Recruits on Epsom Station, c.1914 SHC ref PH/58/197

Recruits on Epsom Station, c.1914
SHC ref PH/58/197

The war had an enormous impact on all forms of transport as the infrastructure of roads and railways was required to ferry soldiers to camp and the front, wounded men to hospital and war goods to where they were needed.

In the first month of the war trains to Southampton conveyed more than 118,000 army personnel, 37,000 horses, 314 guns, 5,200 vehicles, 1,800 bicycles and more than 4,500 tons of baggage.  The War Office took control of the railway network and passenger services were reduced and some suspended.  In Surrey the lines around Aldershot were commandeered for military use and the Tonbridge to Reading line, via Redhill, was in heavy demand for the transportation of troops, ambulance trains, stores and ammunition, including cordite paste to the gunpowder works at Chilworth.  Completed aircraft manufactured by Vickers at Brooklands and Martinsyde at Woking, were carried away by train, and aircraft for testing were conveyed to the Aircraft Acceptance Park at Kenley.  Dennis Bros Ltd had its own private siding at Guildford which it used for the carriage of its war production.

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