Today our restored B-type Battle Bus will be been in and around the French city of Arras, close to the Western Front. Allied forces took control of the Arras area in a series of offensives between April and May 1917 that have become known collectively as the Battle of Arras. The intention was to break the stalemate of the Western Front, but despite heavy losses, this was unsuccessful.
The village – an important strategic point – lay 10 miles to the east and benefited from a relatively high and commanding position.
It was captured by Commonwealth forces on 11 April 1917. A cemetery was quickly established there and continued to be in use as a front-line cemetery until the German offensive of March 1918, when it fell into their hands. It was recaptured by the Canadian Corps on 26 August and used again for a month. The graves are very closely identified with the divisions which fought on this front and 581 troops from the UK and Canada are buried there.
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.