Classic Buses Profiles; ALDERSHOT & DISTRICT DENNIS LANCETS


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Last updated 28 December 2016

This page is dedicated to the extensive fleet of Dennis Lancets operated by Aldershot & District Traction Company Ltd. in Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex both before and after the second world war.

A&D Dennis Lancet No.114

The archetypal post-war Aldershot & District Dennis Lancet with Strachans bodywork. This is one of the twenty three Lancet III buses purchased in 1949 and typifies the styling with which the type was known for decades. No.114 (GOU 814) is seen on Route 17 in Castle Street, Farnham in the late 1950s. Many thanks to Peter Trevaskis for the fine picture, via the Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group. See further down this page for a picture of the same vehicle after retirement and conversion to a service lorry.


INTRODUCTION AND CREDITS

Aldershot & District Traction Company (known affectionately as "Tracco") operated more than 300 Dennis Lancet buses and coaches over the years, with the first example being acquired in 1932. What follows is an attempt to create a brief history of the type, in the form of records and images designed to give even the casual reader some impression of the development and classic styling of this extensive fleet.

The company's predecessor, Aldershot & Farnborough Motor Omnibus Co., was formed in 1906, and adopted the A & D name in 1912, acquiring its first Dennis bus in 1916.

For many years A & D favoured products from the local firm of Dennis Bros. Ltd., Guildford. Similarly, bodywork for the majority of their vehicles for around 30 years came from the firm of Strachans Successors Ltd., of North Acton, London W3 (originally known as Strachans and Brown). The resultant Dennis / Strachans styling for their halfcab single deckers became synonymous with A & D and was immediately identifiable as one of their distinctive fleet. Five of the breed survive today in preservation, one pre-war example and four post-war.

Initially the vehicles were identified by the prefix "D" (representing "Dennis") added to the company chassis number. This was shown in small characters, usually on the bonnet. In late 1950 / early 1951 this practice was dropped, and a larger "list number" was displayed on the front and back of the vehicle. This was effectively a fleet number, and bore no relation to the previous numbering system.

Aldershot & District No.181

From the company's last batch of halfcab Lancets, this is No.181 (HOU 907) in the mid 1960s, possibly at Guildford or Hindhead depots. Photographer unknown.

Owners of pictures, when known, are credited, and their use is much appreciated. However the photographers of some pictures are not shown on the original photograph, and therefore are not known to me. Whoever they were I thank them, and if they contact me with their names they will of course be credited. If a rightful owner wishes me to remove any image, it will be done forthwith. However I hope that photographers (or copyright holders) will permit the use of these fine pictures in their proper context.

All batches are arranged in order of delivery.

My thanks to the Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group for their assistance, and do visit their website for more information.

As with my other lists, there are bound to be mistakes, and some relevant information may be missing so, in order to make it as accurate a reference as possible, I would of course welcome any additions or corrections.


FLEET LIST

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DENNIS LANCET BUS  -  D348 (Total 1)

Built; 1932

Chassis: Dennis Lancet I, 4-cylinder petrol engine.

Body: Strachans B32R with rear roof luggage rack.

Notes; Aldershot & District's first Dennis Lancet.


DENNIS LANCET BUSES  -  D349-350 (Total 2)

Built; 1932

Chassis: Dennis Lancet I, 4-cylinder petrol engine.

Body: Strachans B32R


DENNIS LANCET COACHES  -  D351-362 (Total 12)

1932 A&D Lancet D356 (CG 1322)

Lancet D356 (CG 1322) probably at Guildford depot shortly before its withdrawal from service in 1948, with a similar example alongside. Photo by M.C.Lawson, via Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group.

Built; 1932

Chassis: Dennis Lancet I, 4-cylinder petrol engine.

Body: Strachans C30R

Notes; All used as wartime ambulances from 1939, but returned to service 1945-46. All withdrawn in 1948.


