'Unsung' London war bus brought back to life
With the centenary of the beginning of World War One now only a matter of months away, there will doubtless be many fascinating and worthy projects on the go in addition to those already announced by the Government. Here's one now, in fact, involving the restoration of a 1914 London omnibus.
A B-type converted into a pigeon loft for use in
Northern France and Belgium during the Great War, c.1916.
Troops in Arras go back for a rest having
taken part in the Battle of Arras, May 1917.
Now only four B-types are known to exist. B43 "Ole Bill", a 1911 model, served in France until 1919 when like so many it helped to transport soldiers back across the Channel and was bought back by LCOG, shortly afterwards being retired and used as a commemorative vehicle (on the 14th February 1920 it became the first bus to boarded by a monarch, King George V inspecting it as part of the peace celebrations). It was donated to the Imperial War Museum as long ago as 1970, where it remains to this day.
An excellent undertaking, then, particularly for the Great War anniversary but also for 2014's Year of the Bus. I'm glad to see the London Transport Museum taking such effort to bring back to life another of these forgotten buses and in order to commemorate those who took part in such an important date in our history. It bodes well for the centenary events next year and I look forward more than ever to seeing them (and the B-type bus!).