100 Years On: First West of England Commemorates Armistice in Centenary Service
First West of England today commemorated the centenary of the First World War armistice with a remembrance service attended by over 200 people at its Lawrence Hill bus depot in Bristol.
First West of England has held the remembrance service for many years, but this year was particularly poignant as the company reflected on those 189 staff from the then Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company who lost their lives in World War One. The service was led by Rev. Philip Auden and a double-decker Bristol K-type bus from 1940 was kindly provided by Bristol Vintage Bus Group, alongside a brand new Metrobus. The plaque at the depot also commemorates the 69 men and women who lost their lives fighting in World War Two.
James Freeman, managing director of First West of England, said: “As quite a few of our Bristol staff are ex-servicemen and servicewomen, this is always a very important event in our calendar. This year was even more special as we particularly reflected on the Armistice 100 years ago and those who lost their lives during World War One.”
As well as fitting giant poppies to many of its buses, the company is offering free bus rides on Sunday to everyone wearing a poppy. The company has also donated £1475 to the Poppy Appeal as well as raising money through selling poppies in its travel shops.
Brian Craigie, a retired First West of England inspector - who’d also worked as a driver and conductor - worked for 46 years on the buses. He was at the service and wore his grandfather and father’s medals from both World Wars. Mr Craigie, 70, said: “It’s so important that we show respect to those who fought and gave their lives in war. It’s great that First West of England is doing all these things to help people remember – especially the poppies on the buses. It was nice to go to the service and meet up with former colleagues as well as see one of the buses from the past.”