War veterans join Transport for London to remember bus drivers who served in WWI

War veterans and transport chiefs remember bus drivers who served in WWI

War heroes and transport chiefs ride on restored battle bus driving past South Wimbledon station

Veterans and staff observe minute's silence

Managing director of Surface Transport Leon Daniels lays wreath

WWII veteran Ian Aitchison (90) with a picture of himself in the army

First published in News Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Wimbledon

Transport chiefs joined war veterans for a memorial ceremony and vintage bus ride on Monday to mark the centenary of Britain's entry into the First World War.

WWII veterans from London Transport Old Comrades' Association met Transport for London (TfL) boss Leon Daniels at the Merton Bus Garage in Morden.

Bus garage staff and veterans laid wreaths at the centre, chosen by TfL as one of several transport memorials to remember the many transport staff who helped win the war.

Around 1,000 London buses were used as ambulances and to transport men to the front.

A TfL spokesman said: "you had bus drivers who were going from Shepherd Bush to Raynes Park and then two weeks later found themselves driving that same bus all along the western front and be there for four years.

"It's quite a remarkable story and what's fascinating is the fact that these humble buses played this role that nobody really thought about."

A 1911 B-type bus No. B43, 'Ole' Bill', was loaned by the Imperial War Museum for the veterans' excursion yesterday.

One of the first buses to be requisitioned during the war, it was refurbished afterwards as a permanent memorial to the role played by London bus staff.

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

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