A Bedford OB in the family

To make a change from buses, here is a photograph of a Bedford OB lorry. It belonged to my Grandfather in Salisbury, who ran a removals and light haulage business. The photo shows me standing with my Grandpa, who was recovering from a coronary thrombosis at the time and sadly never used the van again.


I was nearly four at the time and I vaguely remember being at the garage in Quidhampton where the van was kept. In his book “Sixty Years On Wheels”, my Grandfather had this to say about the Bedford:

When the war was over and Vickers Armstrong were closing down [Grandpa had done haulage work for them, and Supermarine too], I returned to civilian work once more. By this time removal work was beginning to increase and more Council Houses were being built around the district, particularly on Bemerton Heath – a new housing estate – and I found it necessary to have a larger van and a more modern vehicle so I placed an order with Anna Valley Motors Ltd for a new Bedford van.

At this time, new vehicles were difficult to obtain and orders were taken in rotation, but after waiting a year or more for my turn to come, I decided to look elsewhere for a vehicle and finally found one at Spiller & Wilkins at Chilmark in 1948. This was a rebuilt Bedford 5 ton chassis CWV968 and cost nearly £500 and then I had to pay over £100 more for a body to be fitted.

My Grandfather used the van until 1960 and covered 120,000 miles in it and, when he sold it he said “it was still good for many more”. I still have a few relics from those days: a battered old wooden box which was used to store small parts used in the assembly of Spitfires during the war.


My Grandfather used to transport boxes of bits between the various factories and makeshift assembly workshops that had been set up in the Salisbury area and this old box somehow found its way into my Grandfather’s house! He even managed to ‘liberate’ a pulley wheel which would have been used in a Spitfire near the wing root as part of the aileron controls.

Finally, on my garage wall hangs the sign-written board that was fixed to my Grandfather’s house in Wilton Road, from where he ran his haulage business.


So you see, haulage must be in my blood even though these days I’m carrying SLF*. Talking of which, my next vintage bus duty isn’t until next month so I’ll dip into my transport archives again for my next post before we return to buses!

*SLF = Self Loading Freight.

2 comments on “A Bedford OB in the family

  1. heikoworld says:

    John I have put a link on my website back to yours, all your writings and pictures are more than interesting. Like all WordPress there is no www here`s the link to it http://heikoworld.com.

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