The American Red Cross began with the establishment of service clubs in London and in places near where barracks were located. Aeroclubs were established on air bases. Here soldiers were able to access refreshments and entertainment during breaks.

However, what was really needed was a service club 'on wheels', which would reach the soldiers outside the barracks on exercise. or those working at air fields. The prominent New York banker Harvey D. Gibson, who had been sent as a Red Cross commissioner to London, came up with the idea of a Clubmobile.

The British Clubmobile was a converted London Greenline bus from the AEC brand and this could easily be used to reach air fields and camps. These buses were available because the Greenline company had suspended its bus service during the war. The driver was British and three American girls were assigned to each Clubmobile.

The American Red Cross Clubmobiles began their work in Britain in the autumn of 1942. A total of 55 buses were eventually converted into Clubmobiles.

Each Clubmobile was equipped with a kitchen and a built-in donut machine. A primus stove was installed to heat water for coffee, and this was stored in a 50-cup urn. To the left of the kitchen there was a counter: this served a hatch from which the coffee and donuts could be served. Clubmobiles also offered (free) gum, cigarettes, magazines and newspapers.

At the back of the bus was a 'lounge' with built-in sofas on either side, which if necessary could be easily converted into a sleeping bunks. There was a Victrola record player with speakers, a large selection of up-to-date 75-rpm records and paperbacks. The arrival of a Clubmobile was announced by music blaring from integrated speakers on board.

The London Greenline bus brand AEC Regal type 10T10
Source: Collection Peter Zabek

the Greenline bus converted to American Red Cross Club Mobile
Source: Collection Peter Zabek

Interior of a Clubmobile Source
Source: -

Dressed in RAF blue battledresses the ARC 'girls' are handing out coffee and donuts.
Source: Public domain / US Signal Corps/ Collection Arie Jan van Hees

Clubmobiles at an airport in Norfolk and at an infantry exercise "somewhere in the field
Source: Public domain / US Signal Corps/ Collection Arie Jan van Hees

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

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