Old Bus Photos

Portsmouth Corporation – Thornycroft J – BK 2986 – 10

Portsmouth Corporation - Thornycroft J - BK 2986 - 10

Portsmouth Corporation
Thornycroft J
Dodson O16/18RO

BK 2986 is a Thornycroft J, built in 1919 for Portsmouth Corporation. It originally had a Wadham O16/18RO seater body but was rebodied in 1926 with an ex London General AEC B 1920 Dodson O16/18RO body. Having been built in Basingstoke, it is fitting that she is seen in the Milestones museum there, one of three Portsmouth buses. Note the tram tracks – there’s a Portsmouth tram there as well. The photograph was take on 12th November 2013.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

07/07/14 – 15:54

Thanks for posting this elderly bus in it’s current position. We are fortunate that Portsmouth Corporation had what we would now call an enlightened view of bus preservation. Both this bus, from it’s first ever batch of buses, and a tram (No 84) were retained by the Corporation from the 1930’s onwards. They also saved the very first trolleybus (201) in 1958, which then went to Beaulieu in 1960. It has had a more chequered history since, but has also resided at Basingstoke for a few years. It is now safe with the CPPTD (the preservation group, not the Corporation!) in Hampshire. The Thornycroft in the picture was quite often brought out and driven around on special occasions for some years. At that time it was in the then-current red/white livery. I remember seeing it at the Brighton Coach Rally c.1962, with a bikini-clad young lady hanging on at the back, trying to smile, wave, and keep her balance! In 1976 (I think), it was used by representatives of the Portsmouth Council to open the new M275 motorway into Portsmouth. Fortunately there was no park and ride service then, otherwise there might have been some suggestions for use? – no, probably not. Both this Thornycroft and the tram seem to be well cared for now, and located in a sympathetic setting at Basingstoke.

Michael Hampton

07/07/14 – 16:39

Am I not right in thinking that this bus was originally No. 10, but renumbered 1 for most of its preserved life, more recently getting back its correct number? I used to see it a lot (with 201) at the late lamented Dave Chalker’s annual Southsea Spectacular on Southsea Common.
Does anyone have a photo of one of these vehicles with original Wadham body. I had one but can’t find it now – typical! Another survivor is what’s left of the 1931 diesel-engined Crossley Condor (RV720), after being cut down as a service vehicle. After being abandoned on the council tip, it was rescued and is a runner.

Chris Hebbron

08/07/14 – 07:18

When you see vehicles like this, you realise the great strides made in chassis and body design in the 13 years between 1919 and 1932.

Chris Hebbron

08/07/14 – 07:20

Yes, Chris, this bus was originally No. 10 in the fleet, out of the series 1-10 for the batch. I read somewhere in a fleet history that it had also been used as a petrol tanker by the Corporation for a while after withdrawal from passenger service. As the Karrier 6-wheel double-deckers bought in 1927/28 to replace these Thornycroft J’s were very thirsty buses , this probably explains the conversion. Another fleet history does state that the Karriers had to be refuelled during the day to keep them in service. Presumably, after the Karriers were withdrawn in 1935, No 10 was redundant as a tanker, and a Dodson body was re-united with it for preservation. It became No.1 in c.1942 – an odd year for such a decision to be made and carried out (don’t you know there’s a war on?). It remained as No.1 until virtually the end of CPPTD, and it’s correct original No.10 restored, I think in the early 1990’s, but I’m open to correction on that.

Michael Hampton

03/10/14 – 08:39

No 10
Copyright Unknown

I finally found the picture of No. 10 with its original body, on The Hard – I’ve only ever seen one other photo of these with Wadham bodies.

Chris Hebbron

05/10/14 – 07:26

There is another photograph of this bus with the original body in the PSV Fleet History PH14 Portsmouth Citybus Ltd.(and its predecessors) Pathfinder UK Ltd. Published February 1997

Andy Hemming

25/08/20 – 06:15

Chris Hebbron’s monochrome picture of this bus, also to be found on LTHL, is from a Pamlin print of which I have a postcard. This dates the image capture to 5 October 1925, though the shot seems to show decidedly bright and sunny weather for autumn.

Roger Cox

26/08/20 – 05:21

A sunny Autumn? Well, that’s Sunny Southsea for you Roger! Thx for the extra information and date.

