The industry pays its respects to the fallen

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Once again the industry has stood together to remember the fallen by applying poppies or full wraps to fleets across the UK. CBW looks at some of the coaches and buses decorated for 2022

Poppies represent all those who lost their lives on active service, from the beginning of the First World War right up to present day. The symbol also honours the contribution of civilian services and the uniformed services which contribute to national peace and security, and acknowledges innocent civilians who have lost their lives in conflict and acts of terrorism. This year’s Poppy Appeal took place from Thursday 27 October until Remembrance Sunday on 13 November, and many operators from across the UK chose to take part in a number of ways.



Arriva offered free bus travel to past and present members of the armed forces on its services throughout the country on Sunday 13 November. As a mark of respect on Remembrance Sunday, serving personnel, both regular and reservists, as well as veterans and cadets were allowed free travel on Arriva services all day.

Chris Burley, Commercial Director for Arriva South, said: “As a business, we’re proud to support the Royal British Legion, and our drivers were also able to pull over to partake in the two-minute silence at 11am on both Friday 11 and Sunday 13 November, providing it was safe and legal to do so.”






From left: Paul Anderson, Mick Connor, Tony O’Connor, Robert Sawyers, William David Greene in the new memorial garden at First’s Caledonia depot. FIRST

First Glasgow

First Glasgow has unveiled a new war memorial garden at its Caledonia depot, paying tribute to the city’s former tram operators who lost their lives in the First World War. Unveiled shortly before Remembrance Day, the garden features four memorials including a freestanding monument dedicated to workers from the city’s Whitevale tram depot, surrounded by three plaques in memory of workers from the city’s Newlands, Dennistoun and Langside depots.


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All four memorials are originally from Glasgow’s tram depots, which supported the operation of one of the largest tram networks in Britain at the time of the First World War. The first motorbuses were introduced in Glasgow in 1924 and gradually replaced trams until 1962, when the last Glasgow tram service operated.

The project, which was funded jointly by First Glasgow and the depot’s Unite union members, has been a key focus for teams across the depot. Tony O’Connor, Depot Operations Manager at Caledonia, said: “As the legacy operator of Glasgow’s bus network, we are proud to continue to pay tribute to those that paid the ultimate price during the First World War. While awaiting the construction of the new garden which is accessible to the public from Cathcart Road, we worked closely with specialists to ensure the memorials were looked after in the correct way and were carefully restored ahead of their unveiling today. It is therefore fitting that the memorial garden gives our colleagues, their families and members of the public the opportunity to pay their own respects for generations to come.”

William David Greene, who spent eight years with the Royal Highland Fusiliers and later spent time serving with MPGS before joining First Bus as a driver, said: “I’m very proud that First Glasgow has provided the memorial garden, as it gives us a focal point to remember those who paid the ultimate price. Each name on the memorial is a person and there’s a story behind every one of those names. It’s therefore fitting that the memorial garden gives colleagues and the public somewhere to pay their respects to our fallen comrades for generations to come.”


Lothian Buses

Lothian Buses renewed its partnership with Poppy Scotland, marked by the unveiling of a brand-new poppy bus at an event on Edinburgh’s Waverley Bridge on Thursday 3 November. Poppy Scotland is reliant on the generosity of the public to fund its work for the armed forces community in Scotland, and the Scottish Poppy Appeal is Scotland’s largest fundraising campaign, taking place every year in the lead up to Remembrance Sunday.

Communications Director at Lothian Buses Gaynor Marshall said: “We’re proud to continue to raise awareness of the work of Poppy Scotland through our specially designed ‘poppy bus.’

“At Lothian we pride ourselves on employing many colleagues across our business who currently serve in the reserves or are ex-armed forces personnel, and the Poppy Scotland appeal is particularly close to the hearts and minds of both our colleagues and our customers. We hope that our activities across the month of November, along with this year’s poppy bus, will help raise vital funds for and highlight the work of this great charity, allowing it to continue to support the armed forces community across Scotland.”

Lothian drivers who have served in the armed forces were also invited to wear their veterans’ tie while on duty as a mark of respect, whilst ex-armed forces personnel are also able to enjoy a free hot drink from Lothian Buses’ CoffeeHub at Shandwick Place up to 11am every day throughout November.


