The first form of the bicycle was invented in France in the year 1817 as an alternative to horses when crop failure lead to the mass starvation of horses. Thereafter followed many variations of the early bicycle. With the breakout of the First World War, it was first conceptualised that this mode of transport could be implemented as part of the war effort. By 1914, bicycles were lighter and easier to manage than horses, making them ideal for reconnaissance and communications work, taking influence from their usage during the Second Boer War (1899-1902). As part of the 1908 Haldane Reforms which saw the reorganisation of volunteers, Yeomanry and the Militia Regiments into a Territorial Force following the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, nine initial Cyclist Battalions were formed as a result.
The Army Cyclist Corps were subsequently controlling of the Army’s bicycle infantry, one of which was the 7th (Cyclist) Battalion, The Welsh Regiment. The Army Cyclist Corps were intended to be a home defence force for service during wartime and members could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, on the outbreak of war in 1914, many members volunteered for Imperial Service.
On the outbreak of the First World War, the cyclist battalions were employed on Coastal Defences. Their role was considered to be so important that, initially, none of them were sent overseas. In 1915, the Army Cyclist Corps was founded to encompass these battalions; it later extended to cover a dozen more battalions raised from second-line yeomanry regiments which had been converted to cyclists. The 7th (Cyclist) Battalion remained in Britain throughout the war. They were moved throughout the war, to Berwick and Montrose in 1914, then Saltburn in 1915, Seaton Carew in 1917 and finally Middlesbrough from mid-1917.
On Remembrance Day, we remember all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Lest we forget.
Martin, Ernest J. “The Cyclist Battalions and their Badges, 1888-1921.” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, vol. 22, no. 91, 1944, pp. 277–280.
Forces War Records. "Army Cyclist Corps - Regiment History, War & Military Records & Archives". Forces-War-Records.co.uk, https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/4659/army-cyclist-corps.