Chris Hebbron


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D J Jones (Crymych) – Thornycroft – DE 6181

D  J  Jones (Crymych) - Thornycroft - DE 6181

D. J. Jones (Crymych)
Thornycroft ??

This Thornycroft was first registered to D. J. Jones in September 1927. The body maker is not known but is possibly Thomas & Thomas of Carmarthen who built many for this area’s operators. It is seen here carrying children to school in Crymmych (accepted spelling at the time) and the owner is at the wheel. Also on board are his son and daughter and a young William Stanley Rees who would later work for D. J. Jones as a mechanic and driver. Later still, Stan Rees would set up his own garage before taking over the buses operated by Edwards Bros, also of Crymmych, and eventually calling his bus company Midway Motors. Midway still operate, now in the hands of Mrs Elan Rees and her three sons (grandsons of W.S. Rees) whilst the daughter of D. J. Jones still operates school runs with an LDV Convoy. I am currently attempting to write the story of these North Pembrokeshire operators and invite any Old Bus Photos readers to input any information at their disposal!

Photograph courtesy of Mrs Decima Harries with Copy by Les Dickinson

27/01/14 – 08:16

Around 1924, the War Office revived the ‘subvention’ or ‘subsidy’ scheme under which vehicles of an approved design suitable for military use would command an initial subsidy to set against the purchase price, and then an annual subsidy for three years. This, it was considered, would provide a ready fleet of suitable machines for commandeering should hostilities recommence. The Thornycroft offering was the A1 with a wheelbase of 11ft 6ins, but a stretched version called the A1 Long appeared in 1925 with a wheelbase of 14ft. Uprated versions for 2 ton loads called the A2 and A2 Long followed in 1926 This seems to be an example of the A1 Long or A2 Long, which had a side valve engine of 3.62 litres producing 36 bhp at 1500 rpm, a four speed crash gearbox and a worm drive rear axle. The source of this detail is Alan Townsin’s book on the manufacturer.

Roger Cox

28/01/14 – 13:19

How many times do we look admiringly at old photos of buses and coaches from earlier times and think "What a fine example of the coachbuilder’s craft"? Couldn’t really say that about this one in all honesty!

John Stringer

28/01/14 – 16:37

Is it in a rut, or is that rear tyre under-inflated? Nevertheless, a really interesting photograph…I really like viewing the ancient photos of the beginnings of public transport, not just for the vehicles, but the old street scenes, and the clothing worn in those days. My father would have been 9 yrs old in 1927, and I imagine that a sight of this type of bus would have been nothing out of the ordinary.

Norman Long

31/08/14 – 08:30

I was transported to school from Llandissilio to Narberth between 1954 / 1956 in a Sentinel just like ODE 182, I remember the sword on the front,it appealed to a ten year old. I wonder how many 1949 models like that one that Edwards of Crymych operated.


01/09/14 – 07:30

Yours was probably NDE 689 Richard. It was delivered to Pritchard, Narberth in September 1951 but was sold to Edwards Bros, Crymych in June 1953. They had two of their own. Roberts (Pioneer) Newport had two, Harries, Prendergast had one.

Les Dickinson

10/03/17 – 06:54

I well remember Dai John Jones as a wonderful character, his wife was a cousin of mine. Dai John drove me and my Mother to Bristol in June 1941, at the height of the blitz. He stayed for a night before driving back – we all had to sleep in an air-raid shelter. Regretfully I have lost touch with his family, Denley and Daish (not sure of the spelling there). I believe Denley emigrated and when I last enquired, Daish still lived above the garage. I recall Dai John’s coaches ferrying pupils to and from Cardigan county School in 1941.

James Davies

10/03/17 – 08:44

James Davies, I can confirm that Denley emigrated to Australia. I can confirm that his sister Decima, aka Dess or Dessie, still lives above the garage. She eventually retired in 2016 and had continued with a minibus on a school contract right up to that time. She was subject of a TV programme after 60 years of coach driving. I spent some time talking to her in preparation for a book all about the operators in Crymych & Maenclochog, a lovely lady with an excellent memory. Her coffee and scones were nice too! The DJJ story makes interesting reading and I hope that my publisher will be taking this one as soon as they finish work on my Cardigan book.

Les Dickinson

18/06/17 – 06:56

Sorry to be so long getting back and thank you, Les Dickinson, for your most interesting comments. I look forward to seeing your Cardigan book. I also hope to be able to reach the area some time this year and will be making an effort to call at Crymych. It would be great to meet Dess again.

James Davies

18/06/17 – 07:56

James, I am currently checking and amending the proof copy and will be returning it to the publisher in the next few days. They have a little work left to do but will be sending to printers very soon.
The publisher will then accept the Crymych/Maenclochog book as soon as this Cardigan one goes to print. Perhaps we might meet when you are in the area and see if you have anything to add to the book before they call it in? Peter will put you in touch with me if you think this is a good idea.

Les Dickinson

22/06/17 – 05:54

Thank you again, Les Dickinson. I should be delighted to meet you when I am next in the Crymych area.

James Davies


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