Extract from Red Cross report

The Report of the Joint War Committee of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John of Jerusalem 1914-1919

The report was published by HSMO (His Majesty’s Stationary Office) in 1921 and the following is an extract from Appendix VI – page 694 – paragraph 24.

24. Special reference must be made to the Transport duties which were undertaken in several counties, ambulance columns being formed for the removal of sick and wounded from trains to hospitals, and for similar purposes. Berkshire, Norfolk, East Lancashire to mention only a few, had very efficient Motor Ambulance Service, but the City of London accomplished a work in this particular, which was a model of Red Cross efficiency, for to it was entrusted the work of carrying the wounded to all hospitals in the London area. Mr and Mrs Lancelot Dent belongs the main credit of originating the plan, and when they retired in 1917 after three strenuous years, the London Ambulance Column was a highly efficient unit. They were succeeded by Messrs Symons and Crothers as Deputy Directors, while Miss Byron was placed in charge of the Women members.

The Ambulance Column had an average personnel of 600. The fleet of ambulances and cars was most generously placed at the disposal of the Branch free of cost by certain great business and commercial institutions, such as the Baltic, Lloyd’s, the Stock Exchange, the Coal Exchange, The Rubber & Tea Exchange, etc., etc., the value of the vehicles lent or given being estimated at £135,000 while many of the personnel were drawn from the Prudential, the Commercial Union, and the Pearl Assurance Companies, as well as from Messrs Selfridge’s.. The London Ambulance Column met a hospital train at Waterloo on August 13th 19141 and at the end of the war had carried 736,722 cases

All through its career the Ambulance Column worked in the closest connection with the Military Authorities of the London District, performing a service which was beyond all praise, and as the General Officer Commanding London District expressed it at the closing ceremony “all the better done from the fact that it was performed by a voluntary organisation”.


  1. For the accuracy of this date, see the history of the Column elsewhere on this site