November 04, 2020 2 min read

We sincerely hope you take the time to read it this Remembrance Day and remember all the brave souls who helped secure our right to freedom and liberty.

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On November 11, 2020 but we pay our respects to the men and women who gave their lives in the line of duty.
 

We'd like to pay tribute to the Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion which operated from May 1916 until November 15, 1920. Thank you for taking the time to read about this little-known group of soldiers.  

 

Canadian soldiers had extensively used Bicycles in world war one, for quick transport of men and supplies.  The Canadian cyclist Battalion was eventually formed to carry out Intelligence work with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.  The Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion distinguished themselves in the 100-Day offensive which brought the end of the First World War.   October 14, 1914 the first Canadian Cyclist Company sailed for England with the 1st Canadian Division with ranks that had volunteered for the Cyclist unit from most of the battalions. 

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The cyclists had a very intensive course which consisted of musketry, bombing, and bayonet fighting along side the highly specialized role of learning signaling and topography techniques, range-finding, tactics and the use of Lewis guns. In the early years of the war, at first the Corps carried out traffic control, trench guide, listening posts, battalion runners and dispatch riding duties. Because of the nature of the Corps duties it was very hard to keep track of them, so by May 1916 the various companies were reorganized into Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalions.

Corps member at Vimy

 

The Cyclists spent from four to six weeks in the lines under intense fire which caused a higher casualty rate.  During the last months of the war they formed a very important link between the Infantry and Cavalry also keeping in constant touch with the retreating enemy. The cyclists duties along with reconnaissance duties, proved more dangerous than the early work they had undertaken, with many of the Cyclists dying in the line of duty.  During the last 100 days of the war, the Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion, in addition to their reconnaissance duties, acted as battalion runners, dispatchers and scouts. They also acted as soldiers and took part in direct combat.     

Corps team in France

 

In the early days of the battalion, many of the bikes the Corps used were CCM and Planets, made in Canada.  In later days of the war, the bicycle fleet was supplemented with British-made BSA's.  The Corps fought at Ypres, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.  It has been reported that Canadian cyclist and Corps member, Garnet Durham of Regina was the first Allied soldier to cross the Bonn Bridge into Germany after the armistice in November 1918, 102 years ago this month. 

Corps bike

 

We remember.

Corps member with bike

Elise Gaudet
Elise Gaudet


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