Brutonian Bus Company Vehicle Pictures and History – Part 2

Chris Knubley’s Ownership – 1979-Late 1986 (inclusive)

Research completed in August 2010 by Paul Welling, Michael Wadman and Ian Trotter. This is the second of four Vehicle Pictures and History Documents covering the three different owners of Brutonian Bus Company. The names under the pictures own the copyright. There are more pictures online and you can get in touch by contacting Paul Welling.


Ian Trotter

XTA838 at Brutonian yard in 79

Michael Wadman

XTA838 at Brutonian yard in 79 (KEH445D left, 217UYC right)

Martyn Hearson

XTA838 at Brutonian yard in 80 (MMR552 behind)

History (not allocated a Vehicle List Number)

  • 58 – New to Devon General

  • Jan 71 - Passed to Western National with their takeover of Devon General

  • May 71 – Acquired by Monk & Allday, Fowey, Cornwall

  • Mar 75 – Acquired by Rees (Lands End Coaches), St Just, Cornwall

  • Apr 79 – Acquired by Brutonian

  • By Jan 84 – Not operated and disposed of to be used for spares by Richard Holladay (Devon Red Bus) who restored XTA839

Technical information

  • B31F

  • Chassis – Albion Nimbus NS3N

  • Body – Willowbrook


XTA838 stood at the back of the yard and was forgettable. It never ran and was one of two vehicles purchased within less than twelve months from Rees of St Just. 839 has been preserved in original Devon General colours from 58.

Chris Knubley may have had a yard clearout in autumn 82 after the four Bristol REs arrived due to lack of space and possibly 8087TE went at the same time. 838 was acquired by Richard Holladay for spares for XTA839, which started Richard Holladay's 'Red Bus Services' fleet in the early 80s. At one point both vehicles were in the Brutonian yard, presumably 839 was being worked on with parts moving across from 838.

B & D Rees acquired the ex-Devon General Nimbus. The Lands End Coaches name started to appear when they acquired their first Roadliner in May 76. This lasted 18 months before disappearing over the cliffs near Mousehole. KEH445D was their second Roadliner, and was sold to Chris Knubley after 9 months, followed by the Nimbus at the beginning of 79."The company ceased trading in May 80, but by that time only had a Commer minibus.


Ian Trotter

GAX5C on route 4 in c80

R Marshall

GAX5C outside the Brutonian workshop in c81

Michael Wadman

GAX5C at Gillingham Station (Gordon Tozer driving) in Aug 87

Ian Trotter

GAX5C in the yard c87 (OHU768F left)

History of Vehicle List Number 18

  • Oct 65 – New to Red & White

  • Apr 78 – Acquired by National Welsh

  • Jun 79 – Acquired from National Welsh by Brutonian Bus Co

  • May 88 – Withdrawn

  • Feb 89 – Disposed of to Jones, High Wycombe (dealer)

  • Nov 89 – Acquired by Northern Bus, Anston (not operated)

  • Jan 90 – Disposed of to PVS, Carlton (dealer) and believed to be scrapped

Technical information

  • B54F

  • Chassis – Bristol RELL6G 222117

  • Body – ECW


GAX5C was good runner for Brutonian. It was involved in an accident which required the front end to be rebuilt by Chris Knubley. Both the front windscreens were replaced after one of the originals was smashed. Brutonian couldn’t find the large bus windows and purchased the smaller coach windscreens, which required them to build new windscreen mountings. Compare the levels of the top and bottom edges of the windscreens relative to other features of the bodywork to see the difference. The second time the windscreen was smashed it was believed to be due to a British Rail truck reversing into it.

Although the coach windscreens fit quite well, it must have involved quite a lot of work, and spare windscreens for the bus body must have been difficult to obtain by the 1980s.

In 81 GAX had the engine lowered to replace the gearbox or some other major mechanical work. This was their first Bristol RE and proved to be a popular chassis, as they purchased a further 6 after this one.


