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Way-homes on London red buses are for taking it easy. These stop and start trips allow time for reading the paper, and, if sitting upstairs, the view of a London evening on its way into darkness is the best in the world! But, passengers to Dulwich in South London got more than they paid for a long time ago. While riding home for their suppers one late afternoon, they not only flew, but made headlines as well!
It was the 30th of December, the last working day of 1952. Albert Gunter had just steered his number 78 double decker bus onto London's world famous Tower Bridge. All of a sudden, he felt his bus going-up! The arm of the bridge on which he was driving was rising! And, it looked as though his bus was about to make history. The first ever London bus to fly off a bridge and sink in the Thames! But, Albert Gunter knew what to do. He went into action.
Automatically, Albert Gunter dropped down in gear and put his foot on the gas. His bus needed speed. He only had seconds. The gap between the two arms of the bridge was getting bigger and bigger as each second passed. His bus had to fly over the gap or crash into the river. Faster and faster he drove. He had no other choice. There was no going back! And, Albert Gunter succeeded. His bus took off and flew for just a few seconds. And, that was enough.
Down came the bus with a bang! It was loud. The passengers and seats were thrown about as the bus came to a stop on the other arm of the bridge. And, thankfully, only one or two minor injuries. But, that wasn't the end of the story.
Albert Gunter was decorated for bravery by the Queen. He had saved the lives of his passenger's. And, by-the-way, that was the first ever medal that Queen Elizabeth the Second awarded. A medal, not only for bravery, but also for flying a bus. And, all London joined in with its praise and its thanks. And, Albert Gunter was made London's 1952 man of the year. And, that was good so. Albert Gunter had not only saved the lives of 63 people, he had given them a story to take home as well. The day they flew home in a bus!
Albert Gunter and a very hard landing. An incredible story. London 1952.