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London Passenger Transport Board Staff Overseas

Object Type: Folder
In Folder: WWII Showcase

Date of Document

One London Transport Anti-Aircraft battery landed in Norway in 1940, where some of LPTB’s bus drivers saw action in Andalsnes. The regiment suffered one casualty, Sergeant H. E. A. Truss, a bus conductor from Catford, who was fatally crushed when mounting a gun during battle.

Staff were stationed across the globe building railroads in North Africa, fighting in tanks and planes, and driving supply lorries across the rocky desert terrain - their civil skills coming into good use to support the war effort. No matter where staff were stationed, teamwork was of the upmost importance and it wasn’t uncommon that staff would be posted to the same units.

After a stint at home, the regiment saw action in Italy and North Africa, where they fought in Libya and were the most advanced unit in the desert campaign. Joseph Fitzpatrick, ticket clerk at Hammersmith, writes a letter to staff magazine 'Pennyfare' discussing his wartime experiences and hardships navigating the rocky Libyan terrain.

Whilst some troops fought battles shoulder to shoulder with comrades, others held roles that were carried out in solitary conditions. In a letter written to Pennyfare in 1944, Conductor at Sutton Garage J. M. Nevin uses his own resources and initiative to navigate torn, twisted shipwrecks as a diver in the navy.

The October 1941 edition of the staff magazine honours nine LPTB staff killed or taken prisoners of war whilst serving overseas. The article includes photographs of the late Private W. H. Browning, formerly a clerk in the Department of the Chief Engineer and the late Petty Officer S. G. Watts, a conductor at West Green Garage.

The April 1943 edition of the staff magazine honours 37 LPTB staff killed, wounded, taken prisoners of war, or reported missing whilst serving overseas. Includes photographs of trolleybus conductor Corporal R. T. Cable, killed in action in North Africa, and circuit installer Sergeant C. F. Myhill, killed whilst working as an observer and air gunner.

The 84th (London Transport) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, part of the Royal Artillery, was formed in October 1938 following Hitler’s violation of the Munich Agreement made between Germany, France and Britain. The new regiment was composed of four batteries recruited from LTPB staff and for this reason ‘London Transport’ was included in its title. Its motto was ‘Strong for Service’, a phrase coined during the advertising of the creation of the LPTB in 1933.

The March 1940 edition of the staff magazine honours the deaths of three LPTB employees serving overseas between December 1939-February 1940. These deaths include an accidental drowning and a case of pneumonia.

The August 1940 edition of the staff magazine honours 30 LPTB employees killed, missing or drowned whilst serving overseas between March-July 1940. Includes photographs of D. Stephens, C. Stephens and H. E. A. Truss.

In 1939, London’s public transport authority, the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB), had over 86,000 members of staff on its payroll. By October, 7,121 had enlisted into the armed forces, and by the end of the war, 22,580 employees had been called up for service.

The January 1940 edition of the staff magazine honours two LPTB employees missing, presumed drowned, from H.M.S. Exmouth on 23 January 1940.

LPTB Staff Overseas

Members of staff drafted into the Army Catering Corps made sure troops were fed, sending hot cakes to hungry soldiers and overseeing civilians prepare food for soldiers at allied leave hotels. One conductor from New Cross was tasked with feeding up to 7,000 soldiers of various ethnicity where different diets had to be considered. Sergeant A.G. Ireland, was responsible for overseeing civilians prepare food for all 24 allied leave hotels in Blankenberghe, Belgium.

The January 1944 edition of the staff magazine honours 28 LPTB employees killed, taken prisoners of war, or reported missing believed killed whilst serving overseas. Includes photograph of C. L. W. Davies, Royal Fusiliers, booking clerk at Stockwell, who died September 1943 in the Central Mediterranean.

The men were considered “seasoned desert rats” with a strong, fighting reputation. It was reported that some of the regiment’s batteries were employed in every port and landing used to bring goods ashore.

Two members of staff were reported killed or missing while on duty; Sergeant Air Gunner A. N. Page, a bus conductor at Holloway Depot, and Able Seaman R. W. Briggs, bus conductor at Upton Park Garage.

By the end of the war, 699 serving members of staff had been killed in action or had died on active service and 582 were reported as having been made prisoner of war. Of these, 413 were known to have been liberated by the end of 1945, and 126 had resumed duty with the company by 1946.

The 'Roll of Honour' was a regular feature in staff magazine 'Pennyfare'. It informed readers of LPTB staff killed, wounded, taken prisoners of war, or reported missing whilst serving overseas.

Within the regiment morale of the troops was high, with a real sense of camaraderie. One gunner wrote to LTPB’s staff magazine Pennyfare stating, “Not a man in the Battery wishes himself out”. The London Anti-Aircraft regiment was in high spirits and the officers were happy to be involved in routine tasks such as digging. Concerts were held in the evenings to boost morale and the men were fed well.

The July 1940 edition of the staff magazine confirms details of 17 LPTB employees killed, missing and missing believed prisoner whilst serving overseas between January-June 1940.

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