Category Archives: Year of the Bus

1920: King George V and Ole Bill

king george
King George V in conversation with Lord Ashfield, chairman of the ‘Combine’, with ‘Ole Bill’ driven by James Melton and veterans in the background

This weekend has seen a host of special events commemorating the sacrifices of those made during the First World War, culminating with Remembrance Sunday today. In a series of posts leading up to this event our Director Sam Mullins takes a look at what life in London was like following the war – the beginnings of  Armistice Day, the role of commemoration and the significant contribution made by London’s Transport workers.

In February 1920, a group of LGOC drivers from the Middle Row garage, Kensal Green, who had seen service overseas as drivers were presented, with their B type bus B43, to King George V at Buckingham Palace.  This momentous event was reported in the staff magazine:

“His Majesty shook hands with the men and had a friendly talk with them as His Majesty shook hands with the men and had a friendly talk with them as he passed down the line when they formed up for inspection, and afterwards examined the ‘bus. He remarked that this was the first time he had boarded an omnibus, although he had travelled before on a tramcar of the L.C.C. …There was an appreciative crowd outside the Palace to cheer the old ‘bus and its gallant passengers as they left.”

The bus’s appearance was recorded in a Pathé newsreel, and “thrown on the screen at many picture theatres”.

B43 had been built by AEC at Walthamstow for the LGOC in 1911 and ran on the 8 and 25 routes out of Mortlake garage until requisitioned by the War Department and sent to France in September 1914. Driven by volunteer drivers who joined up, the bus did a huge mileage carrying troops and supplies up to the line and bringing back wounded soldiers. In 1919 it was repurchased by the LGOC and first put back into emergency service still in khaki and then in red to Dalston on the 8 and 9 routes. By the time it was presented to the King, B43 had acquired a small bronze plaque commemorating its passage through the war:

1914 – Antwerp, 1915 – Ypres, 1916 – Ancre, 1917 – Somme, 1918 – Amiens, 1919 – Home

To mark this special occasion, the bus was decorated and became a mobile war memorial. A brass shell was mounted on the dashboard, ornate brass plates for the numbers on the bonnet sides and a brass bust of ‘Ole Bill, the cartoon figure created by Bruce Bairnsfather, formed the radiator cap. This association with the hugely popular cartoon character was to rapidly give the bus its nickname of ‘Ole Bill, commonly but incorrectly rendered as Old Bill. The title was derived from Bairnsfather’s first cartoon of two Tommies under fire in a shell hole, Bill saying to his companion, ‘If you knows of a better ‘ole, Go to it!’

B43 had been given a new body and overhauled for the Palace in 1920. Battle honours were added to the windows – Antwerp, Ypres, Ancre and Somme – before being handed over to the Auxiliary Omnibus Companies Association. The veterans used it for parades and funerals. At the King’s behest, the bus and veterans from Underground and the General took part in the first Armistice Day parade from 1920. These accounts are from the staff magazine ‘Train, Omnibus, Tram’ in the 1920s:

LGOC veterans march with ‘Ole Bill in the Armistice day parade of 1923
LGOC veterans march with ‘Ole Bill in the Armistice day parade of 1923

After many years in the service of remembrance, ‘Ole Bill was retired to the Imperial War Museum in 1970. Back on home ground, this venerable bus is currently on loan to London Transport Museum and plays a central part in the current ‘Goodbye Piccadilly’ exhibition on London in World War One.

Related events and exhibitions

Battle Bus
On Saturday the Museum’s ‘Battle Bus’ appeared in the Lord Mayor’s Show, representing Transport for London. Today marchers and spectators in the Remembrance Sunday parade will also have a chance to see the Battle Bus on display in Parliament Square from 9am to around 3pm.

Exhibition and Symposium
If you want to find out more about the First World War you can visit our current exhibition Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front, on until March 2015, or attend our Symposium 1914–1918 from Home Front to Western Front on Saturday 15 November which explores the themes of the exhibition in more depth.

