Mechanised Transport Corps

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Two MTC personnel pictured with an Air Raid Precautions (ARP) warden in London in 1940

The Mechanised Transport Corps (MTC), sometimes erroneously called the Motor Transport Corps, was a British women's organisation that initially provided its own transport and uniforms and operated during the Second World War. It was a civilian uniformed organisation that provided drivers for government departments and other agencies. Among other roles, members drove staff cars, including for foreign dignitaries whose drivers were not accustomed to driving on British roads, and ambulances in the Blitz.

History[edit]

The Mechanised Transport Training Corps (MTTC) was founded in 1939 by Mrs G. M. Cooke CBE as a women's voluntary civilian organisation. It was recognised by the Ministry of War Transport in 1940 and renamed the MTC, and its members were conscripted and received pay.

Various women who served with the MTC were awarded one MBE, two BEMs, nine Croix de guerre, ten Colonial Medals, a Certificate for Gallantry, and mentions in dispatches.

Some of the best-known members were the women who volunteered to drive ambulances in France at the beginning of the war as part of Hadfield-Spears Ambulance Unit and became known as the "Spearettes". Their endeavours were held in high esteem by the French and it is said that "petulant General de Gaulle peremptorily ordered the hospital to be disbanded because the crowds at the Paris Victory Parade dared to cheer: 'Vive Spears!'"

Groups from the MTC drove ambulances and other transport in Syria, Egypt, and Palestine, as well as driving SOE agents to airfields to board the planes that would parachute them into occupied France.

A notable MTC driver was Kay Summersby, General Eisenhower's driver, who subsequently claimed that she had had an affair with him.

Despite the appearance of the character Samantha Stewart in the television series Foyle's War there is no evidence that any MTC member was ever seconded to a police force.

Ranks of the Mechanised Transport Corps[edit]

Below is a chart of Mechanised Transport Corps ranks compared to the British Army.[1]

NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
United Kingdom Mechanised Transport Corps
No equivalent
Mechanised Transport Corps Captain.svg Mechanised Transport Corps Lieutenant.svg Mechanised Transport Corps Ensign.svg No equivalent
Corps Commandant Senior Commandant Commandant Commander Captain Lieutenant Ensign
United Kingdom British Army
(1938 – 1945)
Field Marshal General Lieutenant-General Major-General Brigadier Colonel Lieutenant-Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Cadet
Field Marshal General Lieutenant-General Major-General Brigadier Colonel Lieutenant-Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Cadet
NATO code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
United Kingdom Mechanised Transport Corps
No equivalent

No insignia
Company Cadet Officer Section Cadet Officer Cadet Officer Driver
United Kingdom British Army
(1938 – 1945)
British Army (1920-1953) OR-9b.svg British Army (1920-1953) OR-9a.svg British Army (1920-1953) OR-8.svg British Army (1920-1953) OR-7.svg British Army (1920-1953) OR-6.svg British Army (1920-1953) OR-4.svg No equivalent British Army (1920-1953) OR-3.svg British Army (1920-1953) OR-2.svg No insignia
Warrant Officer Class I Warrant Officer Class II Warrant Officer Class III Staff/Colour Sergeant Sergeant Corporal Lance Corporal Private
(or equivalent)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Collett Wadge, D (2003). Women in Uniform. ISBN 9781901623611.

External links[edit]