Illuminated Recruiting Tram

Based on the Halifax Courier Weekly : 26 September 1914, Page 2.

Image courtesy of David Greaves and Malcolm Bull’s Calderdale Companion ( )

A ‘novel recruiting campaign’ involving three ‘illuminated trams’ was organised by the ‘Civilian Recruiting Committee’ to conduct a recruiting tour of the Calder Valley from George Square in Halifax to Hebden Bridge.. This was to help with Lord Kitchener’s appeal for more men.

The Halifax Courier wrote :-

All were studied with fairy lamps gay with bunting and flashed appeals for service such as ‘serve your King’, ‘Your Country Needs You’ and ‘Now or Never’.

The first was a single decker and carried Lee Mount Band followed by a double decker with the recruiting committee and friends and the third was another single decker with the 1st Halifax Troop of Scouts. The tour began with a bugle call from the scouts and the band played ‘Red White and Blue’.

First stop was at Station Road Luddenden Foot where a ‘crown of over 1000 gathered and they cheered loudly’. The scouts obtained silence for speakers by bugle blasts. Alderman C.F.Spencer chairman of the Tramways Committee and also representing the Recruiting Committee delivered a brief ‘rousing’ address.

The chord he struck at each was the country’s need and the duty of patriotism, sounded in language readily grasped. Everywhere his words were well received. Colonel Thorold and Alderman Whiteley Thomson also spoke.

They closed with cheers for ‘the King , Colonel Thorold and the boys of Luddenden Foot’.

The next scheduled stop was Mytholmroyd but ‘trolly trouble’ caused them to stop at Brearley. A small crowd assembled and Ald Thomson seized the opportunity to ‘urge upon the young men among them to enlist’.

They eventually carried on to Mytholmroyd and stopped near Calder Bridge where a crowd of 2000 assembled. The speakers were joined by Mr C W Crossley.

They then proceeded to Hebden Bridge where an even bigger crowd of 3/4000 gathered.

The band played Rule Britannia and the speakers were joined by Mr G Holdsworth, Ccr Lightowler.

Not everywhere was sweetness and light. When it visited Brighouse a few days later Colonel Thorgold gave the locals a bit of a lashing.

In Brighouse they did not seem to think there was a war … He did not know what had come over Brighouse; They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

It seems that the idea of illuminated trams for recruitment was widespread. A look around the net has turned up a number of images from several places around the country (see below).

They can be found on the following links.

Leeds Photographic Archive (Leodis)