1919: Battered War Buses back in service

This weekend will see a host of special events commemorating the sacrifices of those made during the First World War, culminating with Remembrance Sunday on 9 November. In a series of posts leading up to this event our Director Sam Mullins takes a look at what life in London was like following the war – the beginnings of  Armistice Day, the role of commemoration and the significant contribution made by London’s Transport workers.

Less than a quarter of the 1,185 buses sent overseas by the War Department returned to London. At the end of the war, the capital was short of petrol, drivers and buses. Battered surviving buses were slowly released by the War Department as they returned from overseas, vehicles which had served at home were refitted with bodies which had been in store and the final batch of B-types was completed in April 1919.

LGOC staff inspect a B-type bus
LGOC staff inspect a B-type bus returned from the front, December 1919

250 buses returned from overseas service. They were judged substandard for conveying passengers but shortages of materials for new vehicles led them being pressed back into service in May 1919 as ‘Traffic Emergency’ buses. They were repainted in army khaki with the ‘General’ logo painted in white on the side. Pre-war bus chassis were also returned to service with timber bodies as lorry buses. Licensing regulations were relaxed to permit these temporary solutions to London’s depleted bus fleet.

Lorry Bus at Victoria, summer 1919
Lorry Bus at Victoria, summer 1919; a lorry chassis with crude wooden bus body and rear staircase, running a service from Victoria to Liverpool Street

Related events and exhibitions

Battle Bus
On Saturday the Museum’s ‘Battle Bus’ will appear in the Lord Mayor’s Show, representing Transport for London. On Sunday marchers and spectators in the Remembrance Day parade will also have a chance to see the Battle Bus on display in Parliament Square from 9am to around 3pm.

Exhibition and Symposium
If you want to find out more about the First World War you can visit our current exhibition Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front, on until March 2015, or attend our Symposium 1914–1918 from Home Front to Western Front on Saturday 15 November which explores the themes of the exhibition in more depth.

1919: The first anniversary of peace

This weekend will see a host of special events commemorating the sacrifices of those made during the First World War, culminating with Remembrance Sunday on 9 November. In a series of posts leading up to this event our Director Sam Mullins takes a look at what life in London was like following the war – the beginnings of  Armistice Day, the role of commemoration and the significant contribution made by London’s Transport workers.

remembranceday1928
Underground poster for Armistice Day 1928

The First World War finally ended with an armistice between the combatants on 11 November 1918. LGOC conductress Lesley Davis remembered driving past Waltham Cross depot that day; ‘the inspectors ran and out and yelled, ‘It’s been signed!’. Women came rushing forward and kissed the drivers. Others started crying because they remembered their lost sons or husbands.’[i] 1,429 Underground Group employees and 803 from the London General Omnibus Company had lost their lives. The capital was exhausted by the four years of war and recovery was slow.

From the beginning of November 1918, it had become clear that victory was in sight. The Lord Mayor’s Show on 9 November 1918 included 400 captured German guns and that evening it was announced that the Kaiser had abdicated. Although a large Victory March involving 15,000 Commonwealth troops and captured German tanks, guns and aircraft was held in May 1919, the capital’s mood shifted rapidly from celebration to commemoration. For the Victory Parade of July 1919, architect Edward Lutyens was commissioned to design a temporary Cenotaph built in wood and plaster for Whitehall as a tribute to the fallen. This temporary Centotaph formed the centrepiece of the first Armistice Day on 11 November 1919, as reported by the Manchester Guardian:

“The first stroke of eleven produced a magical effect. The train cars glided into stillness, motors ceased to cough and fume and stopped dead…. Someone took off his hat, and with a nervous hesitancy the rest of the men bowed their heads also. Here and there an old soldier could be detected slipping unconsciously into the posture of attention. An elderly woman, not far away, wiped her eyes and the man beside her looked white and stern. Everyone stood very still. The hush deepened… It was a silence which was almost pain. And the spirit of memory brooded over it all.”