DENNIS LANCET COACHES  -  D363-D364 (Total 2)

Built; Early 1934

Chassis: Dennis Lancet I, petrol engine.

Body: Strachans C30R

Notes; Later had large roof luggage panniers fitted. Both withdrawn in 1948.


DENNIS LANCET COACHES  -  D391-399 (Total 8)

A&D Lancet D395 (CG 9600)

Clearly Lancet D395 (CG 9600) is being made ready for disposal, with the A&D titles already painted over and destination blinds removed, so this photo was probably taken in 1949. These vehicles show few differences from the 1932 deliveries, apart from a full-length roof pannier. Photo by M.C.Lawson, via Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group.

Built; 1935

Chassis: Dennis Lancet I

Body: Strachans C30R

Notes; All used as wartime ambulances from 1939, but returned to service 1945-46. All withdrawn 1948-49.


DENNIS LANCET BUSES  -  D407-425 (Total 19)

Aldershot & District No.667

Lancet No.667 (AOT 600) in the late 1950s when being used by a showman. (Photo via Bristol Vintage Bus Group)

Built; 1936

Chassis: Dennis Lancet I, petrol engine.

Body: Strachans B30R. Most were rebodied by Vincent of Reading as B32R in 1948-49, using interior fittings from old Strachans bodies.

Notes; All used as wartime ambulances from 1939, but returned to service 1944-46. Most converted to oil engines in the late 1940s.


DENNIS LANCET BUSES  -  D427-D436 / 674-677, 683 (Total 10)

Aldershot & District No.676

Lancet No.676 (BAA 389) in the late 1950s when being used by a showman. (Photo via Bristol Vintage Bus Group)

Built; 1936

Chassis: Dennis Lancet I, petrol engine.

Body: Strachans B32R. Two were rebodied post-war by Strachans as B32R. Three others were rebodied by Vincent of Reading as B32R in 1948-49, using interior fittings from old Strachans bodies.


DENNIS LANCET II BUSES  -  D437-456 (Total 20)

A&D Lancet D441 (BOT 292)

Lancet D441 (BOT 292), nearing the end of its service around 1950, from the first batch of Lancet II vehicles, with the revised style of radiator grille. This delivery had a more 'modern' appearance, very much like the post-war vehicles that were to follow. Photo by M.C.Lawson, via The Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group.

Gordon Oram wrote to say "This bus is probably parked in the old station yard at Guildford. It has been on route 65 which went from Guildford to the village of Puttenham. The route went into Compton off the A3 where the bus had to turn round before continuing its journey. I can remember many trips in the early 1950s on this route to an aunt who lived in Puttenham. The route ran every hour and the yellow bus services had a route that ran hourly from Guildford to Farnham through Puttenham and Seale (not going down to Compton). This gave the village a half hourly service."

Built; 1936-37

Chassis: Dennis Lancet II, petrol engine.

Body: Strachans B32R, but built to virtual coach standard, some with full-length roof luggage pannier.


DENNIS LANCET II COACHES  -  D498-510 / 755-767 (Total 13)

Built; 1937-38

Chassis: Dennis Lancet II, 6.5 litre Dennis O4 oil engine.

Body: Strachans C32R with no roof luggage pannier.

Notes; Intended for the Farnham-London service. All were withdrawn 1953-54.


DENNIS LANCET II BUSES  -  D511-D538 / 768-795 (Total 28)

Aldershot & District No.772

Lancet No.772 (COR 168) in the late 1950s when in use as a caravan. (Photo via Bristol Vintage Bus Group)

Built; 1938

Chassis: Dennis Lancet II, 6.5 litre Dennis O4 oil engine.

Body: Dennis B32R


DENNIS LANCET II BUSES  -  D543-D581 / 804-842 (Total 39)

Seen around 1950 is Lancet 805 (DHO 268) with a Strachans body on Route 19 to Aldershot. Photo by kind permission of PM Photography, Camberley.

