Hampshire Cultural Trust

Welcome to Hampshire

This map pinpoints some of the most exciting cultural venues in Hampshire.

We will showcase, connect and empower its creative economy

Satisfied Customers

The following sections summarise Thornycroft sales announcements in contemporary issues of The Commercial Motor journal from 1933 to 1939 inclusive. The announcements do not necessarily include all Thornycroft lorry sales, and site visitors seeking further information are referred to the sales register held at the Milestones Living History Museum in Basingstoke, Hampshire. Orders announced in The Commercial Motor include lorries, buses, coaches, vans and municipal vehicles etc. However, the summaries below include freight lorry, van and tanker sales only. In some cases, chassis are sold, and it is not always clear whether these are to be fitted with lorry, bus, etc, bodies by their users. Chassis whose applications are unknown are included in the summaries below.

Repeats for Thornycrofts, 20 January 1933
Amongst important orders recently received by John I Thornycroft is one from the India Store Department for six more 3.5 ton (3,556kg) six wheelers. The British Cotton and Wool Dyers Association has placed its 25th repeat order, in this instance for three Bulldog 3 tonners (3,048kg), while Boots Pure Drug has placed its 13th repeat order for 2 ton (2,032kg) chassis.

A row of snout-type heavy four-wheelers in the livery of a brewer.

Municipal purchases and proposals, 28 April 1933
Penrith UDC’s highways committee has accepted Tinkler and Co’s tender for the supply of a Thornycroft 2 ton (2,032kg) lorry.

Important buyers of Thornycrofts, 16 June 1933
John I Thornycroft has recently received repeat orders for various types of vehicle. The LNER requires 21 2 ton (2,032kg) platform lorries, Anglo-American Oil is taking 11 4 tonners (4,064kg) and five 6.5 ton (6,064kg) chassis. Redline-Glico, another fuel company, has ordered three 4 ton (4,064kg) and two 6.5 ton (6,064kg) chassis.

Municipal purchases and proposals, 16 June 1933
Bedford Corporation’s electricity committee has recommended the purchase of a Thornycroft forward-control 2 tonner (2,032kg) with a low-loading body.


A fire engine on a Speedy chassis of the Durban Fire Department.

Big contracts for Thornycrofts, 21 July 1933
The Metropolitan Transport Supply company has ordered no less than 40 10-12 ton (10,160-12,192kg) RSWs, to which insulated box van bodies will be fitted. This contract is worth £60,000. In addition, Thornycroft has recently received an order from the LNER for 31 forward-control 2 tonners (2,032kg) with short wheelbases. This is the 46th repeat order placed by this customer, and raises the number of Thornycrofts going to the LNER this year to 42. All of the vehicles will be fitted with platform bodies built at Thornycroft’s Basingstoke works.

Big GWR orders for road vehicles, 11 August 1933
The GWR has placed orders for 330 new vehicles worth £106,000, of which no less than 104 will be Thornycrofts with capacities of 2 tons (2,032kg) and 6 tons to 8 tons (6,096kg to 8,128kg).

Beauty by name, but not, perhaps by appearance.

Thornycrofts for Co-operative Societies, 25 August 1933
Some recent orders for Thornycroft vehicles from Co-operative Societies include six 2 tonners (2,032kg) from Bristol, one 2 tonner (2,032kg) each from Blackpool and Burnley and a 3.5 tonner (3,556kg) from Rugby. Brewing firm Barclay, Perkins has just placed an order for four 6.5 ton (6,604kg) Taurus with six-cylinder petrol engines, while orders are in hand for other brewers, these being F Smith of Birmingham, Hall, Cutlack and Harlock of Ely as well as Courage of Alton. The latter is local to Thornycroft’s Basingstoke works.

In addition to the above, Mr C T Clark of Wrexham has placed orders for Thornycroft forward-control 3 tonners (3,048kg) powered by Dorman 4JUR diesel engines, for milk transport.


This Tartar six-wheeler looks rather austere.

Thornycrofts for London haulage concern, 24 November 1933
John I Thornycroft has received an order for 10 Bulldog 2.5 ton (2,540kg) four-wheelers and a 5 ton (5,080kg) lorry from London-based haulage contractor J R Munday. The firm will fit tilt-van bodies and operate the vehicles under contract to the LCC.

Overseas buyers of Thornycrofts, 2 February 1934
One of several orders from overseas for John I Thornycroft comes from the Laurenço Marques Railways for six hinged-sided Amazon 6 tonners, each with a 5 ton (5,080kg) platform trailer. Several users have recently placed orders for fleets of Thornycroft vehicles. In addition, 3.5 ton and 6 ton (3,556kg and 6,096kg) diesel and petrol chassis are being built against orders received from Melbourne, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro, with a combined value of approximately £12,000.

Thornycroft RSWs for overseas use, 27 April 1934
Two Thornycroft RSWs were recently supplied to the Crown Agents for overseas use. These vehicles are powered by three-cylinder Blackstone diesel engines.

This Stag RSW displays its characteristic sloping front and radiator grill.

Thornycrofts used by a growing carrier, 27 April 1934
Karriers Parcel Delivery Service of Liverpool serves nearly all of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire and the Midlands, and, by association with other firms, most of England is now linked with the main organisation. Karriers operates a fleet of Thornycrofts, ranging from a 2 ton (2,032kg) delivery van for local use to large capacity vans making nightly connections with the firm’s Liverpool, Manchester and Leicester depots. The company carries anything “from a parcel to a load”.

