Walsall player 12 Ron Crutchley


Full name Ronald Crutchley
Date of birth 20 June 1922
Place of birth Walsall, England

Date of death 1987
Playing position Wing half

Senior career
Years             Team                                Apps (Gls)
1945–50        Walsall                                 62    (4)
1950–54        Shrewsbury Town           146    (1)
1954–             Wellington Town (now Telford Utd)

Ronald “Ron” Crutchley (20 June 1922 – 1987) was born in Brownhills
Crutchley joined Walsall Football Club in 1945, where he gained a reputation as a “hard-working defensive wing-half” and he formed part of a middle line which contained Reg Foulkes and Albert ‘Nutty’Newman. He had a useful spell with Walsall and in the two seasons 1944-45 and 1945-46 he made 42 appearences. He was another player who sufferred with injuries while at Walsall, at one time it was thought that his career would be over but it cleared up,( luckily at Shrewsbury he had better luck)! After 62 appearances in four seasons, he joined Shrewsbury Town in 1950. In 1954 he left Shrewsbury and signed for Wellington Town.
After retiring from football he was a popular figure behind his stall in the Bull Ring Market in Birmingham, as well as working with his brother at Crutchleys of Walsall in Littleton Street, they dealt in toys and fancy goods.. He was married twice and had two sons he also had a daughter with a previous girlfriend . After retirement he attended as many matches as he could watching his beloved Saddlers.

125 reasons to be proud to be a Saddler


Whilst searching for Walsall born players today, I came across this blog which was on the Express and Star site, I have to admit that I had not seen it, so thought that all of you Saddlers supporters out there would maybe like to view it. enjoy!

Blog: 125 reasons to be proud to be a Saddler

In a week of celebration here are 125 reasons to be proud to be a Saddler, writes Walsall blogger Mark Jones.

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1. This season – It perfectly encapsulates the roller-coaster ride that comes with being a Saddler.

It’s been good and bad, there’s been fantastic highs and extreme lows, pessimism followed by optimism.

And, just when we were least expecting it, the very welcome development of a Walsall team well worth watching who play some superb football. It is very much on boys.

2. Alan Buckley – Legend as a player, legend as a manager.

3. Andy Rammell – The ultimate No 9, my all-time favourite player of all time.

4. Sir Ray Graydon – Without question our greatest ever manager.

5. Martin O’Connor – Walsall boy, midfield dynamo and he kept coming back.

6. Super Jimmy Walker – The ultimate No 1.

7. Adrian Viveash – A proper central defensive hard-man. If I’d been any good as a footballer I’d have wanted to be like Ada.

8. Gilbert Alsop – The first Walsall legend. When I was a kid he’d be walking his dog past where we played football and he always said hello.

9. Walsall 2 Arsenal 0 1933 – Forget kids in parkas, this was THE greatest giantkilling.

10. Colin Taylor and Tony Richards – My dad’s heroes.

11. Bill ‘Chopper’ Gutteridge RIP – Sad news on our anniversary.

12. Ken Hodgkinson – Met him by chance in the 1980s, a thoroughly nice bloke.

13. Bill Moore – Double Promotion winning manager 1959-60-61.

14. Taking over Shrewsbury since 1961.

15. George Kirby and Allan Clarke – A front two I wish I’d seen

16. Ronnie Allen, Doug Fraser, Dave Mackay, Tommy Coakley, Kenny Hibbitt – Managers who weren’t always great but had their moments.

17. Bert Williams, Phil Parkes, Mark Wallington, Mick Kearns, Ron Green, Fred Barber, Clayton Ince – Some of our other great goalkeepers and Big Mick’s never gone away.

18. The Reverend Peter Hart – Captain for the Milk Cup Run 1984 and throughout the 1980s.

19. Colin Harrison, Nick Atthey, Stan Bennett – Loyal servants of the 1960s and 1970s

20. Bernie Wright and George Andrews – Feared Forwards of my early days as a Saddler.

21. Brian Caswell and Alan Birch – Local boys made good.

22. Walsall 3 Manchester United 2 in 1975 – My first taste of the Saddlers making the big time.

23. Walsall 1 Newcastle 0 in 1975 – Fellows Park bursting at the seams, a proper 1970s mud-bath and a top division side put to the sword.

24. Fellows Park – The sights, sounds and smells of a proper football ground with its own kind of savage beauty.

Floodlight nights were the best, would love to relieve the experience if it were possible.

25. Birmingham 2 Walsall 1 in 1975 – My first away match, over 40,000 at St Andrews and no segregation. Awesome.

26. Alun Evans and Mick Bates – The 1970s midfield duo.

27 Walsall 1 Leicester 0 in 1978 – Evo’s last-minute winner.

28. Don Penn, Ian Paul, David Edwards, Martin Goldsmith, Stuart Ryder – Lads who could have made it big but for cruel injuries.

29. Kenny Mower and Mark Rees – Local boys who blazed a trail, cult figures.

30. Easter Monday in 1980 Walsall 2 Tranmere 0 – Going up for the first time in my lifetime.

31. Staying up at Sheffield United 1981 – Mental.

32. Arsenal 4 Walsall 1 in 1978 – As an 11-year-old hearing your dad shouting abuse at a former Wolves player does tend have a profound effect on your outlook on life.

33. Arsenal 1 Walsall 2 in 1983 – It took them 45 years to gain revenge and, five years later, we turned them over again.

