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Robert Maines

636 Private

‘B’ (Bo’ness) Company, 1/10th (Cyclists) Battalion, Royal Scots,

Age: 27

Date of Death: 9.7.15

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 56

Family history: He was married to Nellie and they had three children, Robert Simpson, Margaret and Nellie. They lived at 10 Furnace Rows, Bo’ness. Prior to enlisting he was employed as a shaftsman at Kinneil Colliery. His wife remarried Robert Rooney a coalminer on 31 December 1917.

Robert enlisted in the 10th (Cyclists) Territorial Battalion on 22 April 1914, he had previously served with the 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. On the 17 December 1914, he was transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps when in camp at East Linton. Army Order 477 of 7 November 1914, authorized the formation of the Army Cyclist Corps. All men either already in cyclist companies or in training as cyclists were transferred to the new Corps. This did not affect those men already serving in the Territorial Cyclist Companies, such as Robert, however, he enlisted in the new Corps as a Regular and was discharged from the Territorials.

He went as a draft of 20 men plus one officer, they had volunteered for overseas service, and landed in France on 14 January 1915. He was admitted to hospital on 19 March 1915, with bad teeth which had caused a gum infection. On being discharged from hospital he rejoined his unit.

The Role of the Cyclist Company

The main roles of the cyclists were reconnaissance and communications (message taking). They were armed as infantry and could provide mobile firepower if required. Those units that went overseas continued in these roles but also (once the mobile phase of war had developed into trench warfare) spent much of their time in trench-holding duties and on manual work.

(Authors image. Reenactor dressed as a cyclist of the 1/10th (Cyclist) Battalion, Royal Scots)

The action leading to his death

The Company was holding the line near Shell Trap Farm. Robert was reported as wounded and missing on 7 July 1915, and then thought to be a Prisoner of War on 13 July 1915. He was reported as killed in action on 9 July 1915 by the Officer Commanding 4th Division Cyclist Company on 19 July 1915.

(Linesman Map showing the trench lines at October 1915)


1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal

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