain. Party detailed to carry ammunition for King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and East Yorks.

19-26

[19 September] Troop with Brigade Headquarters. Remainder of Squadron withdrawn to Equancourt.
[19-26 September] Training in bombing, Lewis Gun, and map reading.

27

Attached to 38th Division for reconnaissance.

28

Three Other Ranks awarded the Military Medal, V Corps Routine Order No.838.

29-30

 

[Signed] A.E Phillips
Major
Commanding V Cyclist Regiment (North Irish Horse)

 

D Squadron

1

Map reference 57c 1/40000. Squadron attached to 17th Division for patrol work. Useful information obtained.

2-3

4

Squadron attached to 50th Infantry Brigade situated at O.30.c.0.0. Still employed on reconnaissance. Patrols to Ytres and Etricourt. Desired information re position of enemy obtained.

5

6.00am. Attached to 51st Infantry Brigade at P.31.c.6.6. One Section employed in keeping 7th Battalion Lincolns in touch with Brigade. Various patrols sent out and useful work done.

6

Location same as 5th inst. Squadron has been used frequently for various patrols.

7

One Troop detailed as orderlies to General Officer Commanding Brigade. Squadron moved to P.31.c.2.6.

8

Various patrols were sent out and runners supplied to Division and Brigade Headquarters.

9

Attached to 50th Infantry Brigade. Work being carried out as before.

10

One Troop reported to Brigade Headquarters for duty.

11

12

Lechelle. Division in rest. Squadron resting at Lechelle.  

13-17

18-26

[18-24 September] Training in bombing, Lewis Gun, map reading, etc.
[24-26 September] Supplied working party for C.R.E. [Commander Royal Engineers?] 17th Division.

27

28

Squadron reported to 21st Division Headquarters for duty with Division. Location W.8.d.5.3 for the night.

29

Squadron reported to 110th Brigade for reconnaissance at Gouzeaucourt. Enemy in strength east of village.

30

Location of Squadron R.21.c.8.5. Letter of appreciation of good work done received from General Officer Commanding 17th Division.

 

[Signed] A.E Phillips
Major
Commanding V Cyclist Regiment (North Irish Horse)

 

E Squadron

1

Map reference 57c 1/40000. T.9.b.9.9. Attached 38th Division in reserve.

2

Joined 113th Infantry Brigade. Three patrols sent out to reconnoitre Sailly-Saillisel, report position of enemy troops. Each patrol obtained information required. Squadron withdrew to Hebule for the night.

3

T.12.d.9.1. 2.30am. Occupied North Copse to prevent enemy from approaching up valley.
10.55am. Mesnil reported clear. Attached 114th Brigade. Runners detailed to keep up communication between 13th Welsh Battalion and 14th Welsh Battalion during advance. Moved to U.10.d.9.7 for night.

4

Runners with Battalions, Headquarters. Squadron detailed to carry ammunition to 14th Battalion Welsh Regiment and assist in holding the line.

5

V.29.a.2.6. Advanced our line as far as V.29.a.2.6 to V.14.c.2.3 then held up by machine-gun fire from V.16 and V.22. Withdrawn to Brigade Headquarters at 5.00pm. Later to Divisional Headquarters at 10.00pm.

6

T.9. Moved to Quarry in T.9 for rest. Resting until 10 September 1918.

7-10

11

Moved to 38th Division Headquarters at Etricourt. Five Other Ranks awarded Military Medal, V Corps Order No.827.

12

Moved to 114th Brigade Headquarters. Squadron employed as runners and establishing touch between Battalions.
Ammunition and ration carriers until 15 September 1918.
Letters of appreciation of good work done received from General Officer Commanding 38th Division.

13-15

16

One Troop left at Brigade Headquarters. Remainder of Squadron moved to Etricourt where training was carried out.

17-19

20

Troop withdrawn. Division in rest. Squadron training in bombing, Lewis Gun, map reading carried out till 27 September 1918.