National Express

National Express has continued its support for the Royal British Legion with its Poppy Appeal. This year, the Birmingham-based company sent three coaches to RAF Cosford to help transport cadets to Birmingham city centre to join in the fundraising event. Fundraising efforts are also taking place across the operator’s national network with a poppy collection at Manchester coach station, and red poppy vinyls applied to National Express’ entire coach fleet to help raise further awareness.

In 2012, National Express was the first company in the UK to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant, supporting the armed forces with career opportunities and offering PCV driving licence training and travel discounts for serving personnel and their families. The coach operator has since gone on to raise £72,186 via fundraising initiatives and donations from customers.

Managing Director of National Express UK Coach Chris Hardy said: “Armed forces personnel and their families do a great service to this country. It is right that companies like ours do what we can to help them. So we are very pleased to have been able to support the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Day. National Express employs many ex-services members and current reservists – at this time of year especially, we want to recognise the significant contribution they make to our company and the country.”


Reading Buses

Reading Buses offered free bus travel for past and present members of the armed forces, with military personnel allowed to travel for free on Armistice Day on Friday 11 November, and Remembrance Sunday on 13 November, as a mark of respect for serving and ex-personnel, veterans, and cadets.

Free travel was also available to any member of the military who was in full uniform when boarding a service, or to those who showed a veteran’s badge or military medal. Said Robert Williams, Chief Executive Officer of Reading Buses: “With remembrance services planned at memorials across the Thames Valley, it is hoped that people wishing to pay their respects will take up the offer to travel for free to the service of their choice. We have also added poppies onto some of our buses and onto our ticket header as a mark of respect.”



Stagecoach Manchester

Stagecoach Manchester launched a special livery Armed Forces Covenant bus in the run up to this year’s Remembrance Day, showing its support to active service personnel and veterans in the Greater Manchester area.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly. Stagecoach recently received a Bronze Employer Recognition Award from the covenant, recognising it as an employer that actively supports defence personnel and veterans. Stagecoach also pledges to give free travel to military and ex-military personnel on key dates, including Remembrance and Armed Forces Days, following a decision from its recently established Veteran Employee Network. The network has been involved in numerous improvements and changes throughout the company, such as revising its reservist policy to better support employees, attending career transition partnership events and attracting service leavers direct from resettlement programmes.

Stagecoach Veterans Network spokesperson Kathryn McInnes, based at Sharston depot in Manchester, commented: “This new livery is a clear message of support to all military personnel and veterans. Stagecoach is a forces-friendly employer and I’m proud to be part of the Stagecoach Veterans Network which works to ensure support for service people within the business, and to create safe spaces for them to share their stories and openly discuss any concerns or issues they may have.”

The specially liveried bus is one of a limited number across the UK to be branded in support of the Armed Forces Covenant and will operate around the Greater Manchester area. Lee Wasnidge, Managing Director of Stagecoach Manchester, added: “This new livery honours the brave service of people both within our business and the communities we serve. As a business, we are also working towards achieving the Armed Forces Covenant Gold Employer Recognition Award and will continue to support the armed forces and veterans however we can throughout Greater Manchester.”



Stagecoach South

Stagecoach South has unveiled a special ‘poppy bus’ at its Andover depot. The themed bus was launched to support the Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal and will be used mainly on the operator’s Activ8 service between Andover and Salisbury, serving the garrison town of Tidworth as well as Ludgershall and Amesbury.

Stagecoach Operations Manager for Andover Mark Jackson said: “I’m delighted that we have chosen to dedicate one of our buses, designed in partnership with the Royal British Legion, to support the annual Poppy Appeal. Like many businesses, we employ a number of staff who are former service personnel, so we are extremely proud to unveil these poppy buses to help raise awareness to remember and support the armed forces community past and present.”





Joel Mitchell, Stagecoach South East’s Managing Director, and Royal British Legion’s Community Fundraiser Charlotte Robinson with the 2022 poppy bus in Folkestone. STAGECOACH SOUTH EAST

Stagecoach South East

Stagecoach South East has also unveiled a specially decorated bus in collaboration with the Royal British Legion. The bus is currently in service on routes operated from the company’s Folkestone depot, with plans for it to be used at other depots across the South East for the next year.