Important fleet orders for Thornycrofts, 26 October 1934
Twelve Handy 2 ton (2,032kg) chassis have been ordered by Carter Paterson, to which van bodies for carrying parcels will be fitted. This follows recent orders for 24 2 ton (2,032kg) chassis, so when the new order has been fulfilled, Carter Paterson will have been supplied with over 170 Thornycrofts.

Anglo-American Oil has ordered 15 tanker chassis, which will be fitted with composite bodies. This is Anglo-American Oil’s 35th repeat order for Thornycrofts. 

Another Stag RSW, a lorry version in the hands of a brewer.

More Thornycroft tankers for Anglo-American Oil, 2 October 1934

In addition to orders mentioned in the previous news item, Anglo-American Oil has placed an order with John I Thornycroft for additional tanker chassis, increasing the order from 15 to 24 vehicles, all of which will be fitted with composite bodies.

Beer in bulk by Thornycroft tanker, 15 February 1935
John I Thornycroft has recently supplied an RSW tanker to Courage, the well-known brewery based at Alton in Hampshire. This vehicle has a 112bhp six-cylinder ohv engine and carries a 1,500 gallon (6,819 litre) Staybright stainless steel tank, designed by Messrs Hopkins and Sons. Behind the tank is a small platform for carrying hop buckets. The tank is 14ft 4ins (4.37m) long and is discharged by gravity.

Thornycrofts for military service, 8 November 1935
The War Department has placed a repeat order with John I Thornycroft, for 25 Tartar medium-load cross-country RSWs. These vehicles have eight forward and two reverse gears, and are fitted with Thornycroft’s patented system of bogie axle suspension. This allows a difference of 11ins (27.94cm) between driving axle levels and allows either axle to tilt to an angle of 15 degrees. In addition, a power take-off will be supplied with each vehicle, capable of driving a 7.5kw generator set.

Thornycroft has also received an order from Argentina’s Ministry of War for 12 Tartars, similar to those mentioned above, which will be equipped with military bodies.

This forward-control Trusty is powered by a four-cylinder engine.

GWR buying more Thornycrofts, 15 November 1935
The GWR has placed its 38th repeat order with John I Thornycroft, and will take delivery of 34 forward-control 2 tonners (2,032kg).

Thornycrofts for parcels delivery, 1 May 1936
Carter Paterson has recently ordered no less than 30 Handy 2 tonners (2,032kg) for express parcels delivery. Their van bodies will be built by the operating firm.

Thornycroft for transporting mining equipment, 9 July 1937
J I Thornycroft has supplied two special RSW 10 tonners (10,160kg), in conjunction with Taskers of Andover, with semi-trailers to the Bibiani firm for transporting mining equipment in the Gold Coast. The semi-trailers are convertible to four-wheel trailers, each being able to carry a maximum load of 6 tons (6,096kg). The tractive unit of each outfit is powered by a DC4/1 four-cylinder diesel engine, and is fitted with Thornycroft’s patented system of bogie axle suspension. This allows a difference of 11ins (27.94cm) between driving axle levels and allows either axle to tilt to an angle of 15 degrees.

A six-cylinder forward-control Trusty, as evidenced by its short bonnet extension.

Thornycrofts for military service in Argentina, 3 December 1937
Recent shipments from John I Thornycroft include a repeat order from the Argentine Ministry of War for some rough-country Amazon RSWs, to be fitted locally with military bodies built in Buenos Aires. These vehicles are powered by six-cylinder AC6 petrol engines developing 104bhp, driving through eight forward gears and two reverse gears. Maximum road speed in top gear is approximately 37mph (59.5kph).

British vehicles for trans-desert service, 4 January 1938
An order for 11 Thornycroft Amazon cross-country RSWs has been completed for the Iraqi State Railways, forming part of a large contract for goods and passenger vehicles for trans-desert service. The Amazons are powered by six-cylinder Gardner 6LW diesel engines developing 100bhp, driving through eight forward gears and two reverse gears, and the vehicles have Thornycroft’s patented system of rear-axle suspension used for cross-country work. Each vehicle will tow a 6 ton (6,096kg) Brockhouse trailer.

From this angle, at first glance, the forward-control Trusty looks almost modern.

Special Thornycroft for timber haulage, 29 July 1938
A Thornycroft Sturdy tractive unit and trailer has been supplied to Abergvenny timber merchants Messrs John Ross and Son. A Mead-Morrison winch is fitted to the tractive unit for handling and loading logs of up to 6 tons (6,096kg) and of 30ft (9.14m) in length. The 15,000lb (6,904kg) winch is driven from the vehicle’s power take-off on the side of the gearbox. Most of this work is carried out over soft ground, for which there is a good margin of reserve power.

Thornycroft’s latest searchlight lorries, 19 August 1938
Although not a goods carrier, this lorry is included to show how Thornycroft was contributing to the re-armament programme in expectation of the forthcoming WW2. Thornycroft has received orders for 522 searchlight lorries from the War Office, of which 122 have already been supplied. Based on a Sturdy chassis with a four-cylinder petrol engine, each vehicle carries its searchlight on mountings secured to the load platform. The searchlight is powered by a vehicle-mounted EEC generator, driven by the vehicle’s engine.  


A handsome Trusty artic in use by a steel manufacturer.

Thornycrofts for overseas road-making, 16 September 1938
The War Office has placed an order with J I Thornycroft for eight Amazon six-wheel tractive unit units, along with five frameless tanker and three platform semi-trailer units. These articulated outfits are required for service in the construction of a new road from Haifa to Baghdad. The five tankers will each carry 2,000 gallons (9,092 litres) of bitumen while the trailer outfits are 15 tonners (15,240kg).

Thornycrofts for China, 17 March 1939
An order from China worth £227,000 has been placed for 300 Thornycrofts, which will be used on the construction of the Burma-China road.