It was founded on 10 August 1897 as the Automobile Club of Great Britain (and, later, Ireland). The headquarters was originally in a block of flats at 4 Whitehall Court, moving to 119 Piccadilly in 1902.
At the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, the Club arranged for twenty-five of their members, with their personal cars, to accompany the British Expeditionary Force to France and Belgium to act as chauffeurs and messengers for the British General Staff. Describing themselves as the “RAC Corps of Volunteer Motor Drivers”, the drivers included the Duke of Westminster, Lord Dalmeny and “Toby” Rawlinson; many of them were given commissions and went on to give distinguished war service.In September 1914, a further group of RAC members put themselves and their cars at the disposal of the British Red Cross, to help transport war casualties.
Questo episodio unitamente a quello di Dunkirk, dove volontari a bardo delle loro imbarcazioni private riuscirono ad evacuare le truppe britanniche prese d’assedio dai nazisti, dimostrano la stoica solidarieta’ degli inglesi.