Devon General is an operator that I remember well, having grown up in a town which was served by its attractive maroon and cream buses. In the 1960s and early 70s they were mostly AECs, both single and double deckers.
For a relatively small operator, a large number of Devon General’s former vehicles have survived into preservation and no less than 5 of them attended the Torbay Vintage Bus Running Day last September. Regular readers (some of whom I met at the event) will remember that I brought an ex-Western National Bristol LDL6G to the Running Day.
This photo was taken by my friend Bob Brimley and shows two examples from a batch of AEC Regent Vs that was new to Devon General in 1965. This is of particular interest to me because I remember the Regent on the right (CTT518C) being delivered! The bus on the left (CTT513C) was delivered at much the same time but is fitted with the longer (and uglier, in my view) Park Royal bodywork.
CTT518C is one of 6 similar vehicles with Willowbrook bodywork and two of them, including this one, were destined for the DG depot at Exmouth, where I lived at the time. However, I happened to be staying with relatives in Salisbury, Wiltshire during the Easter Holiday in 1965 when I saw this bus being delivered when new.
Don’t ask me how he knew, but my Dad told me that a new Devon General bus was likely to come through Salisbury on a particular day, so we spent most of the day hanging over the garden gate of my grandparents’ house near the Skew Bridge in Wilton Road, waiting for it to appear. Sure enough, a bus wearing the unmistakable Devon General livery hove into view and passed us on its way to Wilton and beyond. I presume it had started its journey at the Willowbrook works in Loughborough. It was most peculiar to watch, as I was used to seeing DG AECs in Devon, not Wiltshire! Yet here was a bus like those at home, mixing it with the Tilling red Bristol Lodekkas of Wilts & Dorset.
I met up with CTT518C many times after that, as it spent most of its time with Devon General on services in and around Exmouth. It was often found on the Sidmouth run and also the town routes to Littleham or Withycombe. It has been owned in recent years by DG afficionado Phil Platt, although I believe it was sold to a new owner last year. You can have a ‘virtual ride’ on it here: