Model-T Ambulance

Both Walt Disney and Ernest Hemingway drove ambulances in the Great War.  Hemingway joined the Ambulance Corps/Red Cross in WWI and worked as an ambulance driver on the Italian front, picking up human remains and transporting patients to the rear hospitals. In July 1918 he was seriously wounded by a mortar shell, which left shrapnel in both of his legs causing him much pain and requiring several surgeries. He was awarded the Silver Medal for heroism.  

Walt Disney lived most of his childhood in Marceline, Missouri, where he began drawing, painting and selling pictures to neighbors and family friends. Marceline is located in Linn County Missouri not far from Pershing's Boyhood home. Disney used downtown Marceline as a template for Disneyland's Main Street America. Walt joined the Ambulance Corps in 1916 and lied about his age as he was only 16 years old. Soon he was hard at work transporting the wounded from the front lines to the rear field hospitals. Thousands of the Ford 1916 Model T Field Ambulance, a canvas on wood frame model,  was used extensively by the British & French as well as the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. It's top speed was 45mph produced by a 4 cylinder water cooled engine. During World War One, the Red Cross brought in the first widespread battlefield motor ambulances to replace horse drawn vehicles, which was such a success, the horse drawn variants were quickly phased out. An unabashed takeoff of Rudyard Kipling’s Gunga Din, this Hunka Tin version eloquently describes the feelings of soldiers toward the Ford Model T, a vitally important component of World War I. 

Yes, Tin, Tin, Tin
You exasperating puzzle, Hunka Tin
I’ve abused you and I’ve flayed you,
But by Henry Ford who made you,
You are better than a Packard, Hunka Tin

Several years ago, the PPMA acquired a Model T which is currently undergoing restoration. The completed restoration will be a duplicate of Walt Disney's ambulance including his artwork on the canvass and the only know ambulance that had a hand cranked siren. The Walt Disney ambulance will be a major attraction at the new museum and will travel throughout mid America as a mobile display. Here is a rare photograph taken somewhere in France of Walt Disney with his ambulance.


An unabashed takeoff of Rudyard Kipling’s Gunga Din, this Hunka Tin version eloquently describes the feelings of soldiers toward the Ford Model T, a vitally important component of World War I.