One of my favourite London films is Brannigan, starring John Wayne as a Chicago detective. It is as if Visit London had commissioned Paul Greengrass to direct a travel documentary aimed at American tourists.

Fast paced it has The Duke pursuing villains around London with each shot featuring a tourist destination with an ability to cross the capital at speed is impressive.

One minute he’s in Battersea (Prince of Wales Drive), next Buckingham Palace appears behind his shoulder as he tears around London.

Driving a 1973 Ford Capri John Wayne leaps over an opening Tower Bridge in pursuit of justice. This could be just a figment of the writer’s imagination if the incident hadn’t happened before at this iconic bridge.

On 30th December 1952 Albert Gunter, driving a red Route 78 Routemaster (for geeks stock number RT793, registration plate JXC 156) across Tower Bridge. The relief gateman failed to ring the warning bell and close the traffic gates.

Near the edge of the south bascule as the lift started, Albert, a veteran fire engine driver in the Blitz, realised he couldn’t break in time to avoid the abyss rapidly appearing ahead of him, accelerating over the 3ft gap to drop 6ft onto the north bascule which had not yet started to rise.

His 20 passengers left the bus unscathed but the conductor was not so lucky suffering a broken leg and the bus unsurprisingly sustained a broke suspension.

Albert fared rather better the City Corporation honoured his quick thinking with a gift of £10.

Picture: Fog, Tower Bridge, London by Ian Britton (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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Gibson

(2) Readers Comments

  1. A boy in my after school boxing class at school (15 year olds) was on that bus, and sustained a bruise on his forehead. I don’t suppose that counts as an injury, and he suffered far worse from boxing. I can’t remember his name, – I do a lot of forgetting nowadays.

    • Nowadays every dodgy lawyer in town would be chasing after the passengers of the bus offering to take the bus company to the cleaners with injury claims. Thanks for the comment.

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