Coach fleet were pass masters

Former coach driver Herbie Skitt, who is now 78, has got in touch to give us his recollections of this trip over the Horseshoe Pass near Llangollen well over 50 years ago.

This school outing was on its way to the thrill of Rhyl
This school outing was on its way to the thrill of Rhyl

We had published the photo in Pictures From The Past and Mr Skitt, from Higher Heath near Whitchurch, was able to identify it as a school outing to Rhyl in which he was one of the drivers.

"I can remember the trip. It was about 1962 or 1963 and it was a school from Meole Brace. It was organised by Jack Titley at the Shrewsbury depot of Salopia.

"One coach was driven by Bert Dorricott. That will be the first coach. Bert worked as a chauffeur for a lady somewhere in the Shrewsbury area. She hadn't much work for him and said any time you want to drive a coach, he was welcome to go. I think eventually he became full time.

"I think I'm on the fourth coach in, but I'm not sure."

Mr Skitt said that Jack Titley had a small fleet of coaches and Salopia had bought him out in about 1955.

"He carried on as manager at Shrewsbury office. They had three drivers there, Bert Dorricott, Vic Ruff, and the third was Jack something.

"I was working for Salopia. I left school in 1956. I worked as a mechanic until 1962 and then I went full time driving until 1968. In 1968 I went as a mechanic to the post office.

"Every job we got to Rhyl from Shrewsbury always went through the Horseshoe Pass. I think we may have stopped at the Ponderosa cafe."

Mr Skitt can even remember the pay schedules for trips.

"We used to get eight hours at full rate and then any hour after that was half rate for waiting time. If we did over 176 miles, every hour after that was paid at full rate.

"If we did 276 miles it was paid from the time we started until the time we finished."

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