One of the amazing aspects in the lives of the 1930's Austin London taxis was their participation in the war effort during WWII. Though most of the early to mid 1930s taxis were well ready to be retired from the streets of London by 1939 (some having driven up to 1,000,000 miles each) many of the fleet were actually recruited instead into the Auxiliary Fire Brigade to tow water tanks. Why? Because no one knew the roads of London better than the cabbies, and more often than not, the first vehicles to arrive on the scene of a German bomb blast, were taxi cabs.

In this vintage Movietone clip from 1939, we see a bit of 'reassurance propaganda'. The Auxiliary Fire Service is putting on a parade in Hyde Park, and the Duke and Duchess of Kent are there to watch. Later in the clip (at 29 seconds), we see a fleet of Ausin taxis (just like Alfred's) towing their water tanks and pumps, demonstrating their readiness for action.

We don't know yet if Alfred's taxi saw any action during the war, but we intend to find out.