As a comparison with the photo above, Lancet 816 (DHO 279) has a Dennis-built body. Does anyone recognise the location? Photo by Norman Hamshere, Guildford.

Paul Wyatt kindly emailed to say "The Bus is parked at the arrival point at the Aldershot Bus Station. The fence on the right of the photo is that of the Railway Station yard, and the building behind the bus is the South Western Hotel. The buses would draw into the Bus Station and they would set down their passengers at this point, later marked on the tarmac as Setting Down Bay; the crew would go off for a brew or change routes, the new crew moving onto the bay." Thank you Paul.

Built; Late 1939 / early 1940.

Chassis: Dennis Lancet II, Gardner 5LW oil engine.

Body: Nineteen (the first six, and the last thirteen) had Strachans B32R bodies, and the other twenty had virtually identical Dennis B32R bodies.


DENNIS LANCET II BUSES  -  D598-D605 / 859-866 (Total 8)

Aldershot & District No.860

Lancet No.860 (ECG 381) around 1950. (Photo Roy Marshall via East Pennine Transport Group)

Built; 1941-42 ("unfrozen" chassis)

Chassis: Dennis Lancet II, Gardner 5LW oil engine.

Body: Strachans B32R or B32F

Notes: Aldershot & District were fortunate to be able to take delivery of these 'unfrozen' wartime buses which were virtually identical to their peacetime specifications. All were renumbered in 1951.


DENNIS LANCET III BUS  -  D606 / 887 (Total 1)

Aldershot & District No.887

As part of press demonstration of this Dennis Lancet III prototype, EOR 743 (wearing trade plates 659 PB) is seen here having climbed a 1 in 4.5 hill at Shottermill, near Haslemere in May 1945. Photographer unknown.

Aldershot & District No.887

The one-off Lancet III prototype when in service as No.887 (EOR 743) in the early 1950s. Seen at Aldershot bus station on a short working of Route 6 to Bordon Camp. Photographer unknown.

Built; Early 1945

Chassis: Dennis Lancet III, Dennis "O6" 7.585 litre direct-injection 6-cylinder oil engine.

Body: Dennis B32R

Notes; The first Lancet III built by Dennis (prototype).


DENNIS LANCET III BUSES  -  D607-656 / 894-943 (Total 50)

A & D Lancet No.923

This is one of the fifty Lancet III buses purchased immediately after the war and typifies the styling with which the type was known for decades. No.923 (EOU 464) had originally been numbered D636. It claims to be going to "Hindhead, via Hindhead", and Geoff Baker tells me he is sure the location is the drive up to Hindhead Depot, known as "the slope" (Geoff Courtnage wrote to say that he agrees with this location). Photo; thanks to Peter Trevaskis, via the Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group.

Martin Grinstead wrote "Just a short note on EOU 464. I think the destination blind is correct but probably reads 'Hindhead Golf Club via Hindhead'. This was an extra part of route 19 to allow passengers to get to Beacon Hill, which was the busiest part of the route from Haslemere. Another route was the 19A during the summer, which ran all the way to Bognor via Chichester bus station."

Built; December 1946 to June 1948

Chassis: Dennis Lancet III J3, Dennis "O6" 7.585 litre direct-injection 6-cylinder oil engine.

Body: Strachans B32R, some with rear roof luggage pannier.


DENNIS LANCET III BUSES & COACHES -  D 657-700 / 944-987 (Total 44)

A&D Lancet 983 (GAA 619). Photo by Nigel Lemon

Lancet No.983 (GAA 619) seen at Windsor on 16 June 1961, during its last season of service with A & D. Later that year it was to be sold, and relegated to carrying workers as a contractors' bus. Photo by kind permission of Nigel Lemon.

Built; 1948-49

Chassis: Dennis Lancet III J3, Dennis "O6" 7.585 litre direct-injection 6-cylinder oil engine.

Body: The first 29 had Strachans B32R bus bodies, delivered between June 1948 and March 1949; the last 15 had C32R coach bodies but were delivered concurrently with the early buses during 1948.

