Today Battle Bus visited Poperinge and Bus House Cemetery, a significant historical location for WW1 and the men who took their buses to the Western Front.
“On 29 October 1914, the 1st Auxiliary Omnibus Coy conveyed 28 officers and 750 men of the London Scottish, including the future film star Ronald Coleman, to the first battle of Ypres…One of the London Scottish, Baxter Milne described the journey:
‘The road was abominable and we travelled without lights. Our particular bus was ditched four times, which meant we all got out and pushed. The other buses did not fare much better, but we all helped each other.’
The London Scottish made a famous bayonet charge in which they suffered fifty percent casualties. Two buses were lost to heavy shell-fire at St. Eloi. One of these buses was trapped between the opposing lines and, despite attempts to retrieve it, had to be abandoned.
The site of the action is easily recognised today because the farm alongside it became known as Bus House and the Bus House Military Cemetery is still there. The bus men had to fight their way out of several small skirmishes, and one proudly bore his prisoners back on the upper with the rails adorned by German spiked helmets.”
Extract from newly published book Ole Bill – London Buses and the First World War