WWI Memorial Plaque with cap badge. Langley. 1st Huntington Cyclists. Penge, London. Died 1917, Home Service.

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William Ernest Langley was born in Clapham, 1887, to George and Violetta Langley. Their address is noted as 62 Highclere St, Sydenham.

In 1911, we find William living at 51 Flaxman Road, Camberwell and is working as a jewellers assistant. He is here with his parents.

He was serving with the 2/1st Battalion Huntington Cyclists, Army Cyclist Corps. By the time of his death, he had married Florence and an address for him then is Parish Lane, Penge.

William died from Typhlitis. His Pension Card notes, Appendicitis Typhlitis aggravated by active service. He died on the 15th April 1917.

Typhlitis is an inflammation of the cecum, which is the beginning of the large intestine. It’s a serious illness that affects people who have a weak immune system, often from cancer or organ transplant. Sometimes it’s referred to as neutropenic enterocolitis, ileocecal syndrome, or cecitis.

It’s also sometimes called necrotizing enterocolitis, but necrotizing enterocolitis is also the name of a different illness that occurs in newborns. Typhlitis is a medical emergency that needs immediate treatment.

The Huntington Cyclists:

Recruiting was rapid and in July 1914 the Battalion went off to Skegness for its first and as it turned out their only fortnight’s Annual Territorial Camp although not with a full complement of officers and NCOs. The uniform was the regulation khaki service dress but by July moat if not all the men had also been issued with a blue webb-cloth uniform not which was not unlike todays No. 1 dress in style.

Just days after they returned from their Camp, War was declared on August 4th and the Battalion was mobilised and two days later the 550 Officers and men left by train bound for the East Coast to Grimsby.

The Battalion was earmarked for a home defence role and their duties were to patrol the stretch of Yorkshire coast between Scarborough in the North and Spurn point near Grimsby in the South. In the meantime back in Huntington, plans to muster a second Battalion of Huntingdonshire cyclists were hurriedly underway. In command of this was a Lt. Col. J. I. Stanley and once trained, this Battalion too were destined initially for coastal guard duties in Lincolnshire. In the spring of 1915 a Third Battalion was authorised but it was never able to reach full strength and was subsequently disbanded and those men recruited shared between the other two Battalions. After almost two years of training and coastal patrols something like 90% of the First Battalion were drafted to France (28th July 1916) and like all those who followed them, they were re-badged to other Regiments. The Huntingdonshire cyclists were never able to fight as a unit outside these shores and as the war went on, men with no Huntingdonshire affiliations were drafted into the two Battalions.

William is buried at Newport Cemetery, Lincoln.

The Plaque is his sole entitlement.


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