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London's Trams in the Great War

Eddie Dawes, 21st March 2017

Eddie's talk was well up to the standard that we have come to expect and the combination of speaker and a London topic ensured the largest attendance for some time.

To set the scene we started with pictures taken immediately before the outbreak of war to and were then taken chronologically right through the war to the Victory Parade crossing Westminster Bridge in July 1919. With the dates of some the significant most significant events of the war being shown to put them into a wider context the pictures covered contemporary tramway scenes and happenings in almost every corner of the extensive London network.

Very early in the war the M.E.T's Alexandra Palace lines closed for the duration and the LCC's horse cars on Burdett Road were withdrawn. The final horse operated line from the Bricklayer's Arms to Surrey Docks closed for good on the 1st May 1915 when the horses were requisitioned by the military. On the other hand several links that had already been in hand were opened in 1915, at Wandsworth and Forest Hill on the LCC network and at Acton between the M.E.T. and the L.U.T systems.

Other events included the introduction of "Conductorettes" and the use of trailer cars by the LCC as well as sundry derailments and fatalities to transport staff caused by enemy bombing. We also saw decorated cars to encourage recruitment and the sale of War Bonds and then to celebrate the end of the war. Eddie also showed some of the war memorials erected by the various undertakings that had lost members of staff who had joined up.

Particular thanks are due to Eddie for the amount of time and effort he had put into researching the mass of detail in the presentation.

Geoffrey Tribe

London Area 21st March 2017

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