Free entry opening 7 July 2016
We are commemorating the centenary of the First World War with our ground-breaking new exhibition, Ambulance Trains.
We’re opening the exhibition on 7 July 2016, 100 years to day since the busiest day of ambulance train traffic the war ever saw, which occurred during the Battle of the Somme.
Inspired by years of painstaking research by our experts, the centrepiece of the exhibition is an historic railway carriage of the type that would have been converted for use in an ambulance train. It has been transformed, inside and out, to recreate the intense atmosphere on board these hospitals on wheels.
Until now, historians have overlooked the crucial role that ambulance trains played in the First World War, but research by our curators and archivists has gradually uncovered this neglected piece of history. The mass casualties of modern mechanised conflict necessitated evacuation of the injured on a scale never seen before. This simply could not have happened without the ambulance trains.
Additional reading and archive sources are available on our resources page.
We would also like to thank the following people for their generous support of this exhibition:
The families of ambulance train staff and passengers Edith Appleton, Paul Cadbury, Edmund Cooper, Albert Parker Dartnell, William Duncan, Hubert Dunning, Catherine Elston, Leonard Folwell, Kate Luard, Sir Oliver Lyle, Alfred Pope-Russell, Lancelot Turnbull and Owen Willis.
The Scott family
Army Medical Services Museum
Imperial War Museum
Leeds University Library
Living Archive, Milton Keynes
The Canadian Letters and Images Project
Professor Christine Hallett
Dr Jessica Meyer
Dr David Omissi
Dr Brian Robertson
This exhibition is a culmination of years of work, and it is incredibly gratifying to give these trains and their passengers the twenty-first century prominence they deserve.
– Alison Kay, Archivist National Railway Museum