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USA S160 2-8-0 locomotive No. 1606 coupled to an ambulance train, 1942
Once the USA joined the war following the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941 the GWR became involved in the provision of rolling stock for use by the American Army. As preparations for D Day progressed, the US requested that 10 ambulance trains be provided for the conveyance of American casualties. This image shows the official handing over of the first of these trains in a ceremony held at Swindon Works on the 24th March 1943. The 14 coach train was aptly hauled by USA S160 2-8-0 locomotive No. 1606 and comprised of six ward cars, kitchen cars, a pharmacy and operating theatre, and carriages for staff. The handover was performed by GWR Chief Mechanical Engineer F.W Hawksworth, stood to the right of the group of uniformed American Officers, and the occasion was considered noteworthy enough for the attendance of a newsreel camera which can just be seen to the far right of this photograph.