Southend Corporation Bus Fleet
Daimler CWA6 with Duple or Brush utility bodies, delivered between 1943 and 1945, 230-235 rebodied by Massey in 1952.
A major influx of buses during the war introduced Southend to Daimler chassis, starting a long association with the Coventry manufacturer. Between 1943 and 1945 no less than 18 new Daimler CWA6's were allocated to the Corporation, all with lowbridge utility bodies. The complete series was numbered 218-35; 218-23 and 230-5 had Duple bodies, while 224-9 were bodied by Brush. Utility buses were built to a very rigid and spartan specification and their allocation was closely controlled by the Ministry of Supply.
The lowbridge decker, with its four abreast seating and offside gangway upstairs, was a characteristic of the Southend fleet from 1932 until the withdrawal of 316 in April 1978 eliminated the type. There was never any real need for the trolleys to be low height and prior to the coordination agreement the High Street railway bridge was the only major obstacle for highbridge buses. After 1955 though lowbridge buses were to prove useful when the Corporation assumed operation of the 7, 8 & 8A, with their low bridges at Rochford, Hawkwell and Hockley.
Scrapyard view of 228
The wartime Daimlers were worked hard and their body timbers were not of the best quality. Consequently by 1952, when they had worked an average of 275,000 miles each, their bodies were in need of expensive reconstruction. Permission was sought for a loan to enable 12 to be rebodied, but the Minister would only permit 6 to be done. As a result 230-5 received new Massey bodies in 1952. The remainder were repaired but all had been withdrawn by 1958 (save for 226, which lingered until 1960).
The rebodies fared better, remaining in service until 1965 in most cases. Indeed 231 clocked up 691,596 miles in its 21 year life!
Many thanks to Richard Delahoy for his kind permission to include extracts from his book in this page and to Paul Harrison, Ian Banks, Brian Pask and John Kaye for supplying some of the photos.