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Bus and Coach Photos

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Commer Commando Aircrew Bus XAT368
Bus and Coach Photos
No: 5366   Contributor: Peter Langsdale   Year: 2011   Manufacturer: Commer   Country: England
Commer Commando Aircrew Bus XAT368

Photographed in the Yorkshire Aircraft Museum, Elvington, Yorkhire, on 20 May 2011.
Designed in 1946 and in RAF service from 1947-1957. Driver plus 21 passengers, Humber Snipe 6-cylinder 4086 cc side valve petrol engine, max. speed 50 mph.
Sold in 1957, then used by Hull Cricket Club, later used as a factory staff bus and a commercial bus. Finally, as a control vehicle with the British Auto Racing Club, it was last used at the Silverstone British Grand Prix circuit in 1972.
Completely restored by the General Engineering Flight at RAF Cottesmore, on behalf of the RAF Benevolent Fund in 1993.
A total of 315 of these vehicles was ordered from the Park Royal Coachworks, based on the Commer Q4 Commando chassis.
Picture added on 06 June 2011 at 09:58
add commentComments:
Lovely picture of this stunning old bus. Does anyone know if it is still in use(occasionally) as it seems to have a tax disc on the windscreen.

Added by Richard Simpson on 06 June 2011.
I was fortunate to work on this restoration and I am pleased to see the Commando on here. The bus was driveable (I actually drove it onto the low loader to take her to East Kirkby Airfield near Conningsby Lincs. She was a terrible state when we started the job and many many manhours later she is looking fantastic. I would say however that she was not restored for road use - although I dont see why not as the mechanics etc were comprehensively restored.
Barry Russell

Added by Barry Russell on 06 November 2011.
Yes it is 'taxed'. For some reason the Museum have decided to plate the Commer as JLR 138 - a totally different [but similar] vehicle. JLR 138 had no military history whatsoever and by doing so they have lost the RAF provenance of XAT 368. DVLA tend to seize and scrap 'ringers' so I hope the switch was done properly!

Added by Martin on 22 December 2011.
Interesting that this now has the reg JLR 138 & not the correct one XAT 368. JLR 138 was a 1948 Commer Chassis No 17A0300 with Park Royal body No B32066 which was new to Ministry of Supply 12/48 and later in preservation with Mr Odd of London (now deceased) I assume that parts from JLR 138 were used to rebuild XAT 368 which has Chassis No 17A 0196 & body No B31578 & was new to Royal Air Force 4/47 as RAF 138076 & later 08 AC 67.
Another Commer one & a half decker HYP 696 was also believed to have provided spares for the rebuild of XAT 368. This was for many years a store shed in Holmes coal yard near Bourne Lincs, before going to A Baker, Colsterworth 10/83 & the RAF Ben. Fund by 6/95
There is another survivor, SME 544 chassis No 17A 0226 body No B 31612 new to BEA, Northholt 7/47, its in the back garden of a house in Lound near Bourne, Lincs the owner of which was converting it to a caravan.
There was also a few years back another that was rebuilt on a 4 wheel drive chassis & was a caravan with 'hippies' near Toddington services on the M1
I agree with Martin the Yorkshire Aircraft Museum would be well advised to licence their ex RAF vehicle as XAT 368

Added by John Wakefield on 01 July 2012.
Hi Martin, There were times during the restoration where I wished DVLA would have siezed it. We had a full set of restoration photos from start to finish and I am still in contact with a few of the guys involved. I will see if I can obtain them.

Added by Barry Russell on 05 July 2012.
My question is why was there a problem in getting it registered as XAT 368 when it was already on the DVLA data base & would have only required a V62 application for a new V5c

This from DVLA web site:-

The vehicle details for XAT 368 are:
Date of Liability 05 01 1996
Date of First Registration 11 04 1958
Year of Manufacture Not Available
Cylinder Capacity (cc) 4086cc
CO2 Emissions Not Available
Fuel Type PETROL
Export Marker N
Vehicle Status Unlicensed
Vehicle Colour BLUE
Vehicle Type Approval Not Available

Added by John Wakefield on 06 July 2012.
According to PSV Circle's publication Preserved Buses (2012) edition SME 526 one of the BEA Commer's is in preservation with Rawsthorn, Bournemouth.

Added by John Wakefield on 29 July 2012.
I have since traced & spoken to David Rawsthorn (no longer living in Bournemouth) he sold SME 526 circa 1987/8 to a lady who at the time was a member of the London Bus Preservation Group at Cobham. It had a cracked chassis.

Added by John Wakefield on 30 July 2012.
SME526 Is on a Traveller's site at Slough Green , near Chard . SME544 is on another Traveller's site near Corby

Added by Dave Fawcett on 13 January 2013.
Oxford Diecasts are just about to release a 1:76 scale model of this vehicle

Added by Andy McClelland on 05 October 2013.
This delightful model has now been released with the XAT registration number.
I'd like to discover its original RAF registration numbers; either the pre-1949 format RAFnnnnnn, or its post-1949 nnLLnn format.

Added by Andy McClelland on 08 September 2014.
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