4/1st Battalion


The 4/1st Battalion, The Cambridgeshire Regiment was formed at Newmarket on the 6th November 1915. It was initially formed of 400 men, half came from the 2/1st and the other half from the 3/1st. On 12th December 1915 the 4/1st joined the 208th Brigade, 69th Division at Bury St Edmunds.

In late June 1916 the Battalion along with the rest of the 69th Division moved to Harrogate as part of the Local Forces, Northern Command. Drafts started to leave the 4/1st in August most heading for the 1/1st although one went to the 5th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (for further information about these drafts please click here). Over winter the 4/1st was moved to winter quarters at Doncaster and a further large draft left for overseas in December 1916..

The 4/1st moved with the rest of the 208th Brigade to Thoresby Camp in May 1917. In July 1917 with the creation of the Cambs and Suffolk Reserve Battalion the decision was made to disband the 4/1st and the process was got underway. The Battalion was fully disbanded in October 1917 and the last of the men were transferred to the Cambs and Suffolk Reserve Battalion.

Song of the 4/1st

(To the tune of "Sing a Song of Sixpence".)

Sing a song of Yorkshire,

And our little camp,

Three or four battalions

Sleeping in the damp.


Tis said "old soldiers never die,"

But you will all agree

That now we've come to where we are

They'd better "wait and see."


They rise at five each morning,

And off to wash they fly,

When breathless they arrive there,

The water's "done a guy."


But hark! a burst of cheering,

It almost makes one start,

Then we see the reason is

Pearce and his water cart.


Quite 80 see the doctor,

Who says "I'll make them whine!

Orderly, Orderly, Orderly,

Give them a No. 9."


All draw picks and shovels,

Great big hammers too,

Breaking stones like convicts,

That's all we have to do.


We say "Roll on, Friday,"

For then our pay we draw,

But for all our toiling, slaving,

We get not one sou more.


On Church Parade the C.O. says

"You've all worked hard, I know,

For that 200 men next week,

On leave, PERHAPS, will go."


Sing a song of Yorkshire,

"Ba goom" it may be fine,

But all the 4/1st laddies

Say "Bury" every time.


By P.H. 1916.


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4/1st Battalion Commanding Officers


Lt Col E Saint             6-11-1915 to 4-11-1916

Lt Col Scott-Harden  4-11-1916 to 15-4-1917

Lt Col G Archer          15-4-1917 to 1-7-1917

Lt Col Archer while CO of 4/1st Battalion.

4/1st Battalion on the march, May 1917.

Lt Skelton Smalley of the 4/1st in 1917.

This site went live on the 14th February 2015 to mark  100 years since the 1/1st Cambs went off to war.


Copyright 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 by Felix Jackson. The information and images on this site should not be reproduced without prior permission.