TfL Staff Also Mark First World War Centenary

Laying wreaths today at sites across London

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Transport for London

London Transport Museum


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Transport for London today, August 4, on the centenary of the day Britain entered the First World War, is paying respect to transport staff who lost their lives in the conflict.

TfL taff are joining members of the London Transport Old Comrades Association to pay their respects to those who fought, by laying wreaths in stations and bus garages across London.

Mike Brown MVO, Managing Director of London Underground and London Rail, will be laying wreaths at the memorial to staff from the Metropolitan Railway at Baker Street Underground Station, the memorial to staff of the North London Railway at Hoxton Overground Station and at LU's memorial at the Petty France offices. Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport, will be joined by bus staff and Old Comrades at Merton Bus Garage.

London Transport played a pivotal role during the First World War, providing staff and vehicles to take troops to the Western Front as well as keeping Londoners moving on the Home Front.

This is illustrated in a major exhibition at the London Transport Museum, which is part of the Year of the Bus.

Goodbye Piccadilly - from Home Front to Western Front reveals the untold story of London's Home Front during the First World War and tells how drivers took their buses to the Front to support the war effort.

At the heart of the exhibition is 'Ole' Bill', a 1911 B-type bus No. B43 on loan from the Imperial War Museum. It was one of the first buses to be requisitioned during the war and after the conflict was refurbished as a permanent memorial to the role played by London bus staff. 

On 14 February 1920 the bus was inspected by King George V at Buckingham Palace, the first time the King had boarded a bus.

Because of the war service by civilian staff of the London General Omnibus Company, King George V agreed that a contingent of transport staff would be allowed to march to the Cenotaph, in the annual service on Remembrance Sunday; for many years the only civilian organisation afforded this privilege.   

As part of the First World War commemorative activities the London Transport Museum has recently completed the restoration of a 1914 B-Type 'battle bus' (B2737), which took part in the Year of the Bus cavalcade on Oxford Street last month.  More than 1,000 B-type buses were requisitioned by the War Department for use on the Western Front. In September this bus will travel back to the battlefields of France and Belgium to commemorate the sacrifices of so many during the war.  

This year the recently restored B-type 'Battle Bus' will accompany the London Transport Old Comrades Association (LTOCA) on Remembrance Sunday, 9 November, as they march down the Mall to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph.

This year also marks 100 years of women working in transport.  The London Transport Museum exhibition looks at how women's lives were transformed as they took on transport roles previously carried out by men. It also tells the story of how Londoners came under deadly attack from the air as total war came to the Capital.  

Art on the Underground, part of London Underground, is also running a series of projects to mark the centenary of World War One.  A poster by British artist Richard Wentworth entitled When You Look You May Not See, is now on display across the Tube network. The work uses a postcard written by soldier Herbert Ernest Wilson to his wife Martha Emily Wilson on 4 September 1918. The work was co-commissioned by Art of the Underground with 14 -18 NOW - WW1 Centenary Art Commissions.  Wentworth will develop this idea further for a series of Tube station exhibitions in the autumn, timed to complement TfL's wider First World War centenary activities.

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Transport Commissioner says: " Today is a special day as we remember those who lost their lives during the First World War. We are honoured that members of the London Transport Old Comrades Association (LTOCA) will be joining our staff as we lay wreaths at transport war memorials across London.

" Over the course of the year, Transport for London is marking the contribution of our staff and the transport network which together played an enormous role in the war effort. We will always remember the sacrifice made by our staff and their crucial work during some of the defining moments in history.

" Beyond today we are also doing this through our Year of the Bus activities and our work to highlight 100 years of women in transport."

For more information about Goodbye Piccadilly - from Home Front to Western Front, go to the London Transport Museum.


August 4, 2014