21-27

28

Squadron attached to 33rd Division for duty.

29-30

 

[Signed] A.E Phillips
Major
Commanding V Cyclist Regiment (North Irish Horse)

 

Copy
50th Infantry Brigade
Headquarters
17th Division
6th September 1918

I wish to place on record my appreciation of the good work done by the detachment of the North Irish Horse (Corps Cyclists) under Captain Plum, attached to this Brigade during the recent operations especially on the 4th September 1918.
The patrolling done by the Cyclists and the information which they obtained has proved invaluable and largely contributed to the success of the operations.

(Signed) G Gwyn Thomas, Brigadier General
Commanding 50th Infantry Brigade

 

Copy
17th Division
25th September 1918
V Corps

1. The Squadron of Cyclists (NIH) attached to this Division proved invaluable.
They were employed on the following tasks:-

1. Patrolling
2. Communication
3. Liaison

2. (a) During the advance from Rocquigny to the Canal-du-Nord, sections patrolled ahead of the Infantry and sent back most useful reports as to the position of the enemy. One patrol on arrival at Etricourt dismounted and came into action against an enemy Machine Gun Nest on the East bank of the Canal-du-Nord and compelled it to withdraw.
(b) When all the forward telephone wires were cut and the Power Buzzer out of action, the cyclists riding down the Fins-Gouzeaucourt road maintained communication from the forward Battalions to the Dessart Wood Report Centre.
(c) During the check along the Canal-du-Nord they were used to maintain Liaison with troops on Right and Left, and were most useful.
3. The Cyclists were of the greatest use, their keenness was most marked, and they carried out the tasks allotted to them in a most competent manner.

(Signed) G M Bird, Colonel for
Major General
Commanding 17th Division

 

October 1918

 

A Squadron

1-2

[Map reference] 57C. V.17.a.5.4. One Troop attached Headquarters 38th Division. Two Sections with each Brigade – 113th, 114th, and 115th. Employed as runners with signals and D.R [despatch rider?] work. Officers employed on reconnaissance with Division Headquarters.

3

V.17.a.5.4. One Troop in line with Headquarters 38th Division. Sections with Brigades. Lewis Gun Sections carrying out training.

4

5

Squadron moved to F.1.d.5.2 (Sheet 62C NE).

6

Sheet 62C NE. F.1.d.5.2. Squadron employed as above.

7

Sheet 57B. S.21.cent. Squadron employed as above. Three Lewis Gun Sections with Headquarters. One off on reconnaissance for 38th Division Headquarters.

8

Sheet 57B. S.21.cent. Distribution as before.

9

Squadron Headquarters moved to Villars Outreax and remained in rest, men employed on communication between Battalions and Brigades.

10

11

Headquarters moved to Clary on Division being brought into reserve. Disposition as before.

12

13

Headquarters moved to Bretry. Lewis Gun teams training.

14-15

16

Headquarters moved to Le Fayt. Two Troops and Squadron Headquarters attached 115 Infantry Brigade. One Troop 38th Division Headquarters. Men employed as despatch riders for Brigade Headquarters.

17-22

23

Squadron concentrated at Le Fayt (Troisvilles) and placed under orders of Officer Commanding Regiment.

24

Lewis Gun training.

25

Moved to Forest on becoming attached to 38th Division. Stood to at Forest.

26

Moved to Poix du Nord under orders of 115 Brigade.

27-29

30

Moved back to Forest less one Troop remained in Poix du Nord with 114 Infantry Brigade.

31

Squadron less one Troop resting in Forest.

 

[Signed] H.G. Elliot
Captain
Commanding North Irish Horse
V Cyclist Regiment

 

D Squadron

1-2

57C R25a75. Attached to 110th Brigade 21st Division. Patrols sent out to reconnoitre crossings of Canal de L'Escaut. Reported Bantouzelle occupied by enemy. Bridges burning. Enemy holding Canal with machine-guns. West bank clear of enemy.

