Specialist Units of the NZEF

Page 4 – Cyclist Battalion

PM William Massey inspects the New Zealand Cyclist Corps at Oissy, 3 July 1918.

The New Zealand Cyclist Corps, which served at various times as the II Anzac Corps Cyclist Battalion, XXII Corps Cyclist Battalion and New Zealand Cyclist Battalion, was added to the New Zealand Division in April 1916. Starting as a single company, it was formed in New Zealand from men training to be mounted riflemen. The unit arrived on the Western Front in July 1916, when it was split into two companies and was attached to II Anzac Corps. For most of the war it did not fight with the rest of the New Zealand Division but as a separate unit attached to other corps within the British Army.

Cyclist battalions performed a similar function to mounted riflemen, conducting scouting and reconnaissance work. Like mounted riflemen they were of little value in trench warfare conditions, so spent much of the war on navvying work. They were particularly involved with burying telegraph cables, and at times served in the trenches as infantrymen.

The New Zealand cyclist companies served exclusively on the Western Front, participating in the Messines and Passchendaele offensives in 1917 and the Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory in 1918. In January 1918 a third New Zealand company was created to replace an Australian one that had been transferred. The three New Zealand companies were then designated XXII Corps Cyclist Battalion. In September 1918 the unit was renamed the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion. 

NameUnit attached toCampaignsDatesFurther information
No. 1 New Zealand Cyclist Company2nd ANZAC Corps Cyclist Battalion (July 1916-December 1917); XXII Corps Cyclist Battalion (January-March 1918; May 1918-March 1919); A Company, XXII Mounted Troops Composite Battalion (March-April 1918)Western Front:
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917;  
Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918;
The battles of the Marne, 1918;
Second battles of the Somme, 1918.
July 1916-November 1918Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand,
Unit diaries at Australian War Memorial: April-July 1916, July 1916-December 1917
No. 2 New Zealand Cyclist Company2nd ANZAC Corps Cyclist Battalion (July 1916-December 1917); XXII Corps Cyclist Battalion (January-March 1918; May 1918-March 1919); A Company, XXII Mounted Troops Composite Battalion (March-April 1918)Western Front:
Messines 1917;
Passchendaele 1917;  
Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918;
The battles of the Marne, 1918;
Second battles of the Somme, 1918.
July 1916-November 1918Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand,
Unit diaries at Australian War Memorial
No. 3 New Zealand Cyclist CompanyXXII Corps Cyclist Battalion (January-March 1918; May 1918-March 1919); B Company, XXII Mounted Troops Composite Battalion (March-April 1918)Spring Offensive and Advance to Victory 1918;
The battles of the Marne, 1918;
Second battles of the Somme, 1918.
January-November 1918Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand

Cloth patch, badges, shoulder title and puggaree

Cloth patch worn by the New Zealand Cyclist Corps. Cloth patches sewn on the backs of uniform jackets from October 1916 identified which unit – or part of a unit – an individual belonged to.

NZ Cyclist Corps badge

Cap and collar badges: Wheel with crossed rifles surmounted by a crown and a scroll underneath with the words ‘NZ Cyclist Corps’.

An earlier badge featured a winged cycle front wheel and handlebars, with a scroll beneath reading ‘NZ Cyclist Corps’. 

New Zealand Cycle Corps shoulder title

Shoulder title worn by the New Zealand Cyclist Corps.

The New Zealand Cyclist Corps wore the same puggaree (hatband) as the mounted rifles.

Further reading

Austin, Ronald J., Cycling to war: the history of the AIF/NZ Cyclist Corps 1916–19 (McCrae, Australia: Slouch Hat Productions, 2008)

Regimental history of New Zealand Cyclist Corps in the Great War, 1914–1918 (Auckland: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1922; reprinted by Kiwi Publishers, Christchurch, 2004; reprinted by Naval & Military Press, Uckfield, East Sussex, 2006)

The New Zealand cyclists at Messines (WW100, June 2017).

NZCC-inspired Under 23 National NZ Champs trophy - see related  blog posts here and here and video.

