The R.A.F. Welfare Bus Service was a project started (1946-ish) by H.Q. 205 Group, (Transport Command, to run off-duty people to off-camp relaxation areas.
The service began around 1946, with a fleet of converted Chevrolet troopers, working out of a hangar on R.A.F. Abyad. The Chevs were replaced over time with Dodge troopers – converted into ‘buses by ditching the canvas tilt and its hoops, replacing with a wooden passenger
cover and replacing the benches with forward-facing individual seats. Oh, and finishing in fleet colours, royal blue below, white above.
In mid-1953 the R.A.F.W.B.S. guv’nor, Flt.Lt. A.J. Putt, (D.S.O., D.F.C.) learned of a cache of buckshee Dodge spares at R.A.F. el Firdan, and organised with 109 M.U. M.T. to collect them. I didn’t go on the trip, so sadly I only have these few pictures, which I took of the unloading, at the ‘bus service hangar.
I’ve also included;
“109 Water Bowser” – to show one use of the tilt-hoops – surrounding our garden of desert sand. A 109 M.U.
Bowser is delivering “sweet water”– in our day, liquid s**t.
“Assorted RAFWBS” – included because the guy posing as driver in the Morris coach is also driving the crane in “Dodge Engine”.
drivers, conductors and mechanics were local civilians, managed by a small R.A.F. staff, hence “posing”. He could have driven it with one eye open, but wasn’t one of ours.
“Bedford by Canal Road” – no idea which unit owned this vehicle. I just happened to be there.
“Trinder + CABS”. See below.
The bus service was strictly a P.S.I. type operation, separate from the R.A.F. and run like a private company, even to having its own books of account. The army ran a similar service – the Canal Army Bus Service (CABS for short). They were a great gang, as witness “Trinder + CABS”.