The Ambulance

Old Ambulance picture

The  Ambulance all dressed up for the Rag Parade 1968

The WWII Ambulance.

I mentioned in my last blog the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides anonymously acquired an unlicensed WW II ambulance.  It was used in all sorts of ways as development of Echo Park began with the transportation of used bricks from a derelict building at the Piper Moss Mine which had also seen better days.

The WWII Ambulance

The Ambulance was a monster that drew one into WWII in the desert.  The whole vehicle shook the passengers sitting high up in the air with their attention focused on the sound of the engine as it sped up.  At just the right moment a double declutch would have to be effected so the primitive gears didn’t crash.

Mrs Elaine Tyzack, Dad’s nurse at Stanley House, was one of the few people who could be relied on to cope with all the foibles of the ambulance.  She came from solid pioneer stock.  On the weekends, she donned her blue uniform, hiked up into the drivers seat and took control of the wheel with both hands.

The ambulance was painted down the length of it half blue and half green with the corresponding emblems to show joint ownership of it by the scouts and guides.  It had no front doors, wooden floors and the windscreen lifted to allow air flow.  After hauling bricks, logs, tiles and pipes to build Echo Park Lodge, it was used to transport Cubs, Brownies, Scouts and Guides of all races to the park and on trips further afield.  John Nee, as a young Cub, remembers there was a ‘jump seat’ between the two front seats. On camping or bushcraft trips a Scout or Guide was chosen to sit in the ‘jump seat’ to open and close farm gates, which were all too numerous.  It was a great honor.   Seat belts were unheard of, of course.  Mr. Skip Morrison, a garage owner, drove the ambulance for the Scouts.  His wife, Mary was Akela for the Cubs for many years.

The ambulance was entered in the 1968 Rag Parade.  Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brownies all took a hand in covering the ambulance and painting it to look like the newly completed log cabin at Echo Park. It was a winner.

The ambulance and its drivers were much loved by all.

4 Comments

  • Chris Duckworth

    Reply Reply September 3, 2011

    Delicious Diana… Delicious…

  • betty

    Reply Reply September 4, 2011

    How fun! I am sure it was a rattle-trap, but I can just hear all the scout songs, sung over the noise of the engine, and see all the sweat and grime that that collected in the folds of your little necks. I had wondered what those little plusses were on the side of the bus (red crosses)….but no, pioneer windows in the log cabin walls…too cute.! You guys truly had wonderful adventures every day of your lives….so nice that you are sharing these rematrkable stories …….growing up in early Houston was really fun and full of great times, but nothing like your experiences. I am sure the bus caused many a bump on the head and you felt like popping corn on the bups in the road!

    • Diana

      Reply Reply September 5, 2011

      Betty, so lovely to have a comment from you again. Now that you are settled in your dream house you should write those Houston 50’s memoirs too. You are such a great writer yourself. yes, the memories get sweeter with the years. (Must be getting old!)

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