Memories of Phil Howard

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Phil Howard from McLaren Vale South Australia.

It is with interest I note your address as Harcourt Road Gosport.  I had a uncle who was a Magistrate in Gosport who lived at no. 16 Harcourt Road.  His name was James (Jim) Wheeler.  I lived in Tukes Avenue no 55 opposite Peter Readys shop.  I can remember the epic journeys I made to visit him on my push bike. On a trip back to Gosport in Jan 2005 I located his grave at the Anns Hill cemetery. 

I have lived in South Australia since migrating in 1972.  Prior to migration I was a driver for Hants and Dorset but in those days the Gosport bus station did not exist and we parked opposite what is

now a fish and chip shop at the top of the ramp to the ferry.  Prior to that the buses stopped at the Taxi Rank opposite the dive. I joined H&D September 1970 and left in May 72 to come to Australia. I was stationed at Fareham and drove mostly Fareham Southampton No's 53 and 76. Fareham Winchesters were on our roster but not that often throughout the 52 week roster we had in those days. We also had regular rostered school bus runs. I did my driver training in a Bristol 5 cylinder Gardiner 4 speed crash box double decker.

That was hard work I can assure you my license number was KK53411 and on obtaining my license drove both the high and low dekka as they were known and the Bristol RE Single deckers as well as a variety of other single and double deckers that were around in the day. The bus cabs were freezing in the winter and stinking hot in the summer with very little ventilation. The bells and buzzers in the cab were very loud also. When the conductor was upstairs a buzzer would sound in the cab for stop and go and a bell when he was downstairs. This was so we knew where he was without having to look especially at night or hours of darkness when the blackout blinds were drawn. I also remember the very first of the diesel pre heat system in H&D. A piece of rag dipped in diesel set alight and held over the air intake. Primitive but it worked. The bus station had the garage at the rear and on the side the buses pulled into was a cafe and coach booking office and waiting room for the passengers. The Inspectors office was adjacent to the bus garage and the crews entered through the front door and up a flight of stairs to the crew room. This in the seventies had full cafe type facilities tea and coffee bacon and eggs etc at very reasonable prices, plus a full size snooker table.

Skylarking was very much alive and well and one never knew what was in store for you as did the passengers. Some of the crew I remember were the brothers Mel and Peter Wort. Gordon, Frank and Charlie Stratton. Graham and Robin Dawkins to mention a few others. Larry Scarfield, Peter Pryzbicin, Inspector Bill Gale who I believe passed away several years ago. and I seem to remember a Inspector by the name of Jeffrey or Jeffries I can't be sure. I have no doubt Graham Dawkins Would remember though as he was on H&D during the late sixties I sure.

I remember well driving the buses in very thick fog and following the white lines and also on snow and Ice. Fresh snow is no problem. Treat it like rain but a different story as it froze over night and had a fall of fresh snow on the top of it.

On moving to Australia I drove Buses in Adelaide and Trams in Melbourne Victoria. I worked for the South Australian Government 1976. I retired in March 2000.

I have included a picture taken in May 1972 This was the bus I drove from Southampton to Fareham My very last trip prior to resignation and migration to Australia. Regards Phil Howard. PS Feel free to include this in your site if you so desire.

Graham Dawkins advises me that there may be a reunion for H&D employees to be held at the Royal Naval Club on Fareham Road some time in the future. Please get in touch with him he knows many contacts for the firm. Enclosed is a Photo of me as a driver in uniform as was of the day tie optional head and shoulders only though.

I was reading the Grange Airfield story and note that the aircraft used was an avro 504. Just a snippet of information for you, in 1920 Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services now known as QANTAS started their first flight with an Avro 504K from Longreach in Queensland. I forgot to mention that I am an aircraft nutcase I will watch anything that flies and spend many hours at the Adelaide airport sitting at the end of the runway. Either 05 or 23 depending on the wind direction. 05 approach is from over the sea and 23 the city. I have family still in Gosport. Phil Howard


Phil Howard In Uniform


Phil Howard’s Last Bus To Fareham

Phil has asked me to add his e-mail address for those who wish to contact him:

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For Enquiries

Contact Me At:

Ian Jeffery

11 Harcourt Road


Hants  PO12 3NR

Tel: 023 9252 3358

Mobile: 078 1751 7995


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