Mechanised Transport Corps

Mechanised Transport Corps

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

The MTC was founded in 1939 by Mrs G. M. Cooke CBE as a women's voluntary civilian organisation. It was eventually recognised by the Ministry of War Transport and its members were conscripted and received pay.

Women who served with the MTC were awarded one MBE, two BEMs, nine Croix de Guerre, ten Medailles Coloniale, a Certificate for Gallantry, and mentions in despatches.

The best-known members were the women who volunteered to drive ambulances in France and became known as the "Spearettes". Their endeavours were held in high esteem 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.

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