34. Ally Brown, Richard O’Kelly and Kevin Summerfield – League Cup goal-scoring heroes.

35. Rotherham 2 Walsall 4 in 1984 – Totally and utterly dominant. Fact: the mighty Saddlers have never lost a major cup quarter-final.

36. THAT night at Anfield.

37. Coventry 0 Walsall 3 in 1984 – Who were the top flight team? We had even given them a goal start in the first leg.

38. Quality football throughout the 1980s – when there wasn’t much else to celebrate.

39. Preece- Shakespeare- Childs-Handysides – Young, short but possibly the most skilful midfield ever.

40. David Preece RIP

41. Ian Handysides RIP

42. Anton Reid RIP

43. Matt Gadsby RIP

44. John Whitney – A fantastic servant, much more than Ginger Mourinho’s Physio.

45. Micky Halsall – A great servant to the club.

46. Jukey – I worked on his house once while Ken Hodgkinson was working for him – and his legacy of first class scouts and a fine youth development team.

47. Lee Sinnott, Mark Taylor, Clive Platt, Julian Bennett and Manny Smith – proof that we produce great talent even though they move on.

48. Nicky Cross, David Kelly and Trevor Christie’s moustache – A fine front three.

49. Defeating Ken Wheldon – genuine fan power.

50. The beating heart of the fans past, present and future: ISSA, SWAG, the Saddlers Action Supporters, Unity and the Trust – I salute you all.

All the fanzines too– SaddleSore, Blazing Saddlers, One Step Beyond, Chasing the Dream, 90 Minutes From Europe, that other one from 2005ish and yes even Moving Swiftly On.

I wrote for all of the first five and loved doing it.

51. 1987 Charlton 1 Walsall 2 (Part 1)

52. 1987 Walsall 1 Blues 0 – Paul Jones’s corner in a game where defeat to Wheldon’s team was simply never an option.

53. The 4-4 at Watford FA Cup 1987 – Possibly THE most astonishing game ever, a real ding dong.

54. PLAY OFFS 1988 – Do it the hard way.

55. PLAY OFFS 1988 – DK’s tekkers at Notts County

56. PLAY OFFS 1988 – A record 7 goals for DK

57. PLAY OFFS 1988 – An odd penalty shoot out win.

58. PLAY OFFS 1988 – May 30th Walsall 4 Bristol City 0. A hat trick for Ned, one for Phil Hawker and at last we had finally done it.

59. Oo Stuart Rimmer – What could he have done in a better Walsall team?

60. Colin Methven – You never beat Big Colin 1990 until 1993.

61. Rod McDonald and Charlie Ntamark – When times were hard they brightened things up a little.

62. Dean Smith the player – Five good years then he was sacrificed to finance a promotion team.

63. Oo arr Chris Marsh – Stepovers, long-service and some pretty tasty stories.

64. Chris Nicholl – The boss who achieved what was asked of him and liked us so much he moved here.

65. May 1995 Promotion at last. Scarborough away followed by Bury away in two days. The five long bottom division years somehow made the celebrations at Gigg Lane even sweeter.

66. Kyle Lightbourne – 75 goals in three seasons and a cool dude. Welcome back Kyle.

67. Kevin Wilson – Top top quality.

68. Scott Houghton, Charlie Palmer and Wayne Evans – Stars of 95.

69. Derek Statham and Colin Gibson and Neil Pointon – Vintage left-backs who served us well.

70. Tony Barras, Andy Tilson, Richard Green – Hard as nails. Colin Brazier too.

71. Ian Ian Roper – A pure defender.

72. Dean Keates – Local hero, 17 years a professional and still going strong.

73. Visits to Blackpool – Always a riot. A MOC-inspired win in the sunshine in 96 when they’d already awarded themselves promotion springs to mind.

74. Big Fat Jan and the Cup Runs season – Andy Watson’s goals; Forest, Sheff U (them again), revenge over Fat Barry (twice) and Boli’s goal at Old Trafford.

75. Roger Boli – A player who genuinely had you thinking ‘what’s he going to do today’ when you walked into the ground, in a good way … while it lasted.

76. Jeff Peron – Beautiful to watch.

77. THAT goal against Sarfend (August 97) Jeff crosses to Roger, he’s still got a lot to do though….

78. Pedro Matias and Jorge Leitao – Our two finest overseas stars. Happy days.

79. Aranalde, Padula, Bukran, Siggi Eyjolfsson, Darko Mavrak etc – Other notable imports who had their moments.

80. Paul Hall and Fitzroy Simpson – From the Jamaican World Cup team at France 98 to the Graydon Dream Team circa 2001.

81. Darren Wrack – Proper winger, goalscorer and all-round entertainer.

82. Wracky’s goal at Bournemouth (April 1999) – Possibly the best goal I have seen. Go on Daza.

83. Lincoln away April 1998, Manc City bottled it, we waited forever for Wracky to score, defending like Trojans.

We left Sincil Bank working out we needed just two points from three games – even Walsall couldn’t blow it from there.

84. May 1st 1999 Walsall 3 Oldham 1 – Promotion Day, when everything fell into place. Near Perfection.

85. Party like its 1998-99 – I could relive the 1998-99 Season in its entirety over and over again.

86. Beating Albion, Stoke and Forest lots of times.

87. 28th August 1999 – A little local skirmish settled by Tony Barrass, Rambo and a phenomenal challenge from Wacka.

