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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Next stop Antwerp


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In October 1914 70(or 74)Daimler D Type buses were assembled to aid the Royal Naval Brigade to assist the defenders of Antwerp.

The D-Types from the M.E.T and Gearless fleets were probably chosen to rationalize The LGOC (London General Omnibus Company) bus fleet to

reduce the number of non-standard buses which operated by the associated companies now under their control.

These first 70 buses made their way to Antwerp which by the time the defenders were already in a perilous state.

There are a number of Photographs of the M.E.T and Gearless buses in their original liveries and according to various sources a large number were lost to mechanical breakdown, enemy action and capture by the Germans.

Does anyone out there know how many of the original 70 buses survived the fall of Antwerp?


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In "Britain's Sea Soldiers" General Blumberg has Chapter 28 devoted to the Royal Marine Motor Transport Company, which included the 90 Type B buses purchased from the LGOC. The bus drivers were attested as Marines. He states that 75 buses were sent in convoy to Antwerp arriving there on 4 October. Of the withdrawal from Antwerp he states that "six buses had to be left at Selzaete for want of petrol, whilst others had dropped out by the way owing to mechanical defects." The total losses are not recorded but five days after the survivors arrived at Dunkirk on 10 October the buses were lent to the army and 46 were handed over at St Omer on 15 October.

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Thanks for your prompt replies to my inquiry and information logged into memory banks.

The number of buses dispatched to Belgium seems to vary, but 70 were handed over to the Naval Brigade, manned by volunteer crews of the drivers who used to man

them (two drivers to a bus) and after being attested as Marines, often in their LGOC uniforms and without training drove their buses to Antwerp.

Any further info on this particular operation would be of great use in a project I am involved in.

I have traced some of the buses, the Daimler numbers and vehicle registrations but any additional info is always welcome.

I have also collected all the old photographs and postcards I can find depicting the buses in the travels to and from Antwerp

Being a new member it is great to find like minded people out there.....Keep up the good work

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I believe that the buses used were actually a mixture of AEC and Daimler both built to the same type B standards for LGOC (and therefore outwardly identical) but with different engines

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Hi Centurion,

All the buses dispatched to Antwerp in early October were D Type Omnibuses (Daimlers) from The M.E.T and Gearless fleets and carried D numbers on their engine cowl examples D74 a M.E.T omnibus, D265/LF 9867 from the Gearless fleet and the much used photo of a captured M.E.T Daimler seen in Antwerp D219.

The London General Omnibus Company used this request for buses to rid themselves of non-standard buses in their fleet from the companies they now owned and

operated different makes to their own B Types.

You are right that outwardly they looked similar,the only difference being the Daimler engine and chassis.

The first LGOC buses commandeered for oversees service were thirty single deck 20 seat B type buses. Stripped of their interiors they were converted to ambulances for shipment to France. Information as to their outcome is sparse. They were thought to have been captured or destroyed by the Germans in Antwerp but I have found no photographic evidence of this. One source stated only three returned. If anyone out there has more info on these single deck buses please let me know.

Again Thanks


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  • 2 years later...

Hello Pardeloup,

I recently came across my great grandfathers service records. Prior to WW1 he was a London omnibus driver and the records show him as a motor bus driver for the Royal Marine Artillery Brigade. He signed up on 1st October 1914 and the records show that he was in Antwerp/Dunkirk by 10th October 2014. His name was Joseph Thomas Pope. The records show that he was discharged as a Corporal on 21st April 2015 when he was 37 years old. He then joined the Army Service Corp, where in 1917 he was mentioned in despatches and awarded the Military Medal. He survived the war as a Sergeant.

I would be very interested to know if you have come across Joseph Thomas Pope in your research?

Regards, Barry

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