The outpouring of emotion generated at the first anniversary of peace led to the temporary Cenotaph being rebuilt permanently in Portland stone and dedicated at Armistice Day in November 1920. The ceremony that year, reported by the Times, has been followed every year since:

“…the great multitude bowed its head….People held their breath less they should be heard in the stillness… A woman’s shriek rose and fell and rose again, until the silence bore down once more.

The silence stretched on until, suddenly, acute, shattering, the very voice of pain itself – but pain triumphant – rose the clear notes of the bugles in The Last Post…

The ceremony of dedication of the Cenotaph was very sombre, heightened by the presence of the gun carriage bearing the coffin of an Unknown Warrior.”[ii]

[i] Miss Lesley Davis, LTM Box B650, LT News, no.119, p.5
[ii] Manchester Guardian, 12 November 1919

Related events and exhibitions

Battle Bus
On Saturday the Museum’s ‘Battle Bus’ will appear in the Lord Mayor’s Show, representing Transport for London. On Sunday marchers and spectators in the Remembrance Day parade will also have a chance to see the Battle Bus on display in Parliament Square from 9am to around 3pm.

Exhibition and Symposium
If you want to find out more about the First World War you can visit our current exhibition Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front, on until March 2015, or attend our Symposium 1914–1918 from Home Front to Western Front on Saturday 15 November which explores the themes of the exhibition in more depth.

Battle Bus: Driving in the Somme

battlebus_general

Our Battle Bus tour to Ypres and the Somme has been blessed with mostly good weather but the occasional downpour has given us just a hint of the difficulties drivers would have faced one hundred years ago. The Commercial Motor Magazine published a series of ‘Despatches from the Front’ during the war and no.68 of 23 December 1915 – ‘Worst Possible conditions for Driving’ – illustrates the difficulties our predecessors encountered:

“Although I have been here over 12 months and been on the road almost every day – and a good many nights – of that time I have never seen the roads so bad as they were one day last week. The mud had accumulated…and formed a thick covering over the pave (cobbled surface). During the night we had a terrible hard frost which continued the whole of the day and the pave roads that day were so treacherous to motor traffic as to make the drivers who had to use them tremble with anxiety. One never knew what antic the car would be up to the next moment.”

Battle Bus in the Somme, September 2014
Battle Bus in the Somme, September 2014
battlebus_thenandnow
Battle Bus in Bouzincourt, then and now

“If these pave roads were flat, driving would be easy enough, or not be any more difficult than  would be in London on a bad day, but the roads rise so high in the centre that when one has to go off the crown of the road, the car develops a wicked desire to get itself well into the ditch…To touch one’s brakes was disastrous, and to attempt a high speed madness.”

“I like most of the general public was always of the opinion that most of the accidents were the fault of the bus driver, due to want of driving experience. Actual experience of B26 driving a London bus out here has proved the error of my views…I maintain that on certain days in London a bus driver, has absolutely no control over his vehicle on some parts of the road.”

indiantroops
B-type bus carrying Indian troops. Date and location unknown

Ian Read, Richard Hussey and Tim Shields done a great job driving the bus in modern traffic conditions but admittedly they were not faced with shellfire, horse traffic or even frost.  We have had to plan round low bridges, avoid busy roads and even occasionally lop overhanging tree branches. The magneto has been replaced following misfiring but otherwise B2737 and it’s drivers have taken it all in their stride. We continue to have only admiration for the B-type drivers who worked under such difficulties on the pave of Flanders and the Somme a century ago.

web-events-olebill

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.

Battle Bus reaches Albert

BB_map_Albert

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.

ASC-Lorries-at-Albert-low
Army Service Corps lorries at Albert, August 1914

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.

2005-19275 AOCA
Auxiliary Omnibus Companies’ Association medallion

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.

web-events-olebill

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.