88. May 2000 Ipswich 2 Walsall 0 – Going down with dignity and defiance.

89. Ian Brightwell and Brett Angell – Putting the pro into promotion.

90. Don Goodman with his hair…and goals.

91. PLAY OFFS 2001 – Walsall 4 Stoke 2 – Pedro’s greatest game, Stokies leaving us so soon and all hail Sir Ray.

92. PLAY OFFS 2001 – Walsall 4 Stoke 2 – Shhhhh!

93. PLAY OFFS 2001 – May 27th: Soaking in the anticipation and atmosphere of a day out at a proper Final

94. PLAY OFFS 2001 – The Don equalises , retribution for Rougier and an inspired triple substitution.

95. PLAY OFFS 2001 – BYFIELD! Tony Barras wanting to play on with concussion and sulking because he wasn’t allowed. The final whistle.

96. PLAY OFFS 2001 – Tom Bennett lifting the Trophy at the Millennium Stadium.

97. PLAY OFFS 2001 – Ray Graydon celebrating with his people.

98. Darren Byfield – He scored that goal and a decade later he helped keep us up.

99. January 2002 Charlton 1 Walsall 2 (Part 2) – A kind of wake, a tribute to 442 and a fighting spirit that would soon be laid to rest … with a screamer from Jorge and a Wacka penalty save.

100. Staying up at Sheff U 2002 – Jorgey Jorgey Leitao.

101. Merse – Forget the managerial nonsense, what a talent.

102. Vinny Samways, Paul Ritchie, Gary O’Neill and Mark Kinsella – A different class of player, albeit only seen fleetingly.

103. Super Matty Fryatt – Genuine goalscorer.

104. Dicky Dosh – Grumpy but great.

105. Clayton Ince – Big Bad and from Trinidad. Clean Sheets galore.

106. March 2007 – Wracky scoring late on at Milton Keynes Dons for a mossive point.

107. April 2007 – Kevin Harper and Trevor Benjamin at Notts County.

108. 2006-07 – The return of Dean Keates driving us to the title.

109. The 93rd minute at Swindon May 5th 2007. CHAMPIONEES!

110. Michael Dobson – Title winning captain.

111. Anthony Gerrard – Who needs Steve?

112. Scott Dann and Daniel Fox – Great while it lasted.

113. Michael Ricketts and Martin Butler – both showing a lot of bottle to come back for a second time.

114. Troy Deeney – Prepared to put in a shift and to prepared to try and put things right. Got a feeling he’ll be back one day.

115. Tommy Mooney , Jabo Ibehre , Julian Gray and Steve Jones – glimpses of quality in a sea of mediocrity.

116. Walsall FC Sierra Leone and the Flemish Saddlers – Love these guys for their commitment, glad to have them as part of the family.

117. Ledesma and Flo – Proof that classy players always feel at home in Walsall and they always like to come back.

118. All our loan keepers this season – Karl, Aaron, Ian and Sam – getting better every time.

119. Andy Butler – Captain Fantastic

120. Dean Smith the Manager aka The Ginger Mourinho – the Great Escape January to May 2011 and the Great Revival December 2012 to (fingers crossed) May 2013.

121. O Febian Brandy, Will Grigg, Jamie Paterson, Nicky Featherstone, James Baxendale and Ben Purkiss, Andy Taylor and Craig Westcarr, Adam and James Chambers, Sam Mantom and Paul Downing.

He’s Dean and he’s Holden and he’s N0 5, George Bowerman, Mal Benning and all the ones for the future – sexy football.

122. 19 December 1998 – Walsall 1 Stoke 0. Neil Pointon’s cross for Andy Rammell’s phenomenal diving header to seal the win and my new-born son’s middle name was sorted.

123. My boys – When you are a football-supporting parent there is always a moment of immense pride when you realise that you’ve passed it onto your children and they are hooked in just the same way as you were.

I’m proud to say I’m the father of three Saddlers supporting sons.

124. Friends – As a Saddler I’ve made friends for life (Daz, Al, Evo, Steve, Stubbsy, Ross) who I’ve travelled the country with.

Countless others who might now get the hump cos I haven’t named them personally. You get to see people who you only know through football and people whose names you will never know.

Last Saturday two of the people stood by me (Asps and Belg) were people I stood with at Fellows Park over three decades ago.

Yet we are all part of the Walsall family. I just hope I’ve not forgotten anyone important. And clearly I have left some players and managers out on purpose).

125. So forget what the record books tell you, what the pundits say or the sneers of fans of other clubs, they are only jealous.

Walsall FC are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.

Daimler (Fleetline)


