On This Day
In On This Day
By Nicola Gauld
On This Day, 4 September 1917
On 04, Sep 2017 | In On This Day | By Nicola Gauld
Birmingham Daily Post
Tuesday 4 September 1917
MOTORS FOR SOLDIERS ON LEAVE
A BIRMINGHAM SCHEME
For a long time past soldiers arriving in Birmingham late at night on leave have been unable to reach their destinations in the city and district without waiting for the early morning tramcars or trains or incurring the expense of cabs. Now, however, arrangements have been made to take them home by motor-cars, and the removal of the delay and inconvenience hitherto occasioned has met with due appreciation from the soldiers, who have gladly availed themselves of the courteous privilege accorded them. The task of conveying them home has been undertaken by the V.A.D. (Worcester T.S.), a corps which locally is doing splendid work in the transport of wounded men. That system has been admirably organised and maintained, and it has been extended voluntarily by the officers who make themselves responsible for taking home those men who arrive in the city late at night on short leave. On Sunday night, for instance, a fleet of ten cars assembled at New Street Station, and between midnight and three in the morning a considerable number of soldiers were conveyed home, some of them to Redditch, Dudley, Tipton, Stourbridge, Wednesbury, Erdington, Sutton, Walsall, Smethwick, West Bromwich, Hockley Heath, Solihull, Acock’s Green, Harborne, and other places. If, however, this system of giving friendly aid to the men on leave is to be completely successful more help will be required, and the possessors of motor-cars not engaged at the time in the transport of wounded are invited to offer their vehicles and services. They will be well repaid for their trouble by the gratitude of those they befriend.
In marshalling the soldiers on the platform and ascertaining the men’s destinations the members of the St. Johns Ambulance Bridge assist, and they also conduct to the Y.M.C.A. hut those men whose homes are too far to be reached by motor at night, and who have to wait for the early morning trains. The work of thus assisting the men on leave has the hearty approval and cooperation of the G.O.C., Salisbury, and the railway transport officers, and shortly it is hoped to elaborate the arrangements and make the scheme more effective, for, so far as Birmingham is concerned it is quite an innovation, and has yet to be perfected in details. London is the only other centre where anything of the kind is done.
Image shows medical trailers of the 1st Southern General Hospital waiting for a patient convoy at Selly Oak, c.1916 from http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/casualtiesofwar