Battle Bus in Peronne

BB_map_Peronne

Today the Battle Bus reaches its penultimate destination of Peronne, a small town situated on a hill side overlooking the battle fields of the Somme, where more than a million men were wounded or killed in 1916.

citadel barracks arras
Battle Bus leaving the Citadel Barracks in Arras, France
Battle Bus in the Somme, September 2014
Battle Bus in the Somme, September 2014

The Musee de la Grande Guerre occupies the Chateaux de Peronne in the centre of the town. It tells the story of the men and women who lived through the conflict and suffering of the First World War. The return of the Battle Bus brings one small aspect of that story back into focus, helping us to imagine what we did not see. The 51st Army Service Corps bus company served at the battle of Peronne in 1918; as part of the Allied advance that halted the German offensive and moved the conflict closer to the Armistice.

Phillip Sydney Bowden, 1918
Phillip Sydney Bowden, 1918

In 1920 the first Remembrance Service was held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. London General Omnibus employee Philip Sydney Bowden was chosen to lay a wreath on behalf of London’s transport workers. He had volunteered for the army at the age of 17, fought at the Battle of the Somme and been wounded in a gas attack. Philip Bowden was awarded the Military Medal for Bravery for carrying a wounded comrade to safety under enemy fire. His daughter Jean recalled that like many men of his generation ‘he never spoke much about the war’.

Auxiliary Omnibus Companies' Association medallion
Auxiliary Omnibus Companies’ Association medallion

web-events-olebill

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.

Battle Bus Apprentices: Engaging with History

harry
Harry Young, Battle Bus Project Apprentice, reporting for duty during the Battle Bus tour of France and Belgium, September 2014

The Battle Bus Learning Programme supports audiences to understand the role that London Buses played during the First World War. Our key audiences are: Young People from areas of disadvantage, Female London Bus Staff and Primary School Children.  The programme has two young people who are supported through an apprenticeship. They support the learning and participation of the Outreach Volunteers, document the restoration and support the interpretation and content development of exhibitions which will support this project.

Kathryn Skillings, Battle Bus Project Learning Officer

I spent much of my 24 hours on the Battle Bus tour on the road, either accompanying Battle Bus from Le Shuttle to our base in Messines or travelling between villages all along the areas where once there were army camps, casualty areas or crossroads where people and supplies arrived at or departed from the Western Front.

What I was continually struck by, as I weaved through tiny roads and everyday villages was the constant reminders of battle. On each journey I passed a handful of cemeteries and saw road signs indicating a dozen more in any direction. I passed field upon field where I could still sense the hundreds of soldiers bedding in each night. It is impossible to ignore or not be affected by each area and each story it brought with it. I was very aware that while exciting and adventurous for the team and I, there are many difficult memories that could also be stirred.

My journey began in Folkestone where we were visited by local schools and shoppers. We couldn’t fail to notice we were on our way to France, surrounded by The Tricolour and parked on Rendezvous Street, there was a “street party” atmosphere and visitors revelled in climbing aboard such an unusual, emotive vehicle. An ever-present contrast, here we met a man who recounted the bombing of a “potato queue” in the town during the First World War and the effect on his family.

The next day we awoke in Belgium and travelled to Poperinge, where we were greeted by colleagues from a local museum and locals enthused by Battle Bus. All were welcomed into our mobile exhibition telling the stories of the buses that went to war and the people whose lives were changed both at home and abroad. Many came with their stories, one that was especially exciting was a visitor who returned to show us his collection of French, Belgian and German papers from the First World War. It was truly fascinating to see all of the perspectives. I felt truly honoured to have played even a short role in such a historic journey.

VIDEO via BBC
Battle Bus retraces battle routes through Ypres

IMG_1095
Gianna Fiore, Battle Bus Project Apprentice, pinning the location of the Bus onto a map, September 2014
Gianna Fiore, Battle Bus Project Apprentice

Our day at Poperinge was amazing, with visitors all excited to see the famous bus. I played the role of a conductress as we took locals, stakeholders and friends of the museum on a tour around the town.