Michael Wadman

CYA181J in Brutonian yard after arriving in Jun 79 (GAX5C left)

Martyn Hearson

CYA181J refuelling outside the Brutonian workshop c80

Keith Newton

CYA181J in front of Longleat house in Mar 87

Paul Welling

CYA181J at Quantock Motor Services in May 10

History of Vehicle List Number 19

  • 71 – New to Hutchings & Cornelius, South Petherton

  • Jun 79 – Acquired by Brutonian Bus Co from H&C

  • May 88 – Acquired by Chiltern Queens, Woodcote near Reading for £800

  • Jun 92 – Acquired by Knotty Bus Co (also number 19)

  • By Sep 00 – Disposed of to Paritrans, Cotes Heath (dealer)

  • By May 01 – Acquired by Rexquote of Bishops Lydeard, Taunton (became Quantock Motor Services in Mar 04) at Winkleigh base

  • Oct 09 – Moved from Winkleigh for preservation assessment with Quantock Motor Services, Taunton

  • Jun 10 – Re-acquired by Martyn Hearson (formerly of Knotty Bus and Coach) and moved from QMS to Staffordshire

Technical information

  • B47F

  • Chassis – AEC Reliance 6MU3R

  • Body – Plaxton Derwent


CYA181J was the smartest and newest in the fleet in 79. It was mainly run on Route 12 with John (Jack) Holland, who didn’t like it! He preferred the bus he had used on the route for several years, BND 877C, a Leyland Panther Club. However, BND suffered a fate that many Brutonian buses; it was parked up because it needed expensive repairs. It was never to run again, so Jack was stuck with CYA. Jack was in his 60s and a heavy pipe smoker; the cab of the bus stank! Jack wanted a bus to please his passengers and for him CYA was too step an entry, he preferred the dropped floor of BND.

CYA181J is a remarkable vehicle, because it has lasted the challenges of time of nearly 40 years of service. All four companies that ran it (H&C, Brutonian, Chiltern Queens and Knotty) have all gone, but CYA goes on. Stephen Morris of Quantock Motor Services had it moved up from Winkleigh, Devon in Oct 09 and kept it at their Taunton site, before selling it back to Martyn Hearson to be preserved in Knotty livery. It was moved to Staffordshire on 15 Jun 2010 for restoration.

The curved paint line on the front was carried on from the original Brutonian livery. Pics of 217UYC (old ones), OVL495 and YYB118 they each had cream paintwork on the lower section of the body work. For practical reasons, the lower bodywork section was painted blue on later buses. It's pretty muddy on those Somerset country lanes! It was sold onto Chiltern Queens for £800 because it needed work on to the outriggers between the chassis and the body.

This bus was always a challenge to drive, if the revs weren't right you could put the clutch in till the cows come home and it would still crunch! Getting reverse was also not for the fainthearted! Originally it was fitted with a 5 speed synchromesh box, Knotty had to resort to a 6 speed constant mesh. However, in it's new guise, it was capable of near on 70, at which point the body seemed close on parting with the chassis!

Martyn Hearson of Knotty went originally to buy former H&C TYD 122G in Jun 92, but opted for CYA when comparing entrance arrangements in the light of it's proposed usage. After the sale of the Knotty business, Martyn retained the bus, but later sold it on to preservationist Steve Morris of Taunton. CYA didn't fit in with either the modern day fleet or the Heritage operation of Quantock Motor Services and was parked up for several years. In Oct 09 it was driven up to Taunton from Winkleigh and in May 10, QMS downsized and Martyn re-acquired the bus for restoration in Knotty livery.


Michael Wadman

WYD928H on the workshop ramp in 80

Ian Trotter

WYD928H on service 58 at Sunny Hill School cSep 80 after the front end was rebuilt

Ian Trotter

WYD928H on Route 8 (not 2) to Salisbury c81

Paul Welling

WYD928H in Shobdon on 30 Jan 10

History of Vehicle List Number 20

  • Nov 69 – New to Hutchings & Cornelius, South Petherton

  • Jul 79 – Acquired by Brutonian

  • Sep 82 – Withdrawn?

