Greyhound in British Columbia

D.G. "Brassy" Ball

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D.G. "Brassy" Ