An Amusing Memory

An Amusing Memory

There are many things about old buses that interest us fans, and for me this includes memories of the people who worked them. As a student, I worked as a conductor for West Yorkshire for about ten months in total, and so met lots of fascinating staff. A recent posting on the Old Bus Photos site, (about Reliance of York), reminded me about one of them: Stan 'Digger' Ward, a long-serving driver who in the 1960's operated the York City tour bus.

Stan was a lovely man; always immaculately turned out, and sociable too, a characteristic not always displayed by senior drivers to junior conductors like myself. I remember on one occasion his name came up with another older driver who had known Stan for many years, and had worked with him as a conductor. 'He's got a driving style all his own', this chap said, 'rough!' I thought that was unfair, because Stan was an excellent driver, and I said so. 'You didn't know him as a youngster,' I was told. 'At Fulford terminus, when the road was icy, would turn the bus round by doing a handbrake turn.'

That ended that conversation, but by chance, I had Stan as my driver a few days later, and tackled him about the handbrake turns - a difficult, not to say dangerous, practice when driving a bus. 'Oh, yes,' he said, 'it was only a bit of fun. I had a passenger once who complained to me about it, so I said to her, "What's the matter, Love? It isn't every driver who gives you a thrill for your tuppence!".'

Stan certainly used his gift of the gab when running the York City tour, smiling generously while helping lady passengers off the coach at the end of the tour, with his other palm held out irrisistably for a tip from her companion. A highly successful ploy, I believe!

Roy Burke

21/02/13 - 15:51

This is a nice light-hearted piece. The York Tours Bedford OB was a common sight outside York railway station in the 60s. It also went on quite a different trip on the 8th June 1961 and I assume Stan Ward, being the allocated driver for that coach, had the job of driving it that day. Seventeen coaches were required to transport guests from York railway station to the Minster and then Hovingham Hall for the royal wedding of Katharine Worsley and the Duke of Kent. 600 VIP guests were the passengers. On an official photograph which I have it shows the York tour bus, CP 1, lined up with the other Bristol MW and LS coaches. On reading about Digger's ways of driving, I just hope he didn't treat the royal guests to a handbrake turn! In case anybody is interested, the vehicles involved that day were CP 1, CUG 11 and CUGs 29-15 in descending order, as lined up in the photo.

David Rhodes



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