3-4

Not required by Brigade. Training in Lewis Gun and map reading.

5

Moved forward to Gouzecourt under orders of 64 Infantry Brigade 21st Division to M32a24 (57B) and sent out patrols under 2nd Lieutenant Blanden to Bonne Enfance Farm and 2nd Lieutenant Austin to Montecouvez Farm. Sergeant Rainey to Gratte Panche Farm. The first and third reported clear but Montecouvez strongly held by enemy. Patrols rejoined Squadron at M35a where they remained nights of 5th, 6th and 7th.

6-7

8

Squadron marched to Ardissart Farm at 9am and became transferred to 17th Division. Remained there for day and night. Patrols under 2nd Lieutenant Austin, Lieutenant Montgomery sent out to Wallincourt, Selvigny and Caullery. Reported clear.

9

10

Squadron billeted for night in Tronquoy.

11

Moved to rest billets in Inchy. Few men runners with Infantry Battalion and Brigade. Remainder standing to.

12-13

14

Moved back to Montigny. Cleaning up and training.

15-16

17

Standing to ready to move at 45 minutes notice.

18-21

Moved to Inchy under orders of 52nd Brigade. Standing to but no move (21st) transferred to 51st Brigade.

22

Transferred to 21st Division.

23

Moved to Neuvilly.

24

25

Two Troops moved to Poix du Nord at 7am and became attached to 62nd and 64th Brigades. Squadron Headquarters and No.1 Troop moved to Vendegies at 7am and became attached to 110th Brigade (21st Division). This Troop remained with Brigade Headquarters at F.13.a.8.6 and Squadron Headquarters went into billets at F.7.a.7.3. The situation did not admit of any of these Troops being used according to plan of operations. At 1800 hours Squadron concentrated in billets at Poix du Nord under 110th Brigade.

26

Transferred to 52nd Brigade. Standing to but no move.

27

28

Squadron employed on salvage.

29-31

Transferred to 21st Division on salvage work as before and Divisional mobile reserve.

 

[Signed] H.G. Elliot
Captain
Commanding North Irish Horse
V Cyclist Regiment

 

E Squadron

1-2

(57)x22c31. Attached 100th Infantry Brigade 33rd Division. Sent out a patrol under 2nd Lieutenant Downey to reconnoitre Canal de St Quentin (S13a 57B)) preparatory to small raiding operations on following night which, however, never took place.

3

Fifteen Other Ranks gassed by gas shelling. Squadron moved forward to Battalion Headquarters owing to report that enemy were retiring. This did not prove to be the case, so Squadron moved back to previous location and were engaged in afternoon on salvage work.

4-5

Salvage work.

6

Patrols in front of Hindenberg Line as far as village of Aubengheul Aux Boix and Mortho Wood. At both point patrols being held up by enemy machine-guns. In the evening enemy held line just in front of village. 33rd Division were then relieved and Squadron remained in trench S22d (57B) for three days.

7-9

10

Moved up with 19th Brigade to just behind Malincourt. One Troop under 2nd Lieutenant Downey being attached to 1st Queens. One Troop under Lieutenant Hodson MC to 1st Royal Scots for patrol work. Third Troop remaining at Brigade Headquarters for runners. Two advanced Troops reached Clary and Troisvilles. That night Lieutenant Hodson's Troop being transferred to Cameronians.

11

Remained in Troisvilles two nights.

12

Moved back to Hurtevent Farm for rest.

13-16

17

Moved up to Bertry. Remained there two days.

18-22

23

Squadron attached to 100 Infantry Brigade for attack. Moved to F21c8.5 (57B). Remained there for night. Patrols were sent out to ascertain dispositions of our troops in front.

24

The Squadron moved to Paul Jacques Farm, whence to Wagonville, when a patrol under 2nd Lieutenant Austin was sent out to reconnoitre Englefontaine. Patrol rode through village and located enemy on far side. Later two Lewis Gun teams were sent to occupy posts on east side of village, these being taken over by infantry shortly afterwards.