Map of New Zealand Cyclist Corps movements on the Western Front, 1916-19

New Zealand Cyclist Corps Roll of Honour

This roll of honour was compiled using the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database in combination with the roll of honour published in Regimental history of New Zealand Cyclist Corps in the Great War, 1914–1918 

SurnameForenamesAgeDate of deathRankCountry buriedCemetery
ANSTEYCHARLES LLOYD2712/06/1917PrivateFranceBAILLEUL COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, NORD
BAKERFREDERICK3523/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL
BARWICKCECIL HENRY2111/06/1917PrivateFranceLONGUENESSE (ST. OMER) SOUVENIR CEMETERY
BROWNEEVELYN JAMES WILLIAM 17-Apr-18PrivateBelgiumMESSINES RIDGE (N.Z.) MEMORIAL
BURROWESWILLIAM3217/04/1918PrivateBelgiumMESSINES RIDGE (N.Z.) MEMORIAL
CAIRNSRONALD JAMES207/06/1917PrivateBelgiumMESSINES RIDGE (N.Z.) MEMORIAL
CHATWINARTHUR ROY2223/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL
CLARKJOHN STANLEY2525/03/1918Lance CorporalBelgiumNINE ELMS BRITISH CEMETERY
CLINTONTHOMAS JAMES2518/04/1918PrivateBelgiumMESSINES RIDGE (N.Z.) MEMORIAL
CURTISRONALD HENRY2727/04/1918PrivateBelgiumBUTTES NEW BRITISH CEMETERY (N.Z.) MEMORIAL, POLYGON WOOD
DES BARRESJOHN CLIFFORD STUART 30/09/1916CorporalFranceRUE-DU-BOIS MILITARY CEMETERY, FLEURBAIX
DICKESONCOLIN ADDISON3026/04/1918LieutenantBelgiumLIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY
DUFFARTHUR LIONEL MCBURNEY 7/06/1917PrivateBelgiumMESSINES RIDGE (N.Z.) MEMORIAL
FISHERORR 25/04/1918PrivateBelgiumBUTTES NEW BRITISH CEMETERY (N.Z.) MEMORIAL, POLYGON WOOD
FOOTERAYMOND ANDREW214/08/1918Lance CorporalFranceST. SEVER CEMETERY EXTENSION, ROUEN
FOULDSGEORGE ROBERT 23/07/1918Lance SerjeantFranceMARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY
GEORGEALFRED FREDERICK271/11/1916PrivateFranceCITE BONJEAN MILITARY CEMETERY, ARMENTIERES
GILCHRISTHARRY236/05/1918Lance SerjeantFranceARNEKE BRITISH CEMETERY
GOLDALBERT2325/04/1918PrivateBelgiumBUTTES NEW BRITISH CEMETERY (N.Z.) MEMORIAL, POLYGON WOOD
GRIFFITH *DONALD CLIVE 23-Jul-182nd LieutFranceMarfaux British Cemetery
GRINDRODCHARLES2323/07/1918Lance CorporalFranceMARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY
HANNAMFRANK 29/07/1918PrivateFranceST. SEVER CEMETERY EXTENSION, ROUEN
HARRISRAYMOND EDWARD2118/04/1918PrivateBelgiumLIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY
HARRISON **DUDLEY EDWARD2330/03/1919PrivateNew ZealandDORIE CEMETERY
HARSTONJAMES FRIERSON3410/11/1918PrivateBelgiumHAVAY COMMUNAL CEMETERY
HOBBS **CHARLES VIVIAN2310/12/1916PrivateFranceETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY
HODGSONTHOMAS CORLESS2323/04/1918SerjeantFranceBOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY
HODSONVICTOR EMANUEL 17/04/1918PrivateBelgiumMESSINES RIDGE (N.Z.) MEMORIAL
HUNTERALBERT WILLIAM3817/04/1918PrivateBelgiumMESSINES RIDGE (N.Z.) MEMORIAL
JOHNSONHENRY JOSEPH 23/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY
JOHNSON **GEORGE WILLIAM2414/10/1918Lance CorporalFranceDUISANS BRITISH CEMETERY, ETRUN
KATAU **WILSON236/10/1918Lance CorporalUnited KingdomBROOKWOOD MILITARY CEMETERY
KAYALEXANDER POWELL2111/07/1917PrivateFrancePONT-D'ACHELLES MILITARY CEMETERY, NIEPPE