The Daimler Fleet line (known as the Leyland Fleet line from c.1975) is a rear-engine double-decker bus chassis built between 1960 and 1973 in Coventry, Warwickshire, England, and from 1973 until 1980 in Farington, Lancashire, England. However, the last complete vehicle did not enter service until 1983. It was superseded by the Leyland Olympian.
The Fleet line was built mainly for the United Kingdom market, but a number of Fleet lines had been exported to Portugal, South Africa and Hong Kong.
It was the second of three bus models to have a marque name as well as an alphanumeric identity code. The other two were the Fleet line and the Road liner.
Daimler had a long and respected image in the eyes and hearts of many a transport manager as a builder of rock solid and cost effective buses right up the brands disappearance in 1973. Where Leyland was king of the corporate fleets that existed before the creation of the National Bus Company in the late ’60s, Daimler buses were the backbone of most of your Council or Municipal undertakings up and down the land.
Traditional half cab decker’s featuring a lazy Gardner engine, an open rear platform featuring a conductor complete with bell punch machine and leather money satchel evoke many a fond memory of buses.
Leyland had amazed the bus scene with its all new rear engine Atlantean in 1958, and at this time both Leyland and Daimler were bitter rivals in every sense. Not wishing to be outsmarted by the Lancastrian Empire, the good men of Daimler at Radford in Coventry, under William Lyons’ instruction, set upon designing their own rear engine front entrance bus chassis.
A prototype was developed with bodywork by Birmingham based Metro Cammell. A vertical Daimler D6 engine was used with transmission of semi automatic design by Coventry based Self Changing Gears Ltd. After a period of testing and consultation, production versions rolled off the line in 1961 with established Gardner 6LW power units.
Daimler continued to produce traditional half cab buses with its CVG5 and CVG6 throughout most of the 1960s with Northampton Corporation taking the very last ever open platform bus as late as 1968. What made the Fleet line different to its similar looking, Leyland Atlantean, rival! Was the fitting of a drop-centre rear axle as standard, whereas the Leyland only offered it as an expensive option! This allowed lower height bodywork to be fitted where obstructions such as railway bridges dictated the maximum overall height of a bus. It was not long before the Fleet line became a popular chassis with UK operators.

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The Fleet line was a favourite amongst Municipal Corporations. This one is from the vast Birmingham City Transport fleet.

Whereby the Atlantean was Leyland-engine, Daimler remained loyal to Gardner and following the launch of the more powerful and economical 6LX engine range, the Fleet line was soon the only credible alternative to the Atlantean prior to the Bristol VRT. Engine options did change following the creation of British Leyland and the same Atlantean power unit of the 0.680 Leyland engine became optional in the Daimler. After the spectacular flop of the single deck Roadline chassis, the Fleet line was quickly redeveloped to be available as a single deck bus though no where near as popular as the double deck variant.
Leyland remained jealous of Daimler even though they were both now part of the same family; and one or two tactics were played out in order to make the Leyland Atlantean seem a better option. Raw chassis prices were regularly hiked up along with parts costing’s, yet operators continued to buy them partly spurred on by Leyland’s worrying attitude of ‘we know best’.

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Operators still viewed Daimler as a respected concern despite its new parentage and despite some truly disastrous Leyland designs like the 0.500 diesel engine for example. Another event that was seen as a disruption and an attempt to stem the Daimler’s popularity came in 1973.
Owing to the success of the Jaguar XJ6, production was ramped up at Radford, and British Leyland opted to remove all the bus production tooling, after a production run of more than 7000 units, and move it all up to Lancashire – rather than extend the Radford plant. This event caused huge disruption to Fleet line production, and delays soon backed up. Those cunning Leyland men offered readily available Atlantean’s at favourable prices to compensate for delays. Some took the offer but most held out for the Fleet line, but another kick in the teeth for ‘dye in the wool’ Fleet line operators came in the form of the Daimler name being dropped, all future chassis were known as Leyland Fleet line.

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West Midlands PTE bought the Coventry designed Fleet line in huge numbers most with locally made MCW bodywork.
Another sacrificial Leyland Lamb
It was reported that some of the tooling was damaged or broken either before or during the 1973 move to Leyland and it was also alleged that vital parts were missing upon arrival. Delays continued but Fleet line production recommenced and after a trail batch of both Atlantean and Fleet line types, London Transport (LT) placed an order for 679 Fleet lines built to a specification partly dictated by LT.
These proved to be problematic in service though later it was proved that this was caused by LTs refusal to change their engineering plans to match the bus as previous LT designs had been designed bespoke for them right from the drawing board. They were soon withdrawn from service yet dozens of operators snapped them up as soon as they were put on sale.
Other users found them reliable and cheap to run, the ultra long lasting and economical Gardner engines made the Fleet line popular as far north as Scotland or as far east as China who bought them by the hundreds. By 1980 new laws were coming into force relating to safety and noise levels and Leyland stopped production of the Fleet line in July of that year. Leyland had wanted ride of the Fleet line years before and just as the parent company had done with AEC and Bristol despite operator outcry, once great names were killed purely to keep the Leyland name on life support.
Due to bodybuilder backlogs, the last ever Fleet line to enter service rather fittingly went to a Municipal operator – Cleveland Transit in November 1982.

