Mersea Past. Uncle Herbert - and more on Primrose Buses

Herbert Green was born in the cottage opposite The Firs Farm on the 2nd of November 1898, the second son of Roland and Laura. He attended West Mersea Council School and the school register shows that he was to do a bricklaying apprenticeship when he left. I have been unable to find any evidence that he ever started the apprenticeship but he appears to have done odd jobs and gardening.

With the outbreak of World War 1 he enlisted at a very early age as he always claimed to have been driving army lorries in France at the age of seventeen. The list of absent voters for West Mersea of January 1918 shows him as a private, 44 Airline sect. MT Army Service Corps. and his father Roland Percy Green also as a private, in the 430 Agricultural Company Labour Corps. I believe Roland spent his war service tending the garden of some high ranking officer in Norfolk.

With the war over a new bus company, registered 13th March 1918, was started in Mersea which was later to become the Primrose Bus Service. Some of the vehicles were ex army lorries repatriated from France. From what I learned from Herbert, some vehicles came into Harwich and others to the East London Docks where James Austin, one of the directors, had a scrap yard. It would seem that the lorries were stripped down to little more the a chassis, wheels and engine as Herbert and another driver were sent to London to collect two of the vehicles and had to sit on a box to drive them home as there were no seats It was a bitterly cold night and Brentwood hill was like as sheet of glass and it took ages to climb. They arrived home around 3am absolutely frozen. I have been unable to discover where the bus bodies were built. Maybe Maskell's of Tollesbury.

Herbert was a bus driver for the majority of his working life, most of which was with the Eastern National Bus Co. at Chelmsford where he finished up as an inspector. He was a chain smoker and lived to be almost ninety years old.

The photo above, from my family collection, shows Herbert Green with his father Roland( Always known as 'Roly') in their army uniforms.
The picture below was taken in Stanwell Street, Colchester. Herbert is seen to the left of the picture with a cigarette in hand. In the centre of the picture is Bob Woodward, another early Primrose driver.

This article was in Mersea Life April 2015, page 57.

Author: Ron Green
April 2015
57

Related Images

 Herbert Green on left, Roly Green on the right. Roland Green was Herbert Green's father and Ron Green's maternal grandfather.
 January 1918 Absent Voters list shows Herbert Green living at Rose Villa and Private, 44 Airline Sec., MT., Army Service Corps.
 and Roland Percy Green in Fairhaven Avenue, Private, 430 Agricultural Company Labour Corps.  RG03_781RG03_781
Herbert Green on left, Roly Green on the right. Roland Green was Herbert Green's father and Ron Green's maternal grandfather.
January 1918 Absent Voters list shows Herbert Green living at Rose Villa and Private, 44 Airline Sec., MT., Army Service Corps.
and Roland Percy Green in Fairhaven Avenue, Private, 430 Agricultural Company Labour Corps.
c1915
 Mersea buses in Stanwell Street, Colchester. Herbert Green on left. Bob Woodward leaning on radiator.
 Ron Green writes: Those buses were not fast by present 
day standards. My uncle Herbert Green told me that he and another driver 
took two bus loads to Felixstowe and were stopped for speeding. I can't 
remember the details but it was something like they were doing 18mph 
when the limit was 15mph. They were each fined £4.10.0d more than two 
weeks wages at that time.
 This is the now-vanished part of Stanwell Street, looking west with the Mersea Road just behind us. The wall on the left is round St John's Abbey and is no longer visible. St. Giles Church is at the end of the wall in the distance.
 This area is now Southway - St. Giles Church is still there.  MMC_P21_EMMC_P21_E
Mersea buses in Stanwell Street, Colchester. Herbert Green on left. Bob Woodward leaning on radiator.
Ron Green writes: Those buses were not fast by present day standards. My uncle Herbert Green told me that he and another driver took two bus loads to Felixstowe and were stopped for speeding. I can't remember the details but it was something like they were doing 18mph when the limit was 15mph. They were each fined £4.10.0d more than two weeks wages at that time.
This is the now-vanished part of Stanwell Street, looking west with the Mersea Road just behind us. The wall on the left is round St John's Abbey and is no longer visible. St. Giles Church is at the end of the wall in the distance.
This area is now Southway - St. Giles Church is still there.
ID: ML2015_004_P57
Source: Mersea Museum