Former Smith Imperial coach driver George Morton, better known as Bert Morton has passed away.
Bert gained his PSV driving licence at the age of 21 and went on to drive for Smiths Imperial Coaches for 40 years until it closed in 2001. He then drove for Johnsons of Henley-In-Arden and Grosvenor of Shirley, before succumbing to bone cancer.
Paying tribute, Mark Smith, a freelance tour driver told CBW: “I knew Bert as a driver for the much missed Smiths Imperial which was an institution in the Birmingham area. The operator’s coaches were long lived but always immaculate.
“I travelled with Bert three times on excursions to the Brighton Rally. Smiths always ran a trip to it but they never entered it – and as senior driver, this was always Bert’s job.
“Bert drove the Van Hool-bodied Leyland Royal Tiger for 16 summer seasons. During that period it retained the original engine, including pistons and liners.
“I have worked since with many drivers but few could hold a candle to Bert. Another coach trade character lost.”
The funeral service is on March 9 at 1130hrs at Robin Hood Cemetery, Shirley, near Solihull.