Wow, tough for that T and those men for sure.
The first force to leave New Zealand for Europe on the outbreak of war in 1914 comprised 8,500 men, 4,000 horses and 20 motor vehicles.
All 20 motor vehicles were Fords.
Here is a little extract from my book...
Wellington’s Evening Post clearly believed the Defence Force’s choice of car was the right one. “The Fords, with their lightness and strength, simplicity and interchangeability of parts, should have a reasonable percentage of survivors. Two dead Fords are not necessarily useless – they may quite well be taken to pieces and made to produce a live one.”
As is well known, Henry Ford was very much against the war in the beginning, but when he realised the participation of the U.S. was inevitable he quickly threw his full industrial weight into the effort and many thousands of 'Flivvers' were to be found in all kinds of guises on all fronts all over the world, from Flanders Fields to the deserts of Egypt and Libia !
I suppose six months of service for a T beats the average two weeks for a jeep.
The Ts probably lasted longer because there was not a chapter in the T manual on how to destroy it like in the jeep manual.
Or the Minneapolis-Moline war manual telling about a pointed iron shaft to be driven thru the cylinders among other things. Poor buggers.
No disrespect intended.
Very interesting pic Herb.
I read somewhere that Jeeps in WWII had an average lifespan of 90 days.
Either that ambulance body shrunk up due to the rain or it was meant to serve a division of midgets. Perhaps it was used to collect wounded who no longer had lower extremities.
Here is how the typical ambulance looked:
It might not actually be an ambulance as it surely doesn't resemble Terry's pic at all. Totally different body. Can only make out what appears to be an "S" next to the guy's head so no help for me there. Thought at first glance it was being stripped for parts but maybe it's a repair job. As to the driver: first impression is female. Hair style, pose, slightly clenched waist, something about the lower legs in those boots... Guessing.
There's more than one difference between the ambulances used by the American Field Service (a volunteer unit) which were built by a Paris Coachbuilder (Kellner)
And the ones used by the US Army, which were built by Ford
But yes, there seems to be more than one thing missing !
The picture Herb posted may have been from this postcard on eBay. All the back of the card says is "90th Div".
Here is an old news article.
The Babcock company also sent a team of employees overseas to assemble the ambulance bodies.
The Watertown Daily Times
Wednesday Afternoon, June 5, 1918 or 1919
Ambulance Job Near Finish
Government Contract at Babcock Plant
Sometime during July the H. H. Babcock Company will complete the last of the ambulance bodies being manufactured for the government, the order for which was secured by the concern about a year ago. As soon as this order has been finished the company will start work on a large order for ambulance bodies of a new design for the American Red Cross. These bodies will be similar to those built for the government, but several changes have been made in the design with a view to improving them. It is not known just how many bodies the order calls, for, but it is expected that it will keep the plant operating at capacity for a period of several months.
The company is also doing a substantial business in the building of stretchers for the government. Officials of the company expect that the present orders for stretchers will not be filled before fall.
In addition to the war material which is being manufactured by the company, it is doing a large business in various types of motor truck bodies. Shipments of these bodies are being made daily and orders are received as fast as they are filled. The Babcock bodies are being sent to all sections of the country and are fast building up a reputation for the local concern. These bodies are made in different designs from a three ton truck to a one-half ton truck. In addition to trucks for commercial use the firm is making motor hearse bodies and finds that a large business in this line is being developed.
Since the motor bus body now being used on the lines of the Watertown Transportation Company was built, the company has secured orders for six similar bodies which will be turned out in the near future. In commenting on this branch of the business H. H. Babcock, president of the company, said today that he was glad of the opportunity of placing the first body of this type on the local line as it will make it possible to ascertain just how it stands up under the varied conditions.
Mr. Babcock said that since the government has advocated the use of motor trucks as a means of transportation to relieve congested rail conditions there has been a considerable increase in the demand for truck bodies.
MECHANICS REPAIR SHOP DETACHMENT, ITALY
This organization consisted of selected men from ambulance sections at Camp Crane and was made up of men detached from Headquarters. They were divided into two groups, mostly mechanics, one being sent for special training to the GMC plant at Pontiac, Michigan, and the other the Babcock Boche Plant at Watertown, New York. The D.M.D. was placed in charge of Captain Robert L. Harper. They went direct to Hoboken from their separate instruction plants, and then aboard the Leviathan which sailed on May 22, 1918. Colonel Persons, Lt. Colonel Franklin, Captain Harper, Captain Sexsmith and Lt. Adolph Caruso, as an interpreter, with a selected group of men from Allentown Headquarters, made up this contingent.
They arrived at Brest, France, and while Colonel Persons and Lt. Col. Franklin went to Paris, the other officers and men went to a large camp outside of Brest for about 8 days. They then went by train to Genoa, Italy, arriving there several weeks ahead of the main Italian Contingent. They were the first Americans to arrive in Italy, and set about preparing the camp site at the Lido. They then unloaded the 10,000 ton collier S.S. Plymouth which had brought over most of the rolling stock and supplies.
Their base was later moved up to Castelfranco with the MSTU 355 Unit, and kept the ambulances and trucks in good working condition during the great offensive which started late in October. These units were awarded the Italian War Cross for their efficient service.
An early Ad.
The original photo is of a cut down M1917 Ford ambulance. It is likely that it served as a supply vehicle for another branch rather than with the Medical Department.
The Babcock bodies were mostly built for the GMC model 16 chassis, although I do have a photo taken in 1917 showing a few Fords at Allentown with what looks like Babcock bodies.
There are numerous stories by the the drivers about the Model T Ford and its service as an ambulance during the first world war.
Here is one from a Canadian Ambulance driver. Makes what we do driving our cars now seem insignificant.
Gustaf, please post that photo.
Sorry for the delay, I could not remember which file the photo was in and then my scanner is on the blink.
I would say that those ambulances in the Allentown photograph are "Form-a-Truck" on a car chassis. Note the splash shields and large solid 14 spoke rear wheels , it also looks longer than a normal car chassis.
Good points Peter, I have not seen another photo of these cars yet, and this one is not the best.
Terry and Charlie B, yes it could be a female driver. There were quite a few British women who drove, one even drove on the Eastern Front with the Russians. An American socialite from Long Island also drove, and I remember reading that she had to get a new T as her first one was destroyed in combat.