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Dennis chassis once provided a significant contribution to the fleets of the many small independent operators throughout the country. For years these businesses remained faithful to the products of Dennis Bros. Here is a short history of one such operator.

Ackworth, nr. Pontefract, Yorks.
By John Michael Turton

Lewis Turton started his bus company in 1922, with a Ford lorry- come-bus, the lorry body being removed at the weekend and a l4-seater bus body built by Lewis's grandfather fitted. This vehicle was followed by Daimler, Ford, LVL, & Fiat buses all with bodies built by Lewis's grandfather. The LVL was registered WV9829, and had a 20 seat body.

WW5350 was a Dennis, again with own bodywork. In 1924 WW7896, the first Ford Plaxton was bought. Then in 1935 came Dennis Ace YG7567 with 20 seat Plaxton coachwork.

Turtons ran a service from Ackworth to Pontefract via Low Ackworth and East Hardwick. At first this was 2 hourly. After the war finished it went to hourly but not on Sundays, although it did run on Christmas day and Boxing Day. Various coaches were obtained over the next few years: Dennis Arrow LG9466, Dennis Arrow Minor BWR 571. We are not sure about the body on this. It was a 25 seater, possibly Dennis or Duple. This coach came in 1943.

Dennis Arrow Minor, BWR 571
Dennis Arrow Minor, BWR 571. The driver was our mechanic and worked for us till the late fifties. This bus was on the 1932 or 1936 motor show.
It survived a crash with a tank nr Scarborough and a farm tractor while on service.
It was sold in part exchange for, FT 7000.

In 1948 Lewis Turton died, and Mrs Turton carried on the business with the help of staff and friends. The first diesel came in 1949. This was ex. Potteries Motors BVT85, a Dennis with a Gardner engine and Willowbrook 39-seater bodywork. This bus had new seats and the engine was rebuilt and was the main service bus for a long time. After the war and the lifting of travel restrictions, coach tours and days out were started. Seaside trips were very popular. An excursion licence was obtained for Blackpool illuminations, this ran on Sundays. It left Ackworth at 8 o'clock and returned from Blackpool after going round the lights, at 10 pm. It arrived back in the early hours of Monday morning. Coaches now coming into the fleet were Dennis Lancet 3s with Willowbrook, Veates and Harrington bodywork.

The first (and only) new coach, was a Seddon with a, Perkins diesel engine. HWX 284 had Thurgood 3l -seat coachwork. What a disaster! It was under-powered, heavy, thirsty, you name and that was it. This coach only lasted from 1949 till 1953, being written of in a non-fatal crash. Unfortunately it was also at around this time the first ever fatal accident happened to a Turton coach. A motorcyclist decided to kill himself and his family, by driving straight at the bus killing his wife, and small child. Our driver being absolved from any blame.

Shortly after this sad event, the first double deck bus was bought. It was GUF 154, an ex-Southdown Guy Arab with Northern Counties bodywork.

My brother was older than me, and he served an apprenticeship at the South Yorkshire Motor Company. They ran Albion buses. After a spell in the RAF did he came to work on our own buses. I was 18 and failed my medical for the forces. I came to work at home, as a conductor cleaner, mechanic and dogs body. You name it I did it .The GUY was changed in1958 after being involved in another fatal accident. Again, our driver was absolved from blame. The bus was repaired, but nobody liked driving it and it was replaced by FT 5699. This was an AEC Regent 2 with MCW body seating 56.

In 1959 Mrs Turton passed away, and Trevor took over, the company hence being known as JT Turton. Slightly confusingly, I am John Micheal Turton and my older brother was John Trevor Turton. He was always known as Trevor till I left home when he reverted to John. I left in 1959 to follow a career driving buses in Nottingham and Leicester.

The fleet continued to expand. In 1959, BRN 282, an ex Ribble White Lady 56-seater double-decker with Burlingham body and three coaches came into the fleet. The first of these was a Dennis Lancet 3, CHE 55O with Windover coachwork, and then two AEC Regal 4s, both with Burlingham coachwork but one with 4l seats and the other, 37. Least said about these two coaches the better.

On the other hand, we ran many types of Dennis, petrol and diesel. We found them very reliable and easy to work on, Dutsons at Leeds being the local agents.

Turtons had always enjoyed a monopoly in the Ackworth area and other operators kept to there own areas. Very often though, when a firm needed extra vehicles Turtons would help out and vice versa. But the wind of change was blowing and in 1961 Turtons ceased business and closed down.