Later that day, there was a more sombre tone as we took Battle Bus to Bus House Cemetery to lay a wreath in a thoughtful ceremony. Along the way, the heavens opened up over our poor old bus, causing leaks through the roof in several different places. Everyone frantically saved the moquette seats from getting wet. Thankfully, the rain eased off and we stayed to pay our respects before heading back under some daunting and perhaps appropriate grey cloud over head. The next day we headed off to Ypres, it was a bright and busy Saturday so we were in for a good day. We attracted a great amount of visitors; I handed out at least 200 leaflets.  I then took part in a tour around the cemeteries surrounding the area along with museum colleagues and a historian.This was a truly moving and surreal experience seeing the thousands upon thousands of soldier’s graves.

We then prepared for the grand ceremony at the Menin Gate which was an overwhelming and emotional experience. The music played by the marching bands pulled on everyone’s heart strings, they were amazing to listen to. The best part of the night was when we drove the bus through the crowds to close the ceremony. A sea of people either side watched in awe and clapped joyfully as we drove past. I must say, I think we all felt pretty proud at that point and it was a perfect way to end the day.

Overall, my time on the tour was extremely enjoyable and I was thrilled that I got the opportunity to be involved in such a wonderful project.

web-events-olebill

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.

Reflections on the Front

bus somme
Battle Bus in the Somme, September 2014

Our Battle Bus is proving to be a powerful flux for the emotions surrounding the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. As we drove out of the Menin Gate after the moving Last Post ceremony, the crowds gave the bus a round of applause and wherever we have been we get cheers and waves and people keen to climb up to the top deck.

VIDEO via BBC
Battle Bus retraces battle routes through Ypres

disabled children
A group of children ride on the top deck on the Battle Bus in Place des Héros, Arras

The First World War exerts a uniquely strong emotional tug for us Britains. The carnage had a doleful impact on almost every family and every town and village in the country. Everyone can cite a personal connection with it but only in the cemeteries and scattered monuments can we make a physical connection with the terrible events of a century ago.

tyne cot
Entrance to Tyne Cot Cemetery, September 2014

Then this familiar object hoves into view, the distinctive shape of the B-type bus, a moving, clattering noisy survivor from the war, it’s usual red livery and shiny glass dulled and made a little forbidding by being boarded up and painted khaki green all over. Battle Bus makes that connection with a past that there is no one left to remember .

somme
Battle Bus in the Somme, September 2014

During the War, the convoys of buses also struck a familiar chord with the hard pressed soldier approaching the front line. In her book, Somme (1983), Lynn Macdonald quotes an interview with a soldier who had fought in the great battle of the Somme in 1916:

“It was the first time the Riflemen had not had to march. The buses arrived at ten o’clock in the evening of 5 July. There were twenty of them to transport the Battalion, and they had seen better days since they trundled around the peacetime streets of London, shiny and red and cheerfully noisy. They were still noisy, and here and there, where the drab khaki of their wartime paint was chipped, a glint of red still hinted at the days when they had plied along Oxford Street, travelled north of Kilburn or honked through Piccadilly and South to Kensington. The windows were boarded up but miraculously on some the conductors bell was still functioning…as the boys clambered aboard, one wag inevitably positioned himself on the platform and rang the bell. ‘Do you stop at the Savoy?’ It was the old joke Joe Hoyles couldn’t resist asking. ‘No Sir’ the ‘conductor’ was familiar with the old chestnut, ‘can’t afford it. Did you say a twopenny one sir? Comes cheaper if you take a return’. But for one in three of the boys it would be a one-way ticket.” [1]

[1] Macdonald, Lynn (1983) Somme, pp.90-93, quoting Captain J Hoyles, MM, no.3237, 13th (S) Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, 5 July 1916.

web-events-olebill

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.