Notes; For express services. Most withdrawn around 1961.


DENNIS LANCET III BUSES  -  D707-D729 / 101-123 (Total 23)

Aldershot & District No.103

Lancet No.103 (GOU 803) in the 1950s (Photo origin unknown). Gordon Oram tells me "The photo of 103 is taken at Woking Station bus stand one. The bus is on route 64 which ran every 2 hours via Westfield and Mayford to Pirbright Fox Corner as it was known 50 or so years ago, now just known as Fox Corner. I often used to travel on this route out to my home at Westfield. The hoarding on the wall behind the bus is an advert for Moldram, Clark and Edgley which was an estate agent for the town."

Aldershot & District No.114 as a service lorry

Lancet No.114 (GOU 814), seen in full glory at the top of this page, was withdrawn in 1961 and became a service lorry with the entire rear body cut away. Here we see it at its base, Hindhead depot, on 12 April 1968 in its new guise as No.38 with trade plates, alongside 1954 AEC Reliance 271 (MOR 602). Originally from a batch of 25, Reliance 271 was not one of the 15 rebuilt with Weymann bus bodies for further service in 1965-67, and still retains its Strachan "Everest" coach body, but it remained in the fleet until the end of 1968. It was then sold to a building contractor in Warrington for workers' transport. Photo by kind permission of Peter Esposito, via Chris Stanley.

Built; 1949

Chassis: Dennis Lancet III J3, Dennis "O6" 7.585 litre direct-injection 6-cylinder oil engine.

Body: Strachans B32R, some with rear roof luggage panniers.

Notes; All still active in 1956, but all gone by 1961.


DENNIS LANCET J10 BUSES  -  D778, D780-D790 / 173, 175-185 (Total 12)

A&D Dennis Lancet No.178

Lancet No.178 (HOU 904) photographed especially for this website by Chris Wagstaff at Matlock Bus Station on 1 Dec 2007. The only survivor of this batch, it has been beautifully restored, and had brought visitors into Matlock for the annual Christmas Victorian Weekend.

Aldershot & District No.184

Lancet No.184 (HOU 910) in the 1960s at Woking Station (Photo origin unknown). Gordon Oram again informs me "The picture of 184 is again definitely at Woking Station. The buses often used to park up the road from the actual 5 or 6 bus stops until it was time for the pick up. This appears to be what 184 is doing. I well remember the wooden fencing and have spent hours of my early teenage years there watching both trains and buses."

Built; 1950

Chassis: Dennis Lancet III J10, Dennis "O6" 7.585 litre direct-injection 6-cylinder oil engine. 30 foot chassis.

Body: Strachans B38R, 30 feet long x 8 feet wide, with no roof luggage panniers.

Notes; These were the last Lancets to receive A&D 'list numbers', and by 1967 the surviving examples may well have been the last halfcab single-deckers still in service within the BET group. The arrival of these first 30 foot vehicles for A & D coincided with the publicity surrounding the mighty Bristol Brabazon airliner that had just been produced at Bristol (Filton) aerodrome. So, due to their size, they were known as "Brabs". HOU 900 was left out of the sequence as this registration was allotted to a sole Dennis Dominant, No.174.

D783 (HOU 904) is the sole survivor.


DENNIS LANCET J10C COACHES  -  188-202 (Total 15)

Aldershot & District No.230

Lancet No.195 (LAA 230) possibly at Farnham depot. (Photo Roy Marshall via East Pennine Transport Group)

Built; June/July 1953

Chassis: Dennis Lancet J10C

Body: Strachans full-front FC38R, 30 feet long x 8 feet wide. Some reclassified as dual-purpose FDP38R for use on bus services from 1961.

Notes; A & D's last front-engined Lancets. All withdrawn around 1963.


TOTAL 307  ( with 5 survivors - D452, D657, D693, D783, 196 )

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