1954 Dennis Lancet III with Yeates body (EAJ 77)
1954 Dennis Lancet III with Yeates body (EAJ 77)
Turtons Fleet from 1922 to 1962
Chassis Detail Body Seats Date Reg
Ford Truck / Bus Ball 14 1922 ?
Daimler Bus Ball 8 1922 ?
Ford Van Ball 8 1922 ?
Fiat 174377 Ball 8 1922 WY 4652
LVL A61 Ball 20 1922 WY 9829
Ford 4481461 Plaxton 14 1924 WX 7890
Dennis G 53002 Plaxton 14 1928 WW 5350
Dennis Ace 2000161 Plaxton 20 1935 YG 5767
Dennis Arrow 11002 Jackson 32 1944 LG 9466
Dennis Arrow Minor 2550 Duple 25 1944 BWR 571
Bedford OWB 13685 Roe 32 1943 HE 9793
Dennis Lancet 171002 Willowbrook 38 1946 DRE 373
Bedford 25131 Duple Vista 29 1947 EF 7664
Dennis Lancet 170855 Willowbrook 35 1949 BVT 85
Seddon 4 2972 Thurgood 29 1949 HWX 284
Dennis Lancet I 170996 Willowbrook 33 1948 AWR 938
Dennis Lancet III 842J Harrington 33 1950 FT 7000
Dennis Lancet III 339J Yeates 33 1954 EAJ 77
Dennis Lancet III 381 Whitson 35 1955 MPA 924
Tilling Stevens K6 MA79307 Theale 33 1956 FKW 449
Guy Arab Fd27389 Northern Counties 56 1957 GUF 154
AEC Regent II O61764 Weymann 56 1958 FT 5699
Commer TS3 T85A00? Plaxton 41 1958 VWA 554
Dennis Lancet III 664J3 Windover 33 1959 CHE 550
Leyland PD1/3 471938 Burlingham 53 1959 BRN 282
AEC Regal 4 98421e334 Burlingham 37 1959 JGD 112
AEC Regal 4 9.82E+193 Burlingham 41 1959 NEW 307
Morris J2 Morris 11 1959 OHL 319

Previous owner of coaches and disposal (where known).

LG 9466 ex Crosville,w12 .Into our fleet 1944 sold J Leith 1950

BWR 571ex Kitchen, Pudsey. Into our fleet 1944 sold to Voy, Newton Aycliff 1951.

DRE 373. ex PMT &A Rowe 1946. Scrapped 1951.

EF 7664 ex Beeline 1946 into our fleet 1947 sold Chivers, Devises.1958.

HE 9793 1943 new to us sold to Silver Star, Skipton 1949.

BVT 85 ex Stoke Motors PMT 1935. Into our fleet 1949 sold to scrap dealer Norths of Leeds used as lorry 1954.

HWX 284 new to us in 1949. Accident non fatal. Rush Green Motors Hitchin 1956.

AWR 938 ex-Camplejohn, Darfield 1935. Into our fleet 1948. Fisher, Wakefield 1954.

FT 7000 ex Armstrong, North Sheilds 1950. Into our fleet 1951. Kirby, dealer 1962.

EAJ 77 1947 ex Coast & Country. Into our fleet 1954. No knowledge what happened to this one.

1955 Dennis Lancet III (MPA 924)

MPA 924 ex Motts of Aylsbury 1950. Into our fleet 1955. Sold to Standish of Darrington. Scrapped 1959.

FKW 446 ex Wray of Summerbridge 1949. Into our fleet 1956.To Standish, Darrington and scrapped 1959.
GUF 154 ex Southdown 1945. Into our fleet 1956. To Coppack, dealer 1958.

FT5 699 ex Tynemouth 1946. Into our fleet 1958. Sold to Coppack, dealer 1960.

VWA 554 ex LITTLEWOODS SHEFIELD 1955. Into our fleet 1959. Sold Pemberton, Upton then to Kildare. Scrapped 1964.

CHE 550 ex Roberts, Barnsley 1949. Into our fleet in 1959. To Ward, Lepton. Scrapped 1962.

BRN 282 ex Ribble. To us in 1959. Sold to Ford, Fairburn 1961. Scrapped 1964.

JGD 112 ex Northern Roadways 1951. To us in 1960. Sold 1962.

NWE 307 EX Law Bros., Sheffield 1951. To us 1959. Sold to Pemberton, Upton 1962 and on to Blackheath, Netherton1963

Dennis Lancet (DRE 373) from 1946
Above: It is thought that this is DRE 373. Unfortunately, in the table above there is some confusion between the chassis number for this coach and another Lancet, BVT 85 (below).
Dennis Lancet (BVT 85) from 1949

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