Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Regimental History of New Zealand Cyclist Corps in The Great War 1914-1918

Chapter XX. — The Armistice

page 104

Chapter XX.
The Armistice.

The Corps Commander (Lieut. General Sir Alexander J. Godley, K.C.B., K.C.M.G.), issued a special order appreciative of the work done by the Corps, of which the following is a copy:—

Special Order.

Lieut.Gen. Sir A. J. Godley, K.C.B., K.C.M.G. Commanding XXII. Corps.

I desire on the concluson of the Armistice with the enemy to-day to thank all ranks of the Corps for the gallantry and devotion to duty which they have displayed, and to express my admiration of their conduct. The manner in which the troops after the great exertion of the previous years and the desperate defensive battles of this spring, responded to the call for a renewed offensive, has no equal in history.

I am fully sensible to the strain imposed on Units, often depleted in numbers by the maintenance of the constant pressure which has finally worn out the enemy's power of resistance.

It was not superiority in numbers but superiority in dogged determination and courage which, in spite of the physical obstacle of successive river lines, and in spite of the difficulties created by the enemy and the hardships imposed by bad weather, broke down the enemy's defence.

Commanders and Staffs, R.A.F., Corps Mounted Troops, Artillery, Engineers, Infantry, Machine Gunners, Labour Units, Transport, R.A.M.C., Ordnance Services page break
O.M.R. and Cyclists' Combined Football Team.

O.M.R. and Cyclists' Combined Football Team.

Cyclist Battalion Football Team.

Cyclist Battalion Football Team.

page break page 105and Veterinary Services have worked loyally together toward the same end, and I congratulate them on their share in the victory of which they may all justly be proud.

(Sgd.) Alex. J. Godley,

Commanding XXII. Corps.

XXII. Corps, 11th November, 1918.

The concentration of the Battalion at Aulnois was complete by evening of 12th November, and all ranks settled down for a rest and refitting. On 15th November 8 officers and 100 other ranks went to Mons and there took part in the official entry by the Army Commander, General Sir H. Horne, into the city, which was a fine show, some 10,000 troops taking part.

Training, principally of a recreational nature, was carried on for remainder of the month.

On 29th, intimation was received that the Australian personnel of the Corps Mounted Troops was leaving the Corps to join the Australian Corps, and Lieut.-Colonel S. G. Hindhaugh, D.S.O., who had commanded for the past two years, visited the Battalion to say farewell. A parade was held and the Colonel made some very complimentary remarks and expressed his regret at the severance of his connection with the New Zealand personnel.

Since the Armistice was signed various rumours had been circulating regarding our inclusion in the Armies of Occupation in Germany, and opinions were divided to whether we would go or not. However, on 30th November, doubts were set at rest by orders being received that the Battalion would move to Baudour about 16 miles in a northerly direction and billet there for the winter.

page 106
Accordingly we packed up and moved, arriving at midday. The billetting party had secured us fine accommodation—Nos. 1 and 3 Companies in a fine large chateau, and No. 2 in the Gendarmerie, Headquarters being accommodated in houses. Here the Unit soon made itself comfortable, and finding the inhabitants kind and hospitable, all ranks soon had friends. The war being over, military training was not carried out to much extent, only sufficient to keep everybody fit. Sports Committees were formed and arrangements for education under our Padre, L. A. Knight, and 2nd Lieut. C. C. Southey, M.C., M.M., were made, and their classes were well attended. Football (our National winter game) was played frequently. Teams from each Company and Headquarters played a tournament which was eventually won by Battalion Headquarters Team. Several outside matches were arranged with

156 Battery, R.F.A.

South African Heavy Artillery

New Zealand Railway Engineers and others, with varying results.

The Corps Rugby Championship was fought out between our team and O.M.R. combined, and the S.A.H.A. at Mons; the South Africans won, but were given a good go for it. (5 to 3).

A rifle range was built and Rifle and Revolver Matches were held.

The O.M.R. Squadron was with us all this time, and with this Unit formed the XXII. Corps Mounted Troops under command of Lieut.-Colonel C. Hellier Evans, D.S.O. Captain H. D. McHugh, M.C., was promoted to Field rank as 2nd in command of the Battalion, and Lieuts. C. G. Johnson (Q.M.), A. C. P. Hay and D. G. Cody were promoted to Captain.

Up to the end of November the M.O. of Corps Mounted Troops attended our Medical wants. On page 107departure of Australian personnel, Captain F. Dewsbury Penfold, N.Z.M.C., was attached to the Battalion and O.M.R. as Medical Officer.

At end of December all the officers and men of 1914 and 1915 classes were sent to England for demobilization and from this Unit one officer (2nd Lieut. D. H. Evans) and 23 other ranks were sent.

Leave to U.K., and places in France and Belgium was liberal, and many took advantage of the privilege; those going to U.K. were mostly retained for demobilization.

The historic field of Waterloo was within easy distance and lorry excursions were arranged, as were trips to Brussels, Lille and other towns.

Concerts, dances and cinema entertainments were held in the "Salon d'Harmonie" at frequent intervals. The Battalion Pierrots under 2nd Lieut. W. E. Randall, D.C.M., provided several very enjoyable concerts. The Pierrot Troupe consisted of 2nd Lieut. Randall, conductor, Corpl. P. R. Boagey, pianist, Corpl. C. D. Matthews, Privates C. Wright, J. D. Donaldson, B. J. O'Connell, J. Connell and C. R. Foster.

The cessation of hostilities in November, 1918, brought permission from G.H.Q. for the use of cameras again, these having been prohibited during the war, and so it became possible to indulge in this mild form of amusement, but the opportunity of securing really interesting photos of war scenes was gone, and only those scenes of a more or less peace-time period were obtainable; still those with an inclination that way used up quite a lot of films, and some useful snaps resulted.

The winter spent at Baudour was a very cold one and snow fell frequently, and for weeks everything was under a mantle of snow. Our quarters, however, were comfortable, fuel was pentiful, and so no great inconvenience was experienced.

Early in January our Corps Commander, Lieut. General Sir A. J. Godley, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., who has page 108always taken an interest in his cyclists, visited us and presented the decorations awarded to its officers and other ranks during the six months preceding the Armistice. The Battalion was paraded in front of the Chateau and the General presented each in turn with a ribbon of the decoration, making a splendid speech at the conclusion.

page break
Battalion Pierrot Troupe.

Battalion Pierrot Troupe.

The Chateau Baudour.Our Last Billet in. Belgium.

The Chateau Baudour.
Our Last Billet in. Belgium.

page break