“Sir Martin Frobisher” (AKA “Ferb”)
Specifically built in 1961 for Devon General as one of their famous Sea Dog class – Open Top buses, this 75 seat (44 upper deck, 31 lower saloon) Leyland Atlantean PDR1 No.925 bus with its Metro Cammell body. It was one of nine buses built for this class. All received names. Each vehicle received the name of a notable seafarer from the region. A framed print of each mariner hung in the lower deck of its eponymous vehicle and the Atlantean’s became known as the “Sea-dogs”.. These PDR1s had the advantage of being of convertible open-top specification. The bodies were built by Metropolitan-Cammell, and the detachable roofs could be removed or re-fitted inside an hour using a hoist inside Devon General’s Newton Rd. garage at Torre. Over the years the Sea Dogs have developed a cult status
No. DL927 Brief History
- 927 was the 3rd member of the nine in the Sea Dog class
- 1961 Delivered to Devon General he was used mainly on the 12 route, between St. Marychurch, Torquay, Paignton, Goodrington Sands, Broadsands then down to either Brixham or Kingswear.
- 1971, along with all other Devon General stock, the sea-dogs became the property of the Western National Omnibus Co. upon nationalisation. Once in NBC ownership they started travelling further afield and were soon seen away from their previous homes of Torquay and Exmouth, pitching up in Weymouth, Penzance, Camborne and Newquay.
- By 1973 they had been repainted into a livery of poppy red and white specific to open-top buses, and in 1975 work commenced in converting them to one-man operation.
- DL927 “Sir Martin Frobisher“. In 1978, after transfer to Weymouth in Dorset, it was renamed “Admiral Hardy” and continued to serve DG until withdrawal in 1982
- Withdrawal of the sea-dogs commenced in 1982 but the existence of a demand for open top vehicles across the country, allied with Devon General’s reputation for superior vehicle husbandry, meant that there were enough interested parties to ensure that these fine vehicles could continue to provide sterling service in other parts of the UK. The result of this interest was that from the eighties onwards tourists and holidaymakers in such places as London, the south coast, the north-west, the north-east, and parts of Scotland could appreciate the fine views afforded to them from the upper deck of a sea-dog, until 2007
- 2007 he returned south of the border, this time to Kinch Coaches of Minety, near Malmesbury in Wiltshire. After this he was restored into original Devon General livery and again carries the name “Sir Martin Frobisher“ and was re-registered to 724 XUW.
- 2015 Seaford and District took him into service whilst one of their open top buses was being restored.
- 2016, “Sir Martin” has now has now been given a new loving home with us.