This is the last of our posts with our “Leeds Then and Now” series. This fortnight we look at a visit from John G Winant, American Ambassador who visited the Leeds station in we believe 1942. They paraded outside Leeds Civic hall with an impressive lineup of vehicles.
While in London a while back we popped along to somewhere important in the history of the AAGB. No26&27 Knightsbridge is the former site of Alexandra Hotel. On the night of 10th May 1941, a single high explosive bomb tore through the roof of the hotel, detonating in the foyer. While we may never know quite how, officer ensign Marjorie Stewart Butler was killed in this attack at this site. From the site we then went and laid a cross on the women at war memorial in her memory.
We recently bought this wonderful group of AAGB items. These belonged to a Miss M B Wilford, it appears that it was found by a house clearance company and unfortunately there appears to have been more which has been split (I know at least three people have some items belonging to Miss Wilford now) It’s a shame that it didn’t stay together however still a nice lot none the less. This is the first piece of paperwork that I have addressed to a member of the AAGB, near the end of the war she seems to have been living at 310 Latymer Court, Hammersmith, W6. However it appears (from an envelope owned by someone else) that in 1943 she was living at 119 Walters Road, Swansea. It’s all a bit of a mystery and without having her whole collection I may never get to the bottom of it! Just a reminder that if you have a similar collection – or anything AAGB related we’d love to hear from you!
To continue on our series of re created photos from Leeds we need to go back to 1945. It’s late October / early November and The War is over! Up and down the country surplus AAGB vehicles are being donated to hospitals in the communities they served. Betty Bacon’s ambulance went to the Leeds General Infirmary, I have now had a chance to re create the three press photos we have of her vehicle JEV 896 being handed over to the LGI. I hope you enjoy!
The last couple of posts have been about our trip to London so I thought I’d do one about our recent time up in Leeds. This post focusses on the “Wings for Victory” parade. In 1943 the wings for victory campaign was launched and was designed to raise funds for new aircraft for the RAF. Wings for Victory week was 26th June – 3rd July 1943 in Leeds, on the 29th of June there was a parade which the AAGB were part of. Below is a great picture of the team from Leeds marching past the Jubilee Hotel. Despite Leeds having been highly redeveloped the hotel building is still there to this day!
We recently got this great photo which clearly shows the links between the AAGB and the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry or as they were known WW2 the Women’s Transport Service. The paper with the photo titled “Meeting the Enemy” which was passed by the British Censor on 23/11/1940 reads “London, England – Girl members of the American Ambulance Great Britain show no fear in meeting a bomb which they examined during a test calculated to bring them face to face with realism”. The women here can be seen in full FANY uniform, the only difference being the addition of an AAGB arm badge on their left sleeve.
Happy Independence Day to all of our American friends! Remembering back to the ASL pre Independence Day drinks back in 2017, what an amazing event which I’ll remember forever!
While in London recently we visited the memorial to “The Women of World War II” This is the first time I have managed to get there so it was lovely to see it in person. We laid two crosses there which means we’ve now done it for all three members killed during the war. One is to an un known member as there is still some uncertainty as to who exactly she was. The other which is to Officer Ensign Marjory S Butler who was killed by “Injuries sustained from enemy action” in May 1941 when the Alexandra Hotel, London was bombed.
We Recently took a trip down to London and couldn’t help visiting some AAGB landmarks! Grosvenor Gardens really is the home of the AAGB, It’s where they had a number of parades including their formation parade. It’s also where they were headquartered for a number of years. We took some time to try and re create the great photo we got at the beginning of the year. It isn’t quite perfect but not bad, you can really picture the vehicles stretching as far as the eye can see!
Hi everyone, Just to keep you updated, for the time being we will be having a new post go live on the blog every other Thursday at 06:00 GMT. The first one is this week, we hope you enjoy them and If you are interested in seeing more or a specific thing then you are always welcome “contact us”.