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The Fleet line was the second rear-engine double deck bus chassis to be launched by a UK manufacturer, following Leyland’s introduction of the Atlantean in 1958. From the outset, the Fleet line had a drop-centre rear axle fitted as standard, enabling low-height bodywork to be fitted without necessitating an inconvenient seating layout in part of the upper deck, as was the case with early Atlantean’s. Leyland responded by offering a drop-centre rear axle as an option on the Atlantean, but after the two companies came under the same ownership in 1968, the low-height Atlantean option was discontinued.
The prototype Fleet line was fitted with a Daimler engine, but when production started only the Gardner 6LX or 6LW engines were offered. By 1968 Gardner’s new and more powerful 6LXB was also an option, and in 1970 Leyland’s 0.680 engines became available. Gardner engines had an excellent reputation for reliability and economy while Leyland engines were livelier and thirstier. Most Fleet line customers preferred Gardner engines, but the Leyland engine became popular – particularly for a period in the 1970s when Gardner could not meet demand.
In late 1960s, Daimler developed the longer 36′ double-deck Fleet line which was based on the single-deck Road liner chassis. This chassis had a longitudinally-mounted Cummins engine at the rear offside corner. It was designed mainly for export, but one was built for Walsall Corporation Transport.
In mid-1970s, Leyland developed a special version of the Fleet line, known as the B20, with Leyland 0.690 engine, chimneys on both sides above the engine compartment and reduced noise levels. All of these went to London Transport.
As with many British bus chassis including the comparable Leyland Atlantean, the bodywork was supplied separately by a range of different companies to their own designs, meaning it can be difficult to identify the chassis. Some, but not all, vehicles have a manufacturer’s badge on the rear. A notable difference between the Atlantean and Fleet line is that the front of the engine cover, towards the rear of the lower deck, is sloped at about 10 degrees on the Daimler, but is vertical, with a notch at the top, on the Leyland.
Daimler Fleet line chassis designations started with the letters CR, of which the C is reported to stand for Coventry, and the R stands for Rear-engine. For single-deckers this became SR (although not on the earliest examples which were referred to with the standard CR).
This was followed by a code to indicate the engine fitted: D6 (Daimler 6-cylinder, prototypes only); G6 (Gardner 6-cylinder, more often than not this was expanded to the more specific G6LW, G6LX or G6LXB); L6 (Leyland 6-cylinder); C6 (Cummins 6-cylinder).
The standard length of the Fleet line was 30′ but lengths of 33′ and 36′ were also available, which were sometimes (though not consistently) identified by a suffix of -33 or -36 (sometimes with an oblique stroke in place of the hyphen).
Later Leyland Fleet line chassis designations were different: FE for Fleet line, followed by 30 or 33 (length in feet); A (if applicable) for Air brakes; G for Gardner or L for Leyland engine; R for Right-hand drive.

The prototype London DMS-class Fleet line (left) next to the AEC Route master rear-entrance class which it was meant to replace, but which eventually outlived the DMS in London service
London Transport was the largest British Fleet line operator, whose DMS and DM classes totalled 2,646 vehicles (the last 400 were built as B20s), in addition to the earlier XF (experimental Fleet line) class of eight buses.[1] At the time of delivery of London Transport’s first DM/DMS class Daimler Fleet line (December 1970), the Fleet line was a successful model (when comparing sales against other chassis), more than 3500 Fleet line buses having been produced for other operators.
The DMS and DM-class vehicles were fitted with either Park Royal or MCW bodywork, and were given fleet numbers (DMS 1 – DM 2646) under the drivers’ window on the offside and at the rear of the nearside of the vehicle.
The first vehicle into service was DMS 1 at 0454 on 2 January 1971 from Shepherds Bush Garage on route 220. However, celebrations at the garage meant that the bus left two minutes late and thus DMS 31 at Brixton Garage actually entered first at 0455 on route 95. The last vehicle was DMS 2438 also on 2 January, in 1993, returning home in the dark at 1845. This bus operated a farewell tour between Croydon Garage, Chipstead Valley and Hammond Street, London on special one-day only route 459.
A total of 60 garages operated DMS’s in London. The smallest allocation was at Willesden where just 10 vehicles in total ever operated, and the largest at Croydon with a huge allocation total of 417 spanning a period of twenty years from 1973. In the Croydon example, an allocation could be as short as two months or as long as ten years. Croydon were the last garage to operate the type in normal passenger service in what became known as DMS heartland principally because of the other large operational garages at Brixton, Merton, Sutton, Catford and Thornton Heath.
The first batch of London Fleet lines had Gardner engines, but Leyland engine the majority. The final type of DMS, the B20, appears to have been the least reliable and several were fitted with Iveco engines during the 1980s.
DMS’s proved unpopular in London, mainly due to the slow boarding times compared to those of the open-backed Routemaster class. To counter this, London Transport trialled the AFC (Automated Fare Collection) turnstile entry system on some of the fleet. This was coin operated and was intended as a quicker, second boarding option as an alternative to paying the driver. However, the AFC system proved unpopular due to unreliability and by 1977 the trial had been abandoned.
Maintenance was also another major issue, as the parts became defective much sooner. Maintenance costs for rear-engine, front entrance buses were much higher than the older half-cab models due to the inability to separate the body from chassis for modular overhaul. This was also exacerbated by the presence of a 50% Government grant for new vehicles at the time, rendering withdrawal a cost effective option at or around the time of their first (7 year) recertification for service.
Withdrawal commenced in 1979 with the early vehicles being the first to go, the first to leave the fleet in this way being DMS 251 in February 1979, quickly departing for bus breaker Wombwell Diesels in Yorkshire. The very first vehicle to leave the fleet was DMS 1248 which was completely destroyed by fire whilst in service on route 280A from Sutton Garage in August 1978. In London, the successors of the DMS/DM buses were the Leyland Titan and MCW Metro bus.
Many of the sold Fleet lines were sent to Ensign Bus in Purfleet as a dealer for onward sale or spare parts. So many vehicles were despatched there between 1979 and 1983 that the yards became known as the ‘DMS graveyards’ as not enough buyers could be sought. Often vehicles could not be brought out and so rotted away where they sat.
However, hundreds of London Fleet lines proved popular second-hand purchases for operators throughout Britain from 1979 and during the 1980s, including the aftermath of bus deregulation. In some cases, the special modifications which had been built into the buses to meet London Transport’s own specifications were removed at the request of the purchaser, to improve reliability and restore standardisation with other Fleet lines in their fleets. There was also a number of DMS/DM buses sold for export, many departing for the Far East in Hong Kong. In addition, nearly 50 vehicles found operations in the USA for open-top sightseeing work.
Few vehicles have entered preservation, DMS 1 being with the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, DMS 132, 999, 1051, 1052, 1515, 1601, 1868, 2375, 2456 and appropriately DM 2646 with the Ensign Bus Museum. DM 2646 has been preserved in the Shillibeer livery which it carried back in 1979. DMS1515 is still in its Super car incarnation, from when the Travel card was instigated. 2008 saw a resurgence of fleet lines being bought for preservation and DMS’s 115, 550, 1002, 1911, 2216, and 2357 also reached cherished status, albeit work-in-progress. April 2010 saw DMS2127 enter the ranks of preserved DMS’s, fresh from service at Whipsnade Safari Park.