25

Squadron moved from Wagonville to Poix du Nord owing to heavy shelling.

26

Relieved by 38th Division and marched back to Troisvilles, coming under orders of Officer Commanding Regiment.

27-31

Training and Corps reserve.

 

[Signed] H.G. Elliot
Captain
Commanding North Irish Horse
V Cyclist Regiment

 

November 1918

 

A Squadron

1-3

Map sheet 57B 1/40000. Forest. Half Squadron with 113 Brigade and half with 114 Brigade engaged on patrol and liaison with leading Battalions and between Battalions and Brigade.

4

Map sheet 57A 1/40000. Englefontaine. Two Troops on patrol work with 38th Division in Foret de Mormal.

5

Map sheet 57A 1/40000. Grandes Patures. Squadron moved to Grandes Patures and joined 33rd Division.

6

Sarbaras. Squadron moved to Sarbaras.

7

Squadron was employed as advance guard to 19 Brigade 33rd Division from Petit Maubeuge to Pot du Vin where Squadron [w]as heavily engaged with the enemy.

8

Sarbaras. Returned to Sarbaras with Divisional Headquarters for rest.

9

Dimechaux. Squadron moved up and joined 113 Brigade of 38th Division at Demechaux.

10-11

Sheet 52 1/40000. Hestrud. Squadron moved to Hestrud and thence to Eccles where outpost line was formed on the general line Hestrud – Cousoire. Outposts withdrawn on cessation of hostilities on 11 November 1918.

12-18

Sheet 51 1/40000. Dimechaux. Squadron withdrawn to Dimechaux. Examining posts established.

19

Sheet 57B 1/40000. Berlaimont. Squadron joined Regimental Headquarters at Berlaimont and thence marched with Regiment to Poix du Nord.

20

21-30

Poix du Nord. Engaged in salvage work in Poix du Nord area.

 

[Signed] A.E Phillips
Major
Commanding North Irish Horse

 

D Squadron

1-3

Map sheet 57B 1/40000. Poix du Nord. Squadron employed on salvage work.

4

Englefontaine. Squadron joined 50th Infantry Brigade and were employed as runners between leading Battalions and Brigade Headquarters. Returned to Englefontaine for the night.

5

Sheet 51 1/40000. Patrols sent out through Foret de Mormal. First patrol reached Berlaimont at 09.00 hours, where enemy were engaged until leading infantry took over. Squadron returned to La Tete Noire at 16 hours and rested there for the night.

6

La Tete Noire. Left Tete Noire at 07.00 hours and arrived Berlaimont 09.00 hours.

7

Left Berlaimont at 08.00 hours and passing through Aulnoye arrived at outskirts of Limont Fontaine. Squadron was held up by heavy enemy rifle and machine-gun fire. When leading infantry took over, patrols were sent out to locate two machine-gun positions which they did, reporting location to General Officer Commanding 62nd Brigade. Squadron then returned to Bachant for the night.

8

Berlaimont. Squadron moved from Bachant to Berlaimont and returned to rest with 21st Division at Berlaimont.

9

Beaufort. Left Berlaimont at 16.00 hours and reported to leading Brigade at Beaufort.

10

Outpost line established by Squadron on general line Obrechies, Choicies and Quievelon.

11

Squadron still on outpost line when hostilities ceased at 11.00 hours.

12-18

Squadron moved to Choicies and established examining posts at Obrechies, Quievelon, crossroads at X20.a.2.8 Sheet 51 1/40000.

19

Squadron joined Regimental Headquarters at Berlaimont.

20

Moved to Poix du Nord with Regiment.

21-30

Engaged on salvage work in V Corps area.

 

[Signed] A.E Phillips
Major
Commanding North Irish Horse

 

E Squadron

1-3

Sheet 57B 1/40000. Troisvilles. Squadron resting at Troisvilles.

