In June 2004, Clubmobiler Janet Dillon Blair attended ceremonies in France commemorating the 60th anniversary of D-Day as the guest of honor of the French re-enactment association Union Group Vexin. This page is an English translation of one from their site.

The original page in French may be found here.
They also produced a story of the ceremonies.


In World War II the American Red Cross was asked by the U.S. Armed Forces to provide recreational services to the servicemen in the various theatres of operation.

In Great Britain, the Red Cross began setting up service clubs in London and towns near army installations. Shortly thereafter, on air bases, aero clubs were set up. Because of the great difference in pay between American servicemen and their counterparts from other countries, as Great Britain, the army asked the Red Cross to make nominal charges for food and lodging.

The Red Cross clubmobile was conceived by the late prominent New York banker, Harvey D. Gibson, Red Cross Commissioner to Great Britain, who wanted to put a service club "on wheels" which would reach the serviceman at his camp or airfield. Also, by having a club on wheels, the Red Cross was able to get around the army's request that servicemen pay for food. Everything distributed on a clubmobile was free.

The American Red Cross Clubmobile (genuine Hearth of the travelling Soldier) had been born. The Clubmobile in the United Kingdom was based on "Green Line" London buses which were equipped with a kitchen with a machine to manufacture the famous "doughnuts" (fritters with a central hole), A primus stove was designed to heat water for fifty cups of coffee. There was also a large collapsible table, two benches able to transform itself into a camp bed, a gramophone with loudspeakers, and a broad selection of recent records and magazines. The driver was English.

Three American girls were attached to each bus. They were deployed to camps and airbases, manufacturing hundreds of doughnuts, preparing coffee, distributing cigarettes, "life savers" (candies with central hole) and chewing-gum.

In preparation for the disembarkation in Normandy, nearly one hundred trucks "GMC 2 1/2 Ton" were transformed into Clubmobiles. The American girls (four to each GMC) learned to drive these heavy lorries. They were from now on the "Clubmobilers." As of July 1944, twelve groups were created, each with eight GMCs, identified as groups A through L. Also attached to each group were a cinema truck, three supply trucks with trailers and three English Hillman trucks. The majority of these groups disembarked on Utah Beach and followed the 1st and 3rd American armies all the way to Germany where they remained until the end of 1945.

Janet Dillon Blair, known as Skinnylobster, our guest in Normandy, disembarked August 12, 1944 on Utah Beach with group K which was attached to the 3rd army. Her principal stops in France were Bricquebec and Sartilly (50), Laval, Mans, Orleans, Feel, Troyes, Sompuis (51), Foug (54), Nancy and Morhange (57).


The crew of the Dallas Clubmobile--Janet Blair in England with Peg and Diana .


In England with some GIs in front of an English bus transformed into a Clubmobile.


In England on an air base.


August 12, 1944, Janet disembarks in Normandy from the LST Pearl Harbor.


A coffee, soldier?


Janet in Valognes.


Sharing the drudgery of washing coffee urns in France.


Finally a little respite.


Winter 44: mud, always mud, in the vicinity of Nancy...


Dallas in the mud...


Spring 45: Dallas crosses the Danube.

The Union Jeep Vexin thanks Janet Blair for her arrival in France for the sixtieth anniversary, and also for having agreed to be the godmother of our GMC Red Cross Mobile, the sole example in Europe of this type of truck. Janet enchanted us with her good humor and youthful spirit .

Mrs. Janet Blair you are always at home with the Union Jeep Vexin and the GMC baptized "Dallas" in your honor is yours.

Thank you again...


The original page in French may be found here.
They also produced a story of the ceremonies.