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Last updated: 01 October 2019

  Archive/Photograph of the Month  

Earlier this year, I selected for this feature a photograph of one of Provincial’s Dennis saloons that was converted for use as an ambulance in Fareham during the Second World War.  Also in the Society’s Archive is a print (ref PS01329) that shows a bus that was converted for a similar purpose in Gosport.

Taken at Hoeford depot in the early 1940s, the print shows Morris Commercial TP 7184 in what is presumed to be standard ambulance grey carrying lettering for Air Raid Precautions (A.R.P.) in the Borough of Gosport.  The dumb irons, wings and side guards carry the white flashes that are characteristic of vehicles that operated during the black-out.

Thanks to research by member Stewart Brett, we know that TP 7184 was new to John William (Jack) Prince in October 1928 for use on Prince’s routes between Gosport Ferry and Alverstoke/Stokes Bay.  Prince traded as the Pioneer Motor Service and competed with Provincial until he sold out to the larger company in June 1939, just a few months prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.  Provincial acquired two Morris Commercial saloons from Prince – TP 7893 which became Provincial’s No.10; and TP 7184 which was immediately withdrawn from service.

The next reference to TP 7184 appears in the Hampshire Telegraph & Post on Friday 1st March 1940 under the headline ‘New Ambulance for Gosport’.  The article records that ‘Gosport ambulance service for Air Raid Precautions purposes has been enhanced by the gift to the borough of a motor ambulance by Gosport and Fareham Omnibus Co.’.  ‘Handing over the vehicle last week-end on behalf of the directors of the company, Mr H O White (Manager and Engineer) said he hoped that the ambulance, useful as it would be in an emergency, would prove to be more of ornament, and that its services would not be required’.  The vehicle’s Wadham 16-seat body ‘had been fitted out by the staff of the company, and the directors were appreciative of their services in this connexion’.  The article explains that the converted bus and its equipment provided ‘for three stretcher cases and six sitting cases’.

Given the number of wartime casualties in Gosport, it seems likely that the ambulance saw extensive use in the Borough during the ensuing years.  After the war, Stewart Brett has established that TP 7184 was returned to Provincial who sold it in 1946 for the sum of £50 to C R Stamp of Whitworth Road in Gosport for use as a mobile shop.  Does anyone remember seeing it in this role?

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.

  First Hampshire & Dorset vehicle movement and news  


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Latest arrivals at Hoeford - a batch of StreetLites from First South Yorkshire.

63370 seen leaving Fareham this morning on the lengthy 3-1-1-3 circuit of Portsmouth & Southsea.

Photo by Malcolm Audsley 19 Aug 2019


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