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Last updated: 07 April 2021

 
     
  Archive/Photograph of the Month  
     
 

Photographs of Provincialís buses during the Second World War are relatively scarce, so I have chosen for this monthís feature a wartime image from the Societyís archives that shows the two primary vehicle types in use at that time Ė AECís Regal saloon and Regent double-decker (ref PS00965).

The background reveals that the photograph was taken at the heart of Provincialís Hoeford depot, in the old power stationís engine house.  Taking centre stage is Regent No.21 (JO 5405) which, as its registration suggests, started life with City of Oxford Motor Services in July 1932 prior to its acquisition by the Gosport & Fareham Omnibus Company in April 1940.

To the left of the photograph is Regal No.26 (CG 9611) which is evidently receiving mechanical attention.  No.26 was new to the company in 1934, entering service at the very start of 1935.  Over to the right of the image is Provincialís Manager and Engineer, H Orme White, wearing the distinctive light jacket that appears in at least one other image from this period.  Behind White is a chassis which is almost certainly that of No.15, another Regal which was acquired by the company in late 1941 or early 1942 as the basis for the construction of a new double-deck utility body by Readings of Portsmouth.  As the construction of No.15 had been completed by December 1942, our photograph almost certainly dates from earlier in that year.

The fact that the photograph was taken during the war is supported by the fact that the wings and dumb-irons on No.21 have been picked out in white, along with the normally chrome strips at the rear of No.26.  No.21 has also had its cream bands masked by a coat of dark green paint to give a darker appearance during the black-out.  No.26 had yet to follow suit and it is tempting to suggest that, at the time of the photograph, this bus may have been in the midst of its conversion to a different internal layout comprising 29 seats and space for 19 standees, as approved by the Ministry of War Transport in late 1941.

After the war had ended, No.21 went on to give a few more years of service prior to its withdrawal in 1948.  Although its Weymann body was scrapped, the chassis (or at least parts of it) went on to form the basis for Regent coach No.69 (PCG 436) which operated for Provincial Traction until 1969.  Regal No.26 had its original Harrington body replaced by a new Reading body in 1959 and continued to operate until 1968, whereas Regal No.15 was withdrawn in 1959.

If any members or non-members have similar images or other material 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 Ė Chris Richardsen Ė using e-mail address archivist@provincialsociety.org.

 
 
 
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Volvo B7RLE 66965 (KX05 MJF) brings a little spring colour to Gosport Bus Station on 6th April 2021.  66965 is one of six Volvos transferred to First Hampshire, Dorset & Berkshire for use as training vehicles.

Photo by Chris Richardsen

 
 

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