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Last updated: 07 October 2018

  Archive/Photograph of the Month  

A wartime view of a pair of saloons forms the subject of this month’s feature.  Taken at Hoeford in the early 1940s, it shows two AEC Regals with lady drivers posed on the cobbled approach to the old depot building (ref PS01018).

On the left is No.33 (FW 4054), the older of the two vehicles, which transferred to Hoeford from Provincial’s operation at Cleethorpes in August 1936.  New in July 1933 as No.44, FW 4054 carried 32-seat coach bodywork by Harrington and originally sported the fleetname ‘Provincial Green Line’ during its time in Lincolnshire.  Following the sale of Provincial’s services and various assets in Cleethorpes, FW 4054 was one of only two vehicles to be retained and transferred to the company’s operation in Gosport and Fareham.

Behind is native Regal No.23 (CG 9606), new to the Gosport & Fareham Omnibus Company as one of a batch of eight vehicles delivered towards the end of 1934.  Its 32-seat dual-purpose bodywork, also by Harrington, is very similar to that carried by FW 4054, the primary differences between the two being the extended canopy above the bonnet of the older Regal, the driver’s prominent fixed sun-visor, more ornate drip panels above the windows and the raised luggage carrier towards the rear of the roof.

In the photograph, both buses carry wartime livery of Emerald Green with Deep Brunswick Green waistband and wings.  The headlamps carry masks to limit the amount of light emitted and, to aid visibility of the buses during the blackout, white flashes are evident on the wings, dumb-irons and along the life-rails.  Also evident is the use of code letters in place of destinations.  In this case, both buses carry the code ‘HE’ which signifies that they were operating on the Hardway and Elson route.

After the war, both vehicles transferred to the Provincial Traction Company and No.33 was refurbished, losing its distinctive luggage carrier in the process and gaining flash-style curved waistband mouldings.  Sadly, this Regal was damaged beyond repair during the fire at Hoeford depot in June 1957 and was subsequently sold for scrap.  No.23 was destined to survive and, shortly after the fire, was re-bodied by Readings of Portsmouth as a full-fronted forward-entrance bus.  It was to survive in this form until its withdrawal in 1967 for scrap.

If any members or non-members have similar images that they would like to donate to the Society or allow to be photographed or scanned, I should be grateful if you would contact me – Chris Richardsen – using e-mail address ProvSocArchive@gmail.com.

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AEC Cougar on the Chawton Circular outside Jane Austen's house in Chawton.

02 Sep 18 (John Sherwin)


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