25th County of London Cyclist Battalion
The London Regiment


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Frank Harry DUNHAM


Frank Harry Dunham was the son of Harry Frederick Dunham, a Tailor's Cutter, and Edith Elizabeth (nee Warren) in 1897. He married Gertrude King in 1920 in Norwich. He passed away in 1974 in Norwich R.D.

Frank Dunham does not appear in the WW1 records as serving in the 25th London Bn, however a diary of his WW1 memoires confirms that he initially enlisted in the 2/25th County of London Cyclist Battalion :-
 
start (page 3).
I obtained permission to join the Cyclists Battalion, the 25th London Regiment...' later on the same page he says ...' for although we were in a Cyclists Battalion, there was never any issue of cycles to us'. He also says that at the end of July 1916 a draft of 300 men were selected to join the 1st Battalion in India. He was not one of these and sailed soon after for France with the 7th Londons.

His medal roll has the following service recorded (dates only show when he was in a Theatre of war) :-
7 London R. Cpl. 8269 - 1(a) 25.10.16 to 29.1.18.
19 Lond. R. Cpl. 354387 - 1(a) 30.1.18 to 11.11.18.
     
From a review of the book on Amazon is the following :-

The author of this book was seventeen when the war broke out and volunteered to work for his local Red Cross Society in Norwich. In 1916 he joined the 25th London Cyclist Battalion and in October he arrived in France . He was transferred to the 1/7th London regiment and because he had first aid training he became a company stretcher bearer . He spent the next year in the Ypres sector taking part in the battles of Messines and Third Ypres and in November 1917 his battalion moved south and was involved in the battle of Cambrai . In early 1918 his battalion was split up and he joined the 1/19th London regiment and managed to remain a bearer with his new unit although he was separated from some of his fellow bearers who went to the 2/7th London regiment . He found his new unit did things differently from his old one and the bearers were attached to their company rather than H.Q company which meant he had to do some fatigues like gas guard and ration carrying and also has less comfortable billets when out of the line.
 
He later managed to gain a position as temporary orderly at the Aid Post and so missed being in the front line when the March German offensive happened . He was promoted lance corporal and became sanitary N.C.O at the Aid Post and later took charge of the Aid Post and was promoted corporal . He stayed with his battalion until December 1918 when he returned home on leave and was demobilised .
 
The author kept a detailed diary during the war and was fortunate to have plenty of time when out of the line to write it up ( being a bearer with the 7 London meant he was excused parades and although he had to occasionally accompany working parties he did not have to do work when out of the line ) . He later used his diary to write a journal which was edited into this book . It is presented in diary form but is much more detailed than most and gives much information on the duties of a stretcher bearer and the work of the Aid Post.

 

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