  • Oct 87 – Disposed of to Wacton, Bromyard and parked at Shobdon

  • May 10 – Scrapped after being parked up 28 years

Technical information

  • B45F

  • Chassis – AEC Reliance 6MU3R

  • Body – Willowbrook


For some reason this bus never seemed to get the Brutonian livery to replace the original H&C paintwork that it appears to have had all it’s life! The body of the bus was not as well finished as the other bus acquired by Brutonian in summer 79 from H&C – CYA 181J, which is going into preservation in 2010. WYD was quite a plain bus, which generally had a good service record. It suffered a front end collision in late 79/early 1980 and was off the road for some time, before it was eventually rebuilt. The Brutonian name was not repainted on the front panel once it was rebuilt and repainted.

It was the ‘uglier’ of the two buses acquired when H&C folded on 31 May 79 that Brutonian acquired and it had a very different working life to CYA181J. Firstly it was never painted in the Brutonian colours and was taken out of service shortly after this shot, following a front end collision. After that it only ran for a couple more years before being parked up at the back of the yard from 82.

In Oct 87 it was cleared out along with several others and taken to a scrap yard.It was in the same scrap yard as three Brutonian Bristol REs – MTJ926G, MTJ927G and STC929G and I visited it on 30 Jan 2010. It was finally scrapped in May 2010.


Martyn Hearson

8087TE at Yeovil Bus Station on Route 10 in c80

Ian Trotter

8087TE on Route 10 to Yeovil in c80

Derek Persson

8087TE on Church Bridge 80

Ian Trotter

8087TE off to the scrap yard c82 with 753MDV

History of Vehicle List Number 22 or 23?

  • Jun 63 – New to Lancashire United

  • ? – Acquired by Ashways, Liverpool

  • ? – Acquired by Rev David Green at Weymouth (dealer)

  • Nov 79 – Acquired by Brutonian and swapped with TRN769

  • Nov 80 – Withdrawn

  • May 82? – Scrapped at Warren (breaker), Castle Cary

Technical information

  • B52F

  • Chassis – AEC Reliance 2U3RA

  • Body – Plaxton


8087TE was an odd bus which was only run by Brutonian for a year. It was bought because it was long and narrow and therefore suitable to be used on the tight country lanes (e.g. Route 10 to Yeovil as seen in the pictures). It looks quite tidy, although in reality both the interior and exterior were tatty. It had leather seats and wooden ridges on the floor, which made it awkward to clean. It was soon parked up and non-roadworthy and appears to have been scrapped in 82/83.

8087TE may have been part of a yard clearout in late 82, after the arrival of the four Bristol REs due to a lack of space. XTA838 may have also have been disposed of and scrapped at the same time. By the look of the final picture it has deteriorated, suggesting it could be later than 82. It was parked in front of the yard by the station for several months before being scrapped.

8087TE was part of a batch of two (143/144 8087/8 TE).


Michael Wadman

753MDV in Brutonian yard in 81

History of Vehicle List Number 25

  • Jun 63 – New to Southern National Omnibus Company Limited, Exeter (2622)

  • Jul 66 – Transferred to Weymouth

  • Jul 67 – Converted to B41F

  • Nov 69 – Transferred to Western National Omnibus Company Limited, Exeter (2622) and based at Weymouth

  • May 77 – Transferred to Seaton

  • 78 – Out of service with Western National Omnibus Company Limited, Exeter (2622)

  • Oct 78 – Acquired by Hartwood Exports (Machinery) Limited, Hoyland Common (dealer)

  • Mar 79 – Acquired by Morgan, Monmouth

  • Jan 80 – Acquired by WG & CS Peakes, Pontnewynydd

  • Sep 81 – Withdrawn and acquired by Brutonian Bus Company, Bruton

  • Sep 81 – Converted to Service Vehicle (Recovery)?

  • May 82? – Scrapped with 8087TE

Technical information

  • B41F

  • Chassis – Bristol MW5G

  • Body – ECW


753MDV was not operated and may have been converted to a service recovery vehicle.

