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'Brown Bombers'

Bere Regis coaches no longer ply their journeys along the highways and byways of Dorset but they are not forgotten. Thousands of now grown up ex-Dorset school kids remember them as this company took them regularly to and from school. Down some of the county’s lanes on such journeys, low hanging branches could be a particular hazard. Nicknamed the ‘brown bombers’, because of their distinctive brown livery, others remember Bere Regis & District coaches for their remarkably low fares.

Founded in 1929 and trading for over 60 years, the company was, at one time, one of the largest independent coach businesses in the country. In the 1960s, it had over 90 vehicles.

Bere Regis & District’s business model enabled it to offer some fares at up to 50% below other companies. Many of the vehicles were second hand and therefore were beginning to come towards the end of their working lives. Engineering staff would take parts from one vehicle to ensure another remained roadworthy. It was said that if a Ministry of Transport official was known to be in the district any vehicle in poor condition would be driven out into the countryside and parked. Driver pay rates were lower than competitors particularly nationalised businesses such as Wilts & Dorset and Southern National. On scheduled services, there would simply be a piece of paper stuck on the windscreen detailing the vehicle’s final destination.

The company’s Blandford depot was at No. 1, East Street facing the junction of Damory Street and East Street. There were other depots including those at Bere Regis, Sherborne, Wimborne and Dorchester.

It is now more than 20 years since the ‘brown bombers’ were last seen in the county but they are still remembered with much affection.

(Source: Bere Regis & District by Andrew Waller)

Comments

  1. I use to go to Dorchester college from Shaftesbury back I 84 to 85 there were some old bangers

    ReplyDelete
  2. Our Bere Regis bus to Sherborne from Holwell, usually a Leyland half-cab was driven by the splendid Bert Sibley.

    ReplyDelete

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