Clubmobiles in the wake of the invasion

When it became clear that an invasion of the American army on the European continent was imminent, it was decided to convert a 2.5-ton GMC truck to Club Mobile. The converted Greenline buses were unsuitable for the conditions that one might encounter on the mainland.

The new Clubmobiles were equipped with a kitchen whch provided coffee, a donut machine etc. Nearly 100 were produced. This time no British driver went with it: the Red Cross girls who had worked on the larger Clubmobiles in Britain taught themselves to drive the truck and were able to maintain them.

After the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) ten Clubmobile Groups (each with specific letter were sent to the mainland and added to the various army corps. They would follow the troops. Clubmobile Group A landed on 16 July 1944 as the first one, on Utah Beach.

A Clubmobile Group consisted of 32 girls, 8 Clubmobiles, a Cinemobile (mobile cinema), three supply trucks, two British Hillman pick-up trucks and a jeep for the team leader.

Clubmobiles traveled in the rear and handed out coffee, donuts, cigarettes and chewing gum to soldiers returning from the front line. The Clubmobile Groups followed the march through France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands until the end of the war in Germany.

Every Clubmobile was equipped with a small kitchen, which had a donut machine, coffee urns and other supplies. in addition to coffee and donuts, soldiers could also get (free) gum, cigarettes, magazines and newspapers.

The main attraction of a Clubmobile, however, were the three Red Cross 'girls'. They were the real stars. Once they arrived at a place, you could soon smell hot coffee and donuts, followed by a hint of perfume, a little lipstick, a smile and a cheery "Hello soldier, where you from?"

A Clubmobile girl wrote after the war: "Donuts and coffee were our 'props'. A chat or a dance with one of the girls was a welcome distraction from the fighting for the soldiers."

Involved: Dorothy Jane Burdge was as an 'American Red Cross Girl', she served on a Clubmobile.

Clubmobile vehicles moblized before leaving for Normandy
Source: Collectie Jerry Waller

The Cinemobile vehicle built on the chassis of a Dodge truck
Source: Collectie Jerry Waller

Three ARC called 'girls' in their vehicle
Source: Collectie Corporal J.E. Watson / Flickr / Janice Bernard

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