4

Poix du Nord. Squadron moved to Poix du Nord with Regimental Headquarters.

5

Half Squadron sent 33rd Division and half to 21st Division.

6

Sheet 51 1/40000. Squadron Headquarters moved to Loquinol and rejoined half Squadron with 21st Division and returned to Englefontaine where Squadron concentrated and rested for the night.

7

Berlaimont. Squadron moved from Englefontaine to Berlaimont and reported to 51st Infantry Brigade, moving same evening to Bachant, from which place two Sections were sent out to act as runners to the two advanced Battalions.

8

Limont-Fontaine. Squadron moved from Bachant to V22.c.38 near Limont-Fontaine (Sheet 51 1/40000). On the night of the 8th two patrols were sent out to Beaufort to ascertain if village was held by the enemy. Patrols returned and reported village clear of enemy.

9

Damousies. Patrol was sent to reconnoitre the village of Damousies and report on situation. This patrol took one prisoner and reported village clear of enemy. Squadron then moved to Damousies where a report centre was established to receive reports from cavalry patrols and take them back to Headquarters III Hussars, and Brigade Headquarters at Beaufort. Squadron took over outposts in the evening from cavalry. Relieved later by infantry and returned to billets for the night at Beaufort.

10-11

Beaufort. Squadron moved to Beaufort.

12-18

Sheet 51 1/40000. Choisies. Squadron moved to Choisies and examining posts were organised in accordance with orders.

19

Berlaimont. Squadron joined Regimental Headquarters at Berlaimont.

20

Sheet 57B 1/40000. Poix du Nord. Squadron moved with Regiment to Poix du Nord.

21-30

Squadron employed on salvage work in V Corps area.

 

[Signed] A.E Phillips
Major
Commanding North Irish Horse

 

December 1918

1-31

 

January to March 1919

Vth Cyclist Regt (N.I.H.)

1 Jan.

Vignacourt. Regiment in course of Demobilisation, chief employment Recreation.

11 Jan.

Vignacourt. 4 O.R's awarded M.M. for gallantry in the Field. Authority D.A.Q.M.G. V Corps MM/3928/3931 dated 28/12/18.

25 Jan.

Vignacourt. Lieut D. O'N. Hodson awarded Military Cross for Conspicuous gallantry and Devotion to Duty while in command of a Squadron. Supplement to Gazette d/- 11/1/19.

1 Feb.

Vignacourt. Major A.E. Phillips Mentioned in despatches 8/11/18. Gazette supplement 28/12/18. Major A.E. Phillips Awarded D.S.O. Supplement Gazette 1/1/19.

8 Feb.

Vignacourt. 1 O.R. awarded M.S.M. in recognition of valuable services rendered with Armies in France. Gazette supplement 18/1/19.

1 March

Vignacourt. Lieut. E.A. Atkinson, awarded M.C. for conspicuous gallantry and good leadership during the advance 22/8/18 to 1/9/18 especially 23/8/18 near Le Burgue. Gazette 1/2/19.

19 March

Vignacourt. Regiment reduced to Cadre.

22 March

Vignacourt. 4 O.R's awarded M.M. 21/2/19. Authority V Corps MM/1118 dated 21/2/19.

[Signed ] G Austin, Lt
Vth Corps. Cyclist (N.I.H.)

 

April 1919

V Cyclist Regt (North Irish Horse)

1-30

Vignacourt. Regiment reduced to Cadre Strength & awaiting orders for dispersal.

[Signed] G Austin
Lieut. Capt. & Adjt.
North Irish Horse

 

May 1919

1-31

 

June 1919

V Cyclist Regt (N.I.H.)

7

Vignacourt. Retainable O.R.s posted to IV Cyclist Battn Army of Rhine.

9

Vignacourt. Cadre of unit proceeding to U.K. 11-6-19 (Pembroke Docks) with V Corps H.Q. Cadre.

[Signed] R.J. Downey, Lieut
Comdg V Cyclist Regt (N.I.H.)