Charles Lee was one of the first bus drivers to volunteer for war service. In September 1914 he left his bus garage in Putney and joined the crews of 70 London buses sent to Dunkirk. The drivers were attached to the Royal Naval Division. Charles Lee’s unit drove soldiers from the docks to the besieged town of Antwerp. Following the fall of Antwerp, the same buses helped evacuate wounded British soldiers and some were captured by the Germans.
For his services in the First World War Lee received four medals: British War Medal 1914-1920, Allied Victory Medal 1914-1919, the 1914 ‘Mons’ Star and the Auxiliary Omnibus Companies’ Association medallion.
Other First World War stories feature in our Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front exhibition, on until 8 March 2015.
The story of London’s busmen at the front is also told in our new book by Dr William Ward, Ole Bill – Londons Buses and the First World War.
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