KLOTHAUGUSTUS RICHARD2423/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL
LINDSAYHENRY JOHN2323/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL
MARTINLESLIE225/07/1918PrivateUnited KingdomBROOKWOOD MILITARY CEMETERY
MATTHEWSFREDERICK COLETT2323/07/1918SerjeantFranceMARFAUX (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL
McLAUGHLINALBERT JAMES 23/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL
McLEODALEMEDA ROHILLIA2523/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY
MIDGLEYHERBERT LATIMER237/11/1918SerjeantFranceCAMBRAI EAST MILITARY CEMETERY
MILLSHENRY2223/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY
MILNETHOMAS PERCY268/11/1916PrivateFranceBAILLEUL COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, NORD
MUDIEPETER WILLIAM214/01/1918PrivateBelgiumLIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY
MULCAHYDAVID 29/04/1918PrivateBelgiumWYTSCHAETE MILITARY CEMETERY
NEWMANLEONARD ARTHUR2523/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL
PANKHURSTMAURICE ALLAN 11/07/1917PrivateFrancePONT-D'ACHELLES MILITARY CEMETERY, NIEPPE
PERRYALBERT JOHN 23/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL
POTTERWILLIAM2930/03/1918PrivateBelgiumHOOGE CRATER CEMETERY
POWERTHOMAS EDWARD2818/04/1918PrivateBelgiumMESSINES RIDGE (N.Z.) MEMORIAL
READROBERT HENRY 27/09/1918PrivateFranceCAGNICOURT BRITISH CEMETERY
ROWLAND *ALBERT EDWARD MACKAY 24-Jul-183rd LieutFranceMarfaux British Cemetery
SHEWRYDAVID JOSEPH237/06/1917PrivateFranceBAILLEUL COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, NORD
SIMMISSFRANK ALFRED HENRICKS2724/07/1918PrivateFranceTERLINCTHUN BRITISH CEMETERY, WIMILLE
SMITHARTHUR EGMONT2723/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY
SMITHFREDERICK WILLIAM THOMAS2423-Jul-18PrivateFranceMARFAUX (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL
SPEARJOHN FORREST 1-Nov-18PrivateFranceCAMBRAI EAST MILITARY CEMETERY
STEVENJAMES THOMSON2517-Nov-17LieutenantBelgiumMENIN ROAD SOUTH MILITARY CEMETERY
STOKESALBERT2822/12/1917PrivateBelgiumLIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY
THACKERJOHN2530/08/1918PrivateFranceDAOURS COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION
TURNERROBERT HERBERT2123/07/1918PrivateFranceMARFAUX (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL
WALKERROY DOUGLAS221/11/1918PrivateFranceSAULTAIN COMMUNAL CEMETERY
WAWMAN **EDWARD254/12/1918PrivateNew ZealandTE AROHA PUBLIC CEMETERY
WELSHJACK DARLING2126-Apr-18PrivateBelgiumBUTTES NEW BRITISH CEMETERY (N.Z.) MEMORIAL, POLYGON WOOD
WILLIAMSHENRY RICHARD3227-Apr-18PrivateFranceLONGUENESSE (ST. OMER) SOUVENIR CEMETERY
WYLIE **FREDERICK JOHN ALEXANDER 21/10/1918PrivateFranceST. SEVER CEMETERY EXTENSION, ROUEN

* On NZCC official history Roll of Honour but listed under different unit by Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

** Listed by CWGC but not on official history Roll of Honour. Aparently because they either died of disease or died after the Armistice.

How to cite this page

'Cyclist Battalion', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/specialist-units/cyclist-battalion, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 29-Jan-2018

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