The situation following the Second World War, and in particular for the transport Department of Plymouth City Council, was that it found itself having to find, and quickly, replacement vehicles for those lost during the blitz. Even maintenance to the remaining serviceable members of the fleet must have also presented challenges, and by no means was Plymouth alone in facing a problem that really called for a major fleet replacement scheme.
Sister vehicle 332 (DJY 962), is seen at the bottom of what was to be Royal Parade. Raleigh Street would appear behind the bus as the first road to be built in the new City Centre. 332 rather shabby in this view, is probably almost brand new. (c) The late Roy Marshall.
Plymouth seemingly could call on its special relationship with Leyland for the vast number of double deckers required as new stock, and even a few pre-war examples were rebodied, but the Transport Department could only form part of a huge queue nationally. Orders could be placed, but would take many months to complete.
To address this problem, operators affected turned to other than their favourite suppliers and made what was known as “Distress Orders”. With Plymouth City Transport then, an order was placed with Crossley Motors of Manchester for twenty-five DD42/5 double decks.
However the rate of delivery was no quicker than with the Leyland PD2`s with only six arriving at Milehouse by May 1948, taking up fleet numbers 331-6 and registered DJY 961-6, positioning them amongst the aforementioned PD2/1's.
When placed in service their low power became evident to the extent they were confined to routes 23 and 24 to Mount Gould and Beaumont Road, being the least testing on the system, and records inform us that the balance of the order, nineteen, were cancelled, to be replaced by a further batch of Leyland PD2`s. It is interesting to note that the second batch of these delivered the following year were numbered 351 – 370 (EJY 351–70), numbered exactly.... nineteen!
The policy of P.C.T. in those days was to obtain fifteen years revenue earning service at a minimum, but the Crossley`s were kept less the ten, with all six being withdrawn by March 1958, and this was after being rebuilt at Milehouse during 1954-5. 335 was amongst those being taken by dealer Connorton of London, S.W. 9 later that year, with a resale to J. Best, operating as Best`s Coaches, of Great Bromley in October 1958. For whatever reason its stay there was not long, in 1959 it was in the hands of another dealer.
Formally 333 in the P.C.T. fleet but now 24 with Wesley`s, has a different radiator from the original and a modified front destination display. (c) Robert Mack.
From there the situation began to improve. Quite a large operator, R.G., W.G. & T. Wesley trading as Wesley`s Coach Services of Stoke Goldington, Bucks, was the next owner, who had a panache for Crossley`s, and in that regard four of the original six were reunited under their ownership, (331/3/5/6) with 335, now no. 26, lasting in service, following modernisation with the fitting of platform doors, until July 1966. Further use for it was found as a seat store for another three years but it was derelict by June 1975. Even then there was a reluctance to let our friend depart and she remained in Wesley’s yard until returning to the West Country at Winkleigh during April 1979 in the capable hands of Paul Tucker who also obtained DJY 961 known to us as the ex 331.
A major refurbishment followed with 335 emerging more or less in the condition she entered P.C.T. service in 1948. Interestingly, although parts from 331 were used, some needed modification to fit, was this a result of the Milehouse rebuilding in 1954-5, or were they built as individual units by Crossley thereby extending build time and therefore delivery dates that at least in part led to the 1948 order cancellation?
Paul Tucker built up a fleet of four former Plymouth City Transport double-deckers, 335 was the last to be preserved, the other three being Leyland`s, but in 2003 decided to dispose of them all.
335`s story then continued with Ian Barlow of Sully, South Wales, and from there to the Plymouth City Transport Preservation Group on the 15th November 2014.
Regarding the fact that only 306 units of the DD42/5 variation were built, 335 is now a rarity, but then it probably always was, `Doctor Who` even shared an episode in the distant past with 335 when she appeared as an extra on a journey to Mount Gould!
Above: 335 back in the Westcountry at Winkleigh in October 1994. Repainting was now complete but insignia such as the `coat of arms` had still to be applied. (c) D. Hockings.
Below: Return to Plymouth.