JOHN G LIDSTONE pays tribute to John Shearman, former traffic commissioner for the Hong Kong government, transport manager with Fok-Lei in Macau, lifelong enthusiast and preservationist, who has died aged 78

John Shearman (right) with John Elves in front of the Blackpool Titan that reached Pakistan before plans to take it to Australia were abandoned.

Former Ensignbus chairman Peter Newman summed up perfectly the character of John Shearman, who died on March 19. “He was an honourable, honest gentleman of the highest order. He knew his buses and he loved his job and, even in retirement, he took an active interest in all aspects of restoration and preservation.”

It was with Peter Newman, and at his kind invitation, that I last saw John — a good friend of 40 years — on December 6 last year. He had been diagnosed a short while earlier with pancreatic cancer and had endured a period in hospital in intensive care but displayed much stoicism and bravery and felt able to make the lengthy round trip that day from Kent to Essex for our meeting.

I had first met him when he visited me, to see my collection of City Coach Company photographs, and particularly Leyland’s first postwar double-decker, Alexander-bodied 1946 Titan PD1/1 LD1 (LEV 917). He shared a lifelong interest in City with Peter, who keenly recalls a journey or two aboard the highbridge pair, LD1 and LD2, from his school days. The purpose was a business meeting to discuss the future care of his PD1/1 (the very same LD1, preserved in its later open-top guise as Eastern National SD 2102) and his former Kowloon Motor Bus AEC Regent V, as well as to enjoy a scenic drive by an RMC-class Routemaster over a potential new heritage route.

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