MTJ926G & MTJ927G/STC928G & STC929G

Ian Trotter

MTJ926G at Yeovil Bus Station on Route 10 c85

Paul Welling

MTJ927G derelict at Shobdon Jan 10

Keith Newton

STC928G in Dorchester on service 6 in May 87

Ian Trotter

STC928G at Church Bridge in Bruton on service 10 in c87

Ian Trotter

STC929G in Mere on Route 12 (Jack Holland driving) in c82

WYD928H behind

Ian Trotter

STC929G in the yard (MTJ927G/926G right) in late 86/early 87

History of Vehicle List Numbers 26/27/28/29

  • 68/69 – All new to Accrington Corporation

  • Apr 74 – All acquired by Hyndburn

  • Jun 82 – All acquired by Brutonian Bus Company

  • Oct 87 – All disposed of to Wacton, Bromyard (dealer)

  • Jan 88 – STC928G acquired by Metrowest Oldfield

  • ? – STC929G disposed of to Ripley, Carlton (dealer) for scrap (although 26/29/27 appear in photos in Shobdon in 09)

  • ? 91 – STC928G returned to Bromyard and scrapped

  • Sep 09 – MTJ926G scrapped

  • Feb 10 – MTJ927G scrapped

Technical information

  • All – B47F

  • All Chassis – Bristol RESL6L

  • Bodies – East Lancs


This was a massive purchase for Chris Knubley in Jun 82 – four Bristol REs and an indication of his preference for Bristol chassis vehicles adding to GAX5C. They were all pretty indistinguishable from each other and none ever received any change of paintwork, the blue and red seemingly close enough to the Brutonian livery. They were all in the fleet until 87 when fleet rationalisation took place around the time of the merger with Air Camelot. By this time 27 had been used as the donor for a number of years and the front panelling was removed along with the windscreen.

One saw further service, STC928G was sold to Metrowest Oldfield and then later returned to Martin Perry of Wacton, Bromyard to scrap four years later, overall it was the best runner.

26 and 29 were used by local fireman in Shobdon, Herefordshire for metal cutting practice. 27 survived the longest and was finally scrapped in Feb 10, having been stripped bare at Brutonian and at Shobdon.

Some side panels of 28 were painted better than others, because driver Gordon Tozer would give them a quick coat when he had time in the yard. Gordon stayed with Brutonian and was made redundant when the company was closed by Cawlett in 91.

OHW596F & OHU768F

Michael Wadman

OHW596F on Route 8 at Salisbury Bus Station 5 Oct 86

Keith Newton

OHW596F on route 6 at Cerne Abbas Giant in Aug 87

Ian Trotter

OHW596F outside the Brutonian workshop c87

Ian Trotter

OHW596F on route at Salisbury Bus Station c86

Ian Trotter

OHU768F outside the Brutonian Workshop c87

Ian Trotter

OHU768F in the Brutonian Yard c87

Michael Wadman

OHU768F in the Brutonian Yard on 29 May 87

Keith Newton

OHU768F on Route 12 at Shaftesbury Town Hall in Jul 87

History for both OHW596F (Vehicle List Number 30)

and OHU768F (Vehicle List Number 31)

  • Jul 68 – Both new to Bristol Omnibus Company

  • Oct 82 – Withdrawn and sold to dealer Ensign Purfleet

  • Dec 82 – Acquired by Gastonia Coaches Cranleigh

  • Dec 84 – Withdrawn

  • Jun 85 – Acquired by Brutonian through a dealer in Stoke on Trent

  • Jun 88 – Acquired by Company Bus, Gloucester (dealer). Presumed scrapped

Technical information

  • B53F

  • Chassis – Bristol RELL6L

  • Body – ECW


OHW596F and OHU768F were a pair of former Bristol Omnibus Bristol RELL6Ls.  They were the last acquisitions during Chris Knubley’s ownership of the business. OHW596F was the last Brutonian to be painted in the 'traditional' colours. It’s a shame they didn't paint the patches out on the roof to make it look more respectable, as this is similar to the roof of YRT896H carrying an advert for a Norfolk hotel because Brutonian didn't paint over it! They arrived in black and white stripes and were known as the ‘zebra buses’ and some think they worked on a Safari park!

