London

Great War bus is to be restored with lottery cash

B-type bus
Image caption Some B-type buses were converted into pigeon lofts

A bus once driven from the streets of London to the battlefields of France to help the World War I effort is to be restored.

The B-type bus was one of more than a thousand taken to the trenches of the Western Front.

It will be restored to full working order with a £750,000 lottery grant.

The buses were commandeered to act as troop transports, ambulances and even mobile pigeon lofts to house carrier pigeons.

Civilian drivers and mechanics went with them to the front, often into dangerous territory.

The B-type's unique design, using standardised interchangeable components, made it ideal for rigorous wartime use.

The project will be undertaken by the London Transport Museum.

It will be completed by 2014, to coincide with the centenary of the outbreak of hostilities.

Sam Mullins, director of London Transport Museum, said 2014 would be "an occasion for remembrance and a watershed in commemorating both the sacrifice and social impact of these years on London and the UK".

"Our project will restore a B-type Battle Bus to its wartime condition, when over one thousand London bus drivers ferried troops to the Western Front and brought the wounded home.

"The B-type was the first standardised motorbus for London and, through this project, one of the last known surviving examples will be returned to working order as wartime troop transport."

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