Bicycles on the Somme

The Great War saw the transition from horse
To bicycle on war torn battlefields of France,
Not requiring grooming and food of course,
Or stables, the bike could perfectly enhance
The mobility of the Cycling corps,
To meet the changing requirements of the day;
Fixing rail-lines and phone lines among their chores.
They carried machine guns into the fray.

Weaving among the shell-holes the riders
Engaged in surveillance, aircraft attack, –
A silent, swift, combat decider.
For these cyclists there was no turning back.

Major Jack Hindhaugh was throughout the war,
“Father” of The Australian Cycling Corps.

Special thanks to Berry Dunston for sharing the role her grandfather, Major Jacob (Jack) Hindhaugh, played in World War 1 on the Battlefields of Europe as Officer Commanding The Australian Cycling Corps 1916 -1919.

Jacob’s brother, Lieutenant Colonel Stanley Hindhaugh was in command of the Corps Mounted Troups, – The Australian Light Horse.

The use of bicycles in the Great War is little known. A useful reference written by Ronald J Austin is
The History of the AIF/NZ Cycling Corps 1916-1919,
A Slouch Hat Publication.

Bill Edmunds
November 2021