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Saturday, 27 October 2012

The veterans

Ian Aitchenson tells me about his military service
and long career on the buses
On Friday I was delighted to join some of London Transport's war veterans to launch our two buses adorned with poppies for the Royal British Legion.

Together with an Overground and Circle Line train these buses are designed to raise awareness of the sacrifices made by London's service men and women. We are also launching the Veteran Oyster photo cards and decorating some bus shelters too.

London Transport is the only civilian organisation permitted to march past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day. It was granted by King George V in 1920 in recognition of the services to the country of bus staff who drove buses to the front line in France in 1915.

Each year the London Transport Old Comrades do so remembering the 1500 staff who died in World War 1, the 3000 who died in World War II, and others subsequently.

It was a great privilege today to meet several old and not so old veterans in Whitehall where we launched and then took a ride on one of the two Stagecoach vehicles which will now run in service for the next few weeks.

I talked to Elsie Davies, who is now 94, a former conductress who was one of 11,000 women recruited during the early months of the war. I also talked to Ian Aitchenson who proudly showed me a photograph of himself in Germany on the last day of World War II in 1945. Ian was a driver at Walworth and Camberwell, finishing his career on the Original London Sightseeing Tour from Wandsworth eventually being the sole driver and guardian of Routemaster ERM242 which over time was gradually polished and smartened up. He was sad to end his driving career even though well into his 70s but as a Scotsman proud to know his particular bus ended up in Edinburgh.

The next time we see them will be with very many other colleagues as they march past the Cenotaph in a couple of Sundays time, as we take a moment to remember all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Representatives of road and rail London Transport
staff launch our poppy buses and trains



  1. In Malaysia, you can for sure visit many beautiful places and states such Melaka , , Penang , Kuala Lumpur , Johor Bharu and many more. The states mentioned above has their own hidden histories and beautiful heritage. Hence one of the convenient ways to travel within Malaysia , or to Singapore and Thailand is by an express bus . You can probably do an online bus tickets booking and pick your coach to travel to any of your choice destination, instead of going to the counter and hearing a reply of "No Ticket". And if your thinking of going to Thailand after a month or 2 in Malaysia, you can book your bus ticket online from penang to Thailand . So, why waste time queuing up at the counters where you can just do an online bus tickets booking ! Cz By traveling in a express bus come luxurious coach, as the buses not only travel within Malaysia , but from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore , Kuala Lumpur to Johor , Kuala Lumpur to Kelantan , Kuala Lumpur to Terengganu as well as Kuala Lumpur to Thailand . Thres also bus es going from Singapore such as bus Singapore to Butterworth , Singapore to Alor Setar , bus Singapore to Johor Bharu, Singapore to Setiawan , Singapore to Sungai Petani , Kamunting , KLIA , LCCT , etc.