OHU768F demonstrates two effects of the change of ownership of Brutonian in 1986: the appearance of a rather sickly shade of green as part of the livery, and the discontinuance of the use of fleet numbers.

The advert on the rear corners of OHU768F was for the ford dealership in Gillingham (Grosvenor house motors). The cost of the advert on the bus for said dealer was exactly the same price as it cost to paint the bus.

Brutonian Loan Vehicles


Michael Wadman

Leyland National Demonstrator NFR558T Motcombe Route 12 with Jack Holland in 79

History (not allocated a Vehicle List Number)

  • Jan 79 – New to John Fishwick and Sons of Golden Hill Garage, Leyland, Lancs

  • Aug/Sep 79 on trial with Brutonian

  • 79 – Returned to John Fishwick and Sons of Leyland,

  • ? – Ribble Preservation Trust as a spares vehicle

  • 02? – Scrapped

Technical information

  • B49F

  • Chassis – Leyland National

  • Body – Leyland National


This Leyland National Demonstration bus was only in the fleet for a couple of months, with no real intention to buy it, NFR558T probably helped bridge the gap whilst CYA181J and GAX5C were painted in summer 79.

It lasted well until 2002 when it scrapped having been used by the Ribble Preservation Trust as a spare vehicle.


Michael Wadman

VUJ252J at Yeovil Bus Station c80

History (not allocated a Vehicle List Number)

  • 71 – New to Brown, Donnington Wood

  • Aug 78 – Acquired by Wake’s, Wincanton/Sparkford

  • Nov 83 – On loan to Brutonian

  • Apr 94 – Scrapped

Technical information

  • B45F

  • Chassis – Bedford YRQ

  • Body – Willowbrook


Ian Trotter

TRO201E at Marsh’s yard in Wincanton

History (not allocated a Vehicle List Number)

  • 67 – New to Don, Bishops Stortford

  • ? – Acquired by Young, Radstock

  • Nov 69 – Acquired by Roman City, Bath

  • Nov 75 – Acquired by Marsh, Wincanton

  • Nov 83 – On loan to Brutonian

  • Dec 83 – Acquired by Andrews, Trudroxhill (not operated)

  • By May 93 – Converted to a caravan with unknown owner

Technical information

  • C45F

  • Chassis – Bedford VAM 14

  • Body – Plaxton


History (not allocated a Vehicle List Number)

  • Apr 72 – New to R Grindle, Cinderford

  • Sep 78 – Acquired by Smith, Pylle

  • Nov-Dec 84 – On loan to Brutonian

  • By Jul 87 – Acquired by Halligan (Poole Bay) Bournemouth

  • Nov 87 – Acquired by Smedley, Crewe

  • Sep 88 – Acquired by Pilkington, Accrington

  • By Apr 91 – Acquired by Bold, Melling (not operated)

Technical information

  • C45F

  • Chassis – Bedford YRQ

  • Body – Plaxton


The Late RF Mack

PYB734L at Wakes Depot in Sparkford

History (not allocated a Vehicle List Number)

  • Mar 73 – New to Wake’s, Wincanton/Sparkford

  • Dec 84 – On loan to Brutonian

  • Apr 94 – Scrapped

Technical information

  • B57F

  • Chassis – Bedford YRT

  • Body – Willowbrook


Martyn Hearson


History (not allocated a Vehicle List Number)

  • Dec 68 – New to Safeguard Coaches, Guildford

  • Jun 74 – Acquired by Taylor, Tintinhull

  • Dec 80 – Acquired by Shaftesbury and District

  • Dec 84 – On loan to Brutonian

  • May 87 – Acquired by?

