On 17 March 1909, members of the AA carried a company of Guardsmen from London to Hastings in their motor cars. This was done in conjunction with the War Office, and was a very significant event that demonstrated to the Army that troops could be quickly assembled and moved quickly in crisis. It also taught the logistics of such a move. In addition, the event also showed the government that motorists were responsible people who could be called upon to support their country if needed.
To commemorate this event, every year the Invicta Military-Vehicle Preservation Society, in conjunction with the AA, organise a road run from Sevenoaks to Hastings. This event raises funds to support Combat Stress.
When talking about the AA Commemorative Road Run, event organiser, James Baxter said "Back in 2009, I wanted to have some re-enactors travel in the veteran cars that had entered for the run. A friend who was a WW1 re-enactor said he could organise some of his group to take part. It so happened that he himself was a veteran who had recieved a huge support from Combat Stress, and he suggested we try to use the run to raise money for Combat Stress".
James Baxter is extremely grateful for the support that the AA provide, sponsoring 'rally plates' that are given to each vehcile and providing refreshments en route as well as providing invaluable back up in the case of mechanical failure. The AA team are all volunteers and support the road run unpaid and in their own time.
The Road Run has been in support of Combat Stress ever since 2009. Back in 2009 there were 20 vehicles taking part and £175 was raised, since then it has significantly grown. 2023 has been the biggest year yet, with 77 vehicles entered and an outstanding £2,549.84 (including gift aid) raised!
The AA Commemorative Road Run will be back next year on Sunday 14 April 2024.