25th County of London Cyclist Battalion
The London Regiment


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Malcolm DENNIS



The information for Malcolm comes from his g-grandson Colin Dennis of Boston, Ma. as follows :-

Malcolm Dennis was an early member of the London Cylcists and was deemed to old to serve in the trenches and was not deployed with the rest of the unit. Perhaps that one event is what allowed both my father and I to have been born.

As I'm told my grand-dad stayed behind while his unit was deployed somewhere in europe. Dad had claimed that there was a well recognized photo of a downed Durigible somewhere in London in which you can find grand dad guarding the wreckage - came across a copy of what dad believed was the photo at the Smithsonian about 20 years ago.

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There is one possible error in his family lore. This often happens when passed down the generations. Why I say that is that the 25th involvement with Zeppelins was when they were guarding the East Anglian coast (Norfolk & Suffolk). It is not that far from London. He would have been part of the 25th second line the 2/25th London Cyclist Bn. The following account is the only downing of a Zeppelin in the 25th London's book which is quite a complete account of the battalion's history :-
 
"Early next morning, 17th June, machine gun fire was heard to the south and orders were given to vacate tents and scatter round the camp field as a Zeppelin was about. As dawn broke, the Zeppelin was seen above, motionless, but no "eggs" were dropped. She then began to move away very slowly, towards the coast. One of our aeroplanes came up from the south, but could not get up to her level. Another plane, however, came up from the west, reached the Zeppelin and started firing at her. In a few moments she became a mass of flames and, enveloped in black smoke, began to fall. The battalion turned out and the motor cyclists, having found the wreckage at Theberton, mounted guard over the remains whilst the Suffolk Cyclists erected a barbed wire fence round the field. The Suffolks returned to camp, but the Londons remained encamped on the spot till 15th July, by which date all valuable portions of the wreck had been removed. The bodies of the crew were disentangled from the wreckage and laid in a barn near by and finally buried in Theberton Churchyard. There were two survivors, one with both legs broken and the other uninjured ; these were taken off to Bury St. Edmunds. After this excitement, nothing occurred to break the monotony of existence except frequent arrivals of new men and their subsequent departures for B.E.F., France."
 
The 2/25th were on occasions plundered of men, firstly a secondment was sent to join the 1/25th in India, secondly many were seconded to other regiments such at the 10th Londons and sent to the trenches. The account of his age probably explains why he and possibly the rest of the 2/25th stayed on coastal duties in England.
 
 

 

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