Battle Bus goes to Arras

BB_map_Arras

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.

troops_at_Arras_Apr1917
Troops on 11 April 1917 cheering the capture of the village of Monchy-le-Preux

The village – an important strategic point – lay 10 miles to the east and benefited from a relatively high and commanding position.

ArrasFrance.February1919
Arras Town Square in 1919

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.

web-events-olebill

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.

Battle Bus: Retracing the steps of William Mahony

photo 5

It’s a quiet day today as Battle Bus moves south to Arras and the Somme. Our experiences of driving the bus around Ypres have already given us a greater respect for our First World War predecessors. A remarkable account is that of William Mahony, who volunteered in April 1915 aged 18 and was enlisted in the Army Service Corps. He was trained at Grove Park by LGOC instructors and by mid September was in France serving around Ypres.

daimlerbussteloi1914
Wreck of a B-type Daimler bus at St Eloi, France. The bus was damaged by shell fire during service as a troop carrier in France, only two weeks after leaving Willesden Bus Garage.

His diary, published in 2011 as The experiences of William Mahony 1897-1963 during the Great War* are a vivid account of the life of the bus driver on the western Front. In April 1916 he was teamed up with Bill Rance, a London bus man who had been out since September 1914. In May 1916 he was bringing troops into the line for the Battle of St. Eloi, the site of Bus House Cemetery;

“Suddenly there was a terrific roar…the guns had fired simultaneously, the battle started. We climbed on top of the bus to watch the attack some two miles away but there were too many pieces of metal flying about so we came into the bus and peeped out of the window…by 9.30 the battle quieted down a bit and wounded began to arrive. These we took to Poperinghe repeatedly, returned for more.

With the German guns having a range of 5-8 miles, even well behind the line the transport convoys were not safe. On one occasion, the convoy arrived in Vlamertinge – “most of us had shell marks on our buses then “bang crash, nearly on us, nine men killed and 40 wounded only 50 yards away. My engine would not start so we had to stay and repair it with shells pouring around us…but we drove fast to miss shell holes, home what a relief, thirty infantrymen killed on top of our buses.”

arras
British troops board modified B-type buses at Arras, May 1917. The windows of the lower decks of the buses have been completely obscured by wooden planking, which was also added to the upper deck.

Much of the work close to the Front was of necessity only possible at night to avoid the convoy being spotted and shelled. Narrow, slippery roads, the cobblestones or paving difficult to negotiate and with inadequate headlights, just staying on the road was a challenge, let alone finding your way.  In September Mahony was working at Croix du Bac;

“we were actually on the road 18 hours a day and I must admit that towards the end of the week we almost prayed that our stock of petrol would run out. We has hardly time to wash and had most of our meals while the bus was on the run, relieving each other to drive…we were not allowed to have our lights on within 5 miles of the line or sound our horns within 2 miles of the line.”

TOT
Extract from TOT (Train Omnibus Tram) Magazine showing some of the stories of Busmen on the Battlefield, January 1915

At Christmas 1916, he draws the short straw and is detailed to drive a Royal Engineers band around to entertain towns and villages behind the line. Frost had caused his radiator to leak and boil over and then the fan belt broke; “I tied my braces around the fan belt and after one more stop we reached Cassle”. His engine catches fire and the 16 bandsmen on top of the bus who were in such a hurry to get out they throw their instruments over the side and fall over each other down the back stair. “The RE captain is now cold and in a terrible rages and threatens us with being shot at dawn…at St.Vanant W’s tyre comes off and at Bethune another man broke a spring and had to wait for the last bus to borrow the jack. The buses were bad ones and this wasn’t our usual display.” In February, Mahony left the buses to join the Royal Flying Corps.

You can see a copy of the Mahony’s published diary in the the Museum library *[compiled by Peter Mahony] Publisher: Hughes & Company, 2011 (the original diary is held in the University of Leeds Liddle Collection).

web-events-olebill

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.