Today the Battle Bus reaches its final destination of Albert, France.
One hundred years ago, German armies were spreading into Northern France. British and French troops mounted a series of counter-offensives known as the ‘Race to the Sea’ starting with the First Battle of Albert that began on 25 September.
Albert was also a key location in the Battle of the Somme between July and November 1916, one of the worst battles in human history. At the end of five months of fighting British and French forces had advanced six miles into German-occupied territory and around one million lives had been lost. B-type buses, organised into Auxiliary Omnibus Companies as part of the Army Service Corps played their part carrying troops to the Front, and wounded men back.
The Auxiliary Omnibus Companies’ Association, fore-runner of today’s TfL Old Comrades Association, was formed in 919 by London bus drivers who had served with the Army Service Corps during the First World War.
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.