West Midlands PTE operated over 2,000 Fleet lines of varying types
Second in fleet size was Birmingham Corporation and its successor West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive with well over 1,000 buses, including the first single-deck Fleet lines in 1965. Other constituent municipal fleets – and Midland Red – also contributed Fleet lines to the WMPTE Fleet line fleet to boost the number to over 2,100. The Daimler factory in Coventry was, of course, in the WMPTE area.
West Midlands PTE preferred the Gardner engine, but received 220 Fleet lines with Leyland engines during 1974-76 when Gardner’s were hard to obtain. However, the Leyland’s were found to be less reliable, particularly in the hilly Black Country, and most received Gardner engines during the early 1980s. The 700 or so Fleet lines inherited by West Midlands Travel in 1986 all had Gardner engines and the type lasted with WMT until 1997.
Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive purchased over 500 Fleet lines in addition to a similar number inherited from its constituents (although even in such numbers they were still outnumbered by Atlantean’s). One of these, numbered 583 (BCB 613V) of the Lancashire United (subsidiary of GMPTE) was sold to Chester City Transport in 1992, numbered 79. It remained in regular service until May 2007 and it is now preserved in the Chester City Transport livery that it carried when withdrawn from service. It regularly attends rallies and when withdrawn was believed to have been the last closed top Fleet line in regular stage carriage service in the UK.
South Yorkshire PTE (SYPTE) operated a significant number of Fleet lines during the late 1960s and 1970s. Some were quite short lived although one example ‘1515’ OKW515R saw service in London and Sheffield, then onto private operator Andrews of Sheffield where it served in competition to SYPTE for many years. Preserved in the late 1990s, the vehicle is said to be under local restoration for future bus preservation rally duties.
Another preserved fleet line from SYPTE ‘WWJ754M’ is owned by the Sheffield Transport Group and housed at Sandtoft, a museum near Doncaster. The vehicle was widely applauded as one of the best designs of double Decker bus from the 1970s and is a centrepiece of local rallies. Using Sheffield Transport livery, it is said to be one of the last remaining examples of its type.
SYPTE also saw a number of inherited 1973 ‘L’ registered Fleet lines from Doncaster independents. These were operational on the popular Rotherham to Sheffield route 69 for almost 15 years boasting low floors, large luggage and buggy storage plus blue coloured interior lighting near the cab area.
Most notably though, SYPTE fitted all its vehicles with comfortable sprung leather or fabric seats.
Ending their life with the PTE in the early 1990s, the remaining Fleet lines were placed on short duties between Rotherham bus station and the nearby Asda supermarket formerly at the Eastwood Trading Estate. Upon re-location of the supermarket, the dwindling remaining members of the fleet were sent to Ipswich and Scarborough with the SYPTE choosing Dennis as replacement across the whole county.
Other English PTE’s, plus many fleets in the municipal, such as Cardiff Bus with 90 examples, BET Group, Scottish Bus Group and independent sectors purchased Fleet lines.
Unusual Fleet lines

1 UDH (12)
Walsall Corporation specified some non-standard short-wheelbase Fleet lines, the first of which, 1 UDH [1][2], was only 25 ft 7 in long, had no front overhang and had its entrance behind the front axle. The next 29 vehicles were 27 ft 6 in long with a short front overhang and again only an entrance behind the front axle. The remaining 69 were 28 ft 6 in long, with a narrow entrance in the usual position along with the entrance behind the front axle. 1 UDH had Northern Counties bodywork with wrap-around windscreens on both decks, similar to that specified by Barton Transport on AEC Regents and a Dennis Loline.
Several operators purchased single-deck Fleet lines (Birmingham was the first, in 1965). Rotherham Corporation purchased two 33′ single deck fleet lines with 45 seat Willowbrook dual purpose bodies, no’s 169 and 170. Mexborough and Swinton Traction Company ordered 3 similar vehicles with Marshall Bodywork for White Rose Express services. However they were delivered as Yorkshire Traction 228-230 following the takeover in October 1969. In late 1970, Yorkshire Traction purchased nine 36′ Fleet lines with dual door Walter Alexander W type bodywork, no’s 357-365.
Walsall Corporation purchased one 36′ double-deck Fleet line CRC6 in 1968, which is now preserved.
Unusual engines temporarily fitted by operators in Fleet lines in the 1960s included a Perkins V8 installed in Walsall 8, and a BMMO 10.5 litre unit in Midland Red 5261. Most remarkably, in 1972 a Rolls Royce LPG engine was fitted in Teesside Municipal Transport (ex-Middlesbrough) S470.

bookcover HARPERS-BUS

Two of the many books available.