Stagecoach South East’s Managing Director Joel Mitchell said: “This is a cause that is incredibly close to our communities and colleagues’ hearts and we’re thrilled to have worked closely with Royal British Legion on this as it launches the Poppy Appeal.”

Charlotte Robinson, a community fundraiser for the Royal British Legion in East Kent, added: “It’s great to have a partnership like this, so that the community in Kent and East Sussex can so clearly see the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal has launched once again and remind them that we’re always here for them.”





Terry Wood, President of the Royal British Legion (left); veterans Brian Whittaker and John Mainland; and Transdev engineers Patrick Mclaughlin and Stephen Buckley (right). TRANSDEV


North of England operator Transdev made its own ‘moving’ tribute to the fallen as part of this year’s remembrance events. The company’s buses across the North were adorned with large commemorative poppies to encourage the thousands of customers who travel on its routes each day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

The poppies were displayed with pride on the front of Transdev buses on routes covering hundreds of miles across the north of England, from Preston and Manchester in the west to the Yorkshire coastline in the east. The operator also provideded free travel on Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday.

Transdev CEO Alex Hornby said: “With financial challenges currently affecting many veterans and their families in the communities we serve, it’s more important than ever that we continue our support for the excellent work done by the Royal British Legion. We hope that by prominently showing our support for the Poppy Appeal on our buses, many of our customers will join us in contributing to this excellent cause.

“We want to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom, and to support those living with the impact of conflict today. All our teams at our depots across the North are supporting us with this.”

Transdev said that as a highly visible symbol of remembrance, its bus poppies would help to encourage its customers to buy and wear their own poppies with pride.


Transport for London

Customers using Transport for London (TfL) services were able to spot specially designed poppy roundels at 20 Underground, Overground and bus stations across the TfL network to mark the 2022 remembrance period. Poppy vinyls featured on all Underground, Overground, DLR and tram vehicles, plus Elizabeth line trains for the first time. Poppy flags were flown at TfL piers, and giant poppies wrapped around selected London buses.

TfL has been working with Royal British Legion (RBL) for 10 years, and once again supported its annual Poppy Appeal to help raise money to provide life-long support to the armed forces community. All London stations fell silent at 1100hrs on 11 November to honour the sacrifices of the armed forces community past and present. On Remembrance Sunday, members of the London Transport Old Comrades Association once again took part in the National Service of Remembrance and RBL’s annual march past the Cenotaph.

Fundraising lead at the Royal British Legion Andy Taylor-Whyte said: “We are extremely grateful for TfL’s fantastic support of the RBL’s Poppy Appeal each year. From the poppy roundels at stations to welcoming the hundreds of armed forces collectors who’ll be out across the network for this year’s London Poppy Day, we hope that commuters can help us raise as much as possible on this, our biggest fundraising day of the appeal.

“Thanks to TfL, Londoners can show that they care and that the service and sacrifice of serving personnel, veterans and their families will never be forgotten. We would like to say a huge thank you to all TfL staff and customers whose generosity enables us to continue providing vital support to those who protect us despite never having met us.”

The poppy roundels at Tube and bus stations were made by family business AJ Wells & Sons, which is based on the Isle of Wight, which has been making roundels for TfL for more than three decades, including for the recently opened Elizabeth line.

Readers’ photo gallery

Martin Pengilley, a coach driver at Telford-based Elcock Reisen, sent in a photo of one of 13 Mercedes-Benz Tourismo Access coaches recently delivered to the company. It is seen sporting a customised ‘lest we forget’ destination display.
Jonathan Eaves sent a photo of his allocated coach at Manchester-based Orion Travel. Yutong GT12 OT71 BUS is seen taking a break from its normal megabus duties at St Leonard’s Gate coach park, Lancaster on a private hire, sporting a custom destination display and large poppy.
Lyn McC sent this picture of three First Bus Wrightbus double-deckers wearing poppies at Leeds bus station.
Stagecoach West’s Adam Harber captured this autumnal picture of ‘Bus-Lightyear’ sporting a vinyl poppy at Cheltenham bus station.