First World War - War in the Air

AEC B Type Bus (B43 Old Bill)

Fair Use

All Rights Reserved except for Fair Dealing exceptions otherwise permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

Catalogue number
  • 4107.5.1
Display status
IWM Duxford
Dimensions
  • general: Length 6.88 m
  • general: Width 2.1 m
  • general: Height 3.78 m
  • general: Weight 3.870 kg
  • general: Load 2.68 kN/m
Alternative Names
  • AEC B Type Bus (B43 Old Bill)
Creator
  • AEC (manufacturer)
Object Type
vehicle, wheeled, unarmoured
Category
vehicles, aircraft and ships

History note

B43, late named after Bruce Bairnsfather's famous wartime cartoon character 'Ole Bill', was built in 1911 by AEC at Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow in East London. The vehicle worked on mainly the Routes 8 (Willesden-Old Ford) and 25 (Victoria-Seven Kings) before the First World War. Purchased by the War Office in 1914 it served in France and Belgium throughout the war. It was used as a troop carrier taking relief forces up from rear areas to the front line and returning with battle weary men and sometimes the wounded. It was repurchased by the London General Omnibus Company in 1919. On 14 Feb 1920 it was inspected at Buckingham Palace by HM King George V, thus becoming the first bus His Majesty had ever boarded. It worked the streets of London until 1924 when it was handed over to the Auxiliary Omnibus Companies Association, regularly appearing thereafter in Armistice Day parades and at other special events.

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