Hants and Sussex
Leyland Titan PD1
Northern Coachbuilders L55R
The above shot of the Silentnight (Barnoldswick) works bus appeared for identification on this websites DYK page from John Turner. Pat Jennings did correctly identify it as FCG 526, it was one of nine Leyland PD1s bought new by Basil Williams in 1947 for his Hants and Sussex fleet. FCG 523/4/5 had Northern Coachbuilders H56R bodies, FCG 526/7 and FOR 837 had Northern Coachbuilders L55R bodies, and GAA 179/180/181 had Leyland H56R bodies. Interestingly, the fleet numbers LO52/3/4/5/6/8/9/60/1 were applied to these vehicles in sequence, which raises the question – what happened to number LO57? I remember seeing examples of the NCB highbridge PD1s in Fareham as a child in 1949 (though possibly it was always the same bus – a picture of FCG 523 on the Fareham service may be found in Alan Lambert’s definitive book on this operator, which is the source of much of my note here), when I assumed, as Basil Williams always intended the public to believe, that Hants and Sussex were another of the large territorial companies. I do not know what financial arrangement Mr. Williams entered into when purchasing these buses, but they all arrived new in 1947 and were all gone by 1949, several having been on loan to other operators within those two years. It seems very likely that the outturn finances of the Hants and Sussex group did not meet its proprietor’s optimistic expectations by 1949, and, indeed, the greater part of the business collapsed at the end of 1954.
Copy contributed by Roger Cox
A full list of Titan codes can be seen here.
There are three good sources of information available on Hants and Sussex, Alan Lambert’s book, PSV Circle PK14, and Alan’s article in the 2009 issue of the Leyland Journal on the company’s post war Leyland double deckers.
FCG 528 [LO57] was registered to Basil Williams personally, and thereby remained with him after the demise of the various limited companies in 1954/55. It was originally bought for the Midhurst group of routes, but after the "crash" it was used on the Thorney Island route. It was also used on the Sunday afternoon run to the Alton hospitals. It was sold for scrap in 1960 when the Tiger Cub, and Bedford SB1 were bought.
27/11/11 – 15:29
Of the ten PDIs delivered new in 1947, seven with NCB and three with Leyland H56R bodies, this is the only one that remained in the personal ownership of Basil Williams. The other nine were sold elsewhere in 1949 after only two years with Hants and Sussex, well before the 1954 collapse of the group.
19/12/11 – 06:19
On the following website devoted to Bere Regis & District may be seen a photo of this very bus in 1953, which, with its fellow PD1/NCB L55R FCG 527, remained in the service of Bere Regis until 1960. It is the third picture down from the top. http://www.countrybus.co.uk/
19/12/11 – 11:01
It looks very proud, garlanded up for the 1953 Coronation. This is an old tradition which has sadly died out, too!
24/10/12 – 12:40
You mean, having Coronations?
24/10/12 – 17:45
You’re as bad a pendant as me, David. But even we pedants can slip up sometimes, as I did here! I should OF known better!