Armadale & District War Memorial Association

Registered Scottish Charity No. SC044493

10th (Cyclist) Battalion, The Royal Scots

The 10th (Cyclist) Battalion, The Royal Scots were, till the creation of the Territorial Force in 1908, the 8th (Volunteer) Battalion The Royal Scots, before this they were the 1st Administrative Battalion Linlithgowshire Rifle Volunteers.

 

The 10th (Cyclist) Battalion were one of only two Scottish Cyclist Units formed when Lord Haldane created the Territorial Force in 1908, the other being the 8th (Cyclist) Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), later renamed the Highland Cyclists Battalion.

 

The 10th Royal Scots had their headquarters here in Linlithgow, the Drill Hall being situated behind the County Buildings on High Street, the 10th Battalion Company breakdown was as follows: 


A Company - Linlithgow with a drill station at Philipstoun
B Company - Boness with a drill station at Carriden
C Company - Armadale with drill stations at Whitburn and Blackridge
D Company - Bathgate
E Company - Uphall with drill stations at Broxburn and Livingston
F Company - Fauldhouse with a drill station at Harthill
G Company - West Calder with a drill station at Addiewell
H Company - Kirkliston with drill stations at Dalmeny, Winchburgh and Newbridge

 

The unit, established at a time when the horse was very much to the fore, were in several respects unique. Equipped with cycles, motor cycles and motor transport, the cyclist battalions were undoubtedly, the forerunners of the mechanised forces of the British Army.

 

Shortly before 1914, as the war clouds gathered, it was realised that in the event of war with Germany there would possibility be an attempted invasion of Great Britain. Plans were accordingly drawn up to meet such a situation should it arise. 


The Cyclists were to form a line of outposts along the cliffs and beaches and it is obvious that because of their mobility the cyclist units would be perfect for this purpose.

 

At the beginning of August 1914 the mobilisa¬tion of the 10th Royal Scots, then commanded by Lieut.-Colonel M. W. Henderson, was carried through at Linlithgow without a hitch. The tenth was one of the few Territorial Battalions which had their full complement of men at the outbreak of the War.

 

The tenths first move was through Edinburgh to East Linton in East Lothian, and thereafter, coast defence was its principal role, the Battalion being split between East Lothian and Ayrshire.

 

In October 1914 Lieut.-Colonel Henderson left to command a New Army Unit, and he was succeeded by Lieut.-Colonel, subsequently Colonel, A. P. Simpson.

 

The TF was envisaged as a home defence force for service during wartime; units were liable to serve anywhere within the United Kingdom when the force was embodied, but could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, any member or unit of the force could volunteer to be liable for overseas service.

 

The 10th Battalion volunteered and was accepted for foreign service, but the coast defence duty, for which it had been detailed, prevented its employment abroad as a unit, though, by the end of 1916, fully 90 per cent, of the original personnel had gone abroad for service with other units.

 

In December 1914, the War Office decided to give Imperial Service Cyclist Battalions a representation in the newly formed Army Cyclist Corps, and called for the names of Volunteers, the officers being restricted to those not above the rank of Captain. 


From the Tenth one officer, who was nominated by seniority, and 20 men were selected, the detachment left East Linton for Southampton under Captain George Wolf, Jun. seconded for service with the Army Cyclist Corps. They all had to quit the Territorial Force and enlist into the newly formed Army Cyclist Corps, they arrived in France on the 14th January 1915.

 

In May 1916 two drafts of Volunteers from the Tenth Royal Scots were send to France these two drafts were attached to the 2/5th and 2/8th Battalions of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

 

It was only after the high British losses at the beginning of July 1916 on the Somme, that more volunteers from the Tenth battalions were allowed to proceed overseas, as replacements for other Battalions & Regiments that were heavily depleted from their losses, the majority of these volunteers landed in France on the 30th July 1916, arriving at their new battalions & regiments on or around the 11th August.


These men went to 2nd Royal Scots, the 1st and 6th/7th Royal ScotsFusiliers, the 7/8th Kings Own Scottish Borderers, and the 12th Highland Light Infantry, by the end of the Somme offensive 43 of these men were dead.

 

The Battalion stayed on Scottish Coastal defence duties until April 1918 when the Battalion was to Ireland, first to Claremorris, then to the Curragh in August, to Port Arlington in October, and to Ballinrobe, County Mayo, in November.

 

In the autumn of 1919 the battalion went to Ennistimon, County Clare, where the majority of the men were demobilised, the cadre being despatched to Linlithgow in January 1920, where demobilisation was completed on the 26th February.