Technical information

  • C52F

  • Chassis – Bedford VAL70

  • Body – Plaxton Panorama Elite

Non- Brutonian Vehicles Parked in the Yard


Martyn Hearson

MMR552 in Brutonian yard in Jul 79 (TRN 769 left and XTA 838 in front)


  • Jul 55 – New to Silver Star no.10

  • Jun 63 – Acquired by Wilts and Dorset and transferred to Western National (Royal Blue livery)

  • 67 – Acquired by Webbers, Blissland Nr. Bodmin

  • 72 – Acquired by Whitehead, Cheltenham

  • 76 – Acquired by Simon Turner, Beckington Nr. Bath preservation

  • By 80-2 seen parked at Brutonian, Bruton

  • 82 – Jack Parsons, Eastleigh (Restored to Silver Star condition on premises of Red Lion pub, Tatton)

  • By 07 Geoff & Ian Norris et al FoKAB

Technical information

  • Chassis – Leyland Tiger Cub 26

  • Body – Harrington


Tucked away at the rear of the Brutonian yard was this ex Silver Star of Porton Down Harrington bodied Leyland Tiger Cub MMR552. Both MMR553 and 552 have been fully preserved.

MMR552 was acquired by Wilts and Dorset in 63 with the takeover of Silver Star, but was not used by W & D. It passed immediately, along with MMR553 and a number of other Silver Star Tiger Cubs to Western National where they were painted in Royal Blue livery.

MMR 552 subsequently passed to Cornish operator Webber of Blisland in 67, staying there for nearly ten years before passing to Whitehead, Cheltenham in 76 and then into preservation a year later.


Martyn Hearson

BCK367C in the Brutonian yard in summer 79 (NJW719E left, BND877C and 217UYC right/rear)


  • 54 – New to Preston Corporation

  • 65 –This vehicle was rebuilt from PD2/10 FRN 740

  • 79-81 – Parked in the Brutonian Bus yard

  • 10 – Preserved and being restored at the North West Transport Museum Society in St Helens

Technical information

  • Chassis – Leyland PD3/6

  • Body – Preston H38/32F


BCK367C was unusual for Brutonian to have a double-decker. It was owned by someone from Shepton Mallet who parked it there before preservation commenced. In the final years two Southern National double deckers were used for short periods by Brutonian and one was a training vehicle.

It was entered into the Weymouth Bus Rally in 75, the same year that YYB118 and BND877C were entered by Brutonian.

The PD3/6 classification refers to the eight Leyland PD2/10s which were rebuilt to PD3 spec by Preston Corporation. All these were Leyland bodied and had the bodies extended as well as the extension to the chassis and the rebuilds were all converted from low-bridge open platform rear loaders to high-bridge forward entrance buses with sliding doors.

The Preston rebuilds were as follows:

2 PRN761 ex-ECK509 new1954, rebuilt 1961 (PC61/3)
5 NCK757 ex-ECK510 new1952, rebuilt 1960 (PC60/2)
9 NCK741 ex-FRN731 new1954, rebuilt 1959 (PC59/1)
10 PRN762 ex-FRN732 new1954, rebuilt 1962 (PC62/4)
50 SRN375 ex-FRN734 new1954, rebuilt 1962 (PC62/5)
51 SRN376 ex-FRN735 new1954, rebuilt 1963 (PC63/6)
59 FCK453F ex-FRN739 new1954, rebuilt 1967 (PC67/8)
61 BCK367C ex-FRN740 new1954, rebuilt 1965 (PC65/7)

They retained their previous fleet numbers but received new chassis numbers, shown in brackets. The PSV Circle Preston Corporation Fleet History shows #61 as withdrawn in 1978 and sold to a preservationist at Shepton Mallet.

Most of these rebuilds were scrapped, although #2 is preserved in Preston Corporation maroon livery and is owned and operated on private hires, sightseeing tours and wedding parties with Dreadnought Coaches of Alnwick.

Brutonian Recovery Vehicles

Ian Trotter

The white Ford wrecker continued in use until the end of the Tony Tucker era (therefore operated 81-89) and was then sold to a scrap yard in Henstridge still in working order, although the cab was rusted out

Part One of
the Fleet List
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