May I thank Old Buses and Show bus for the use of their pictures. I have not been able to use my own pictures due to problems with my Laptop ( my pictures are on a seperate harddrive which is unavailable to my laptop for reasons unknown to me!) I will get it sorted,

The Great Debate


The Great Debate
The BIG VOTE is over! Scotland have voted to stay in the union of Great Britain, or the United Kingdom, whichever you wish to call it! However! Now that they have made their decision, shouldn’t we get a vote on whether or not we wish to stay as part of that same Union?
Cameron, Clegg and Red Ed, have all said that Scotland will get more powers transferred to Hollyrood, that they will have more control over the running of their country. I hope that means that the Scots are politicians will be kept out of Westminster. That we can run our own affairs without a Scottish prime Minister (because they should be looking after their own) and I know that some of the best Prime ministers we have had were Scots, but times change, and now we need good English men to stand for us!
The Welsh have their own Assembly, the Scots have Hollyrood so the English should have their own place, whether we run Like the American States with an overall government, with each place running its own lives. It may not be fair, until we try we won’t know, will we? I for one am going to be very interested in what Cameron comes up with not for the Scots, Welsh or Northern Irish, but for us English.
Would we, if given the same vote that the Scots had yesterday, have voted the same! I think maybe not. I think that maybe we would have voted to get away from the moaners (like Salmon and Sturgeon) who get more money per person than us to pay for the NHS, schools etc.
If they (the fishy pair) had won their freedom from the rest of the U.K (Their words, not mine) they would have been calling for the terrible Three to resign, bet that they don’t even consider doing that. They actually made such a bad job of things, during this Referendum, that if I was a member of the SNP I would want them to go.
I look forward to the next few months, so that we can see what the TT, cobble together to appease The Public, whichever country we were born in. We certainly deserve a better kind of person to represent us in Parliament. Most of them are self cantered and self first self last once we elect them.
The worst thing for me is the way that they run each other down! Take our prospective parliamentary candidate who recently ran a blog about big a pension pot the sitting member would have when he retires. However there was no mention of the sitting MP in the neighbouring seat, who has been an MP for almost as long, and should have a pension pot as big.
STOP PRESS: The news has overtaken my blog. Salmon had just announced that he has quit as leader (Sturgeon must follow)

Harpers Fleet List


Harpers of Heath Hayes.

These are the fleet and registration numbers of buses I have managed to trace . There are quite a few others missing from the list so I would appreciate any assistance in adding to the list! I would also maybe like to add make and maybe body manufacturer, again if anyone has this information (I will give you a mention, same goes for pictures if you have them) You can contact me via via the usual.
Number Registration
F/N  Reg/No
1     JXN349
3     OLD820

OLD820
3     HRA714
4     KXW284

Harper Bros KXW - Copy
7     KYY770

Harpers(1) KKT770
7     OLD620
8     BDJ802

BDJ802
9     BDJ807

BDJ807
11    888DUK

Harper bros 888 (2) - Copy
11    LRF932F
14    LDE340

LDE-340_
21    1032E

Harper bros 1023E (2)
23    NRF349F
24    LRF992F
25    SBF233
26     LRF993F
27     HBF679D

HBF679 - Copy
28     HBF680D
29     JBF405H

JBF405H
30     JBF406H

JBF406H
31     BRE311J

BRE
32     BRE312J
33     MRF947

MRF847
33     TRE948L
34     TRE949L
44     TRE824

TRE824
47     NRF420L
48     VRF629

VRF629
49     VRF630
50     XRE726
51     28RRF
52     MRF417L
53     MRF418L
53    JDK80
57     ARE710J
57     1291RE
58     1292RE

1292 RE
58     ARE711J
59     1293RE

Harper Bros 59 - Copy
60     1294RE

Harper Bros 60
61      SBF447J
64     SBF218J
78     SBF217J
62     FBF794H
63     FBF791H
65     OBF593J
66     LBF663H
72     ARE713J
74     FBF793H
77     FBF792H
67     PBF199M
68     ORF457F
69     ORF458F
75      ORF459F
76     ORF460F
70      VRE698G
73     WRE336G
51     LRF220K
67     PBF199M
54     MRF419L

MRF
55      MRF420L

mrfb
56      MRF421L
42     TRE251

Fleet numbers not known to:
BDJ808

BDJ808
JUA762

HWA714

HWA-714_

 

I would love ex employees to contact me with information, as an ex Brownhills Boy who used to catch Harpers at Pear Tree Lane and an ex Walsall corporation employee, it would be great. i would love to have a go at Walsall Corporation but may find that it would be just to big a job! but who Knows! i may be able to do something, well see!

Cecil George Harper


Cecil George Harper was born 1897 at Five Ways, Cannock (36 Hednesford Road was the home address, the approximate location of Harpers Heath Hayes garage). His parents were Edward Joseph Harper (b 1866, Birmingham – Kings Norton registration district) and Ellen Elizabeth Harper nee Cooper (b. 1871 Brownhills). They married in 1896 in Cannock district.

OFFSPRING of Edward and Ellen Harper
There was another brother, Eric J Harper, b. 1900 d. 1906. (I have to assume that he was a twin of Victor)

Victor Edward, b.  1900
Albert Edwin, b. . 1903
Eileen, b.. 1908

Felix, b.  1909  he died in  2000)
Mary, b. 1911. ?

