Alan Willis interviewed by Alison Kay

2014-11-13 in National Railway Museum

Oral history interview with Alan Willis conducted and recorded by Alison Kay on 13 November 2014, at the National Railway Museum. Duration: 31 minutes. Alan Willis’ father was George Owen Willis (GW), born in Bromwich, Midlands in 1896, who was a train ambulance employee in World War 1. He worked on British trains only and not on trains on the continent. Alan Willis (AW) recounts the work of his father on ambulance trains. Childhood and family background of George Willis. How GW joined the war efforts in the ambulances, Royal Army Medical Core; photographs taken by GW; how GW recounted working on ambulance train to AW; work of GW on ambulance trains, how wounded were loaded on ambulance trains at Dover; relationships and socialisation with others on the ambulance trains; air raids impact on ambulance train, more risks in Dover; GW being promoted to Sargent; no death on board the train; how they dealt with infectious diseases, barrier nursing; shell shocked soldiers; medical orderlies on trains, nurses; how serious and less serious cases were placed on board of train; operations likely done on continental trains, not on UK ambulance trains; living on board the train; how GW met is future wife; after the war, GW career at health department Bournemouth, barrier nursing; whether GW kept in touch with people met on ambulance train, meeting Wilfred Owen; what AW remembers of a book of messages and drawings from ambulance trains patients and colleagues which has been lost

Oral history recording made as part of the research for the Ambulance Trains exhibition opened at the NRM in July 2016.


Corporate Archive
Object Number:
oral history interview