Cecil’s  parents were Edward Joseph Harper (b. 1866, Birmingham – Kings Norton registration district) and Ellen Elizabeth Harper nee Cooper (b. 1871 Brownhills). They married . 1896 in Cannock district.

Hednesford Road, Heath Hayes, Cannock
•The bus operations of Harper Brother (Heath Hayes) Limited were started in 1922 by Cecil Harper, initially trading under the name Gloria-de-Luxe, and grew to become the largest independent stage carriage operator in the West Midlands with a fleet of 50 vehicles in the late 1960s.

The business of Harper Brothers (Heath Hayes) Limited, and its wholly owned subsidiary Tudor Rose Coaches of Sutton Coldfield were acquired by Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC) on 22nd April 1974. The company’s garage at Hednesford Road, fifty vehicles, and eighty-nine full-time staff transferred to Midland Red at this time, including Mr. Brian Harper who was appointed Area Engineer (Eastern) with Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC) on 1st August 1974.
• Control formally passed to Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC) on 7th September 1974.
• Site closed on 6th February 1977, as the premises were considered inadequate and shabby. Vehicles and services transferred to new premises, Cannock depot.
• Used as an ATS tyre depot.
• Demolished June 2003.

Not much more information available to search, unless someone out there knows any different. I would appreciate any information given. Especially of the staff as I worked on Walsall Corporation Buses, some of my friends and work colleagues also went to work for Harpers and Midland Red.Harper Bros TRF - Copy

I would like to publish more about Harpers but like Stevensons of Utoxeter, Green Bus company Cheslyn Hay and Middletons of Rugeley, all local bus company’s, there is not a lot of information about.

 

 

Britain will pay the price for shafting the working class


This article, believe it or believe it not, first appeared in of all newspapers ‘THE GUARDIAN’  on Friday 13th December 2013

Britain will pay the price for shafting the working class
The middle class has taken over, and the price we’re paying is the destruction of all we hold dear

Of the attributes Britons hold dear, the most potent is stability. Our traditions endure, institutions survive. We seem loth to countenance revolution. And yet we have experienced a coup d’etat of sorts and the question must be asked: just when did the middle classes take untrammelled control of the levers? It always was a force; but now there is hegemony. Today, a glimpse of what has happened to the vanquished.

According to the conservative think-tank Policy Exchange, the under-representation of people from working-class backgrounds in public spheres such as parliament and magistrates courts can be reasonably described as shameful. It suggests an inquiry is necessary, perhaps run by the government equalities office and the equality and human rights commission. One can disagree with its diagnosis of the problem. Policy Exchange, true to its leaning, says the diversity policies of the last Labour government were too narrow – too much focus on race and gender – but that feels like scratching at the surface. Still, who can dispute that the problem exists?

One can look to the figures. According to the Sutton Trust think-tank – which focuses on social mobility – 68% of “leading public servants” went to private schools. It says 63% of leading lawyers were privately educated, as were 60% of the upper ranks of the armed forces. Independent schools produce more than half of the nation’s leading journalists, diplomats, financiers and business people. Policy Exchange says just 4% of MP’s  previously worked in manual trades.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to a would-be Labour councillor: a busy man; a professional. So busy that he thought the task of actually campaigning to get himself elected might be too time-consuming. So he placed an advert online seeking someone to do his campaigning for him. The powers that be took a dim view and the ad was promptly withdrawn, but I took to wondering what the councillors I knew in Newham in London, where I grew up and was a cub reporter, would have thought of him.

These were people who had graduated to the council having been shop stewards and tenants’ association leaders. Charlie, the taxi driver; Lew, the tube driver; Jim, the car plant worker. I think of activists such as Sue, the diffident single mother who galvanised the residents in one tower block and then another and then built a campaign that culminating in a clutch of dangerous tower blocks being demolished. There were working-class people in representative positions, voicing the concerns of people from their communities. Fewer now. What happened?

Thatcherism happened. The social geographer Danny Dorling details how the grocer’s daughter from Grantham fractured the post-war reality of the poor becoming less poor and the narrowing of the gap between the very poor and very rich. “By the time Thatcher left office in 1990, the annual incomes of the richest 0.01% of society had climbed to 70 times the national mean.” For them to win, as they did under Thatcher and New Labour, others had to lose. Those who lost most were working-class communities.

With their institutions unravelled and a daily battle for subsistence, how are they to seek office in meaningful numbers? With what support? There are excellent groups building capacity, such as Citizens UK, but still the fundamental problem remains. Dorling recently estimated that of the bottom 50% of people in Britain by income “all are financially insecure”. How is that a springboard?

The total capture of the professions by the middle classes happened. Take journalism. I entered national journalism 27 years ago with no degree – just a year’s college training, funded by a council grant, and after an apprenticeship on the Newham Recorder. That was when journalism was a trade, not a profession, and there were routes of entry for other than the middle classes. People took those routes to senior positions in our industry. With the middle class self-selecting, we wouldn’t stand a chance today.

The country ticks along, stable and first-world prosperous. So why does the absence of working-class representation matter? Because it conflicts with everything we say we want for Britain: inclusion, fairness, equality of opportunity. Because without the broadest input, our institutions become myopic; our democracy atrophied. Isn’t that the story of the last 30 years?

Twitter: @hugh_muir

• This article was amended on 13 December 2013. It originally stated that the Sutton Trust had found that 68% of public servants were privately educated. This should have read “leading public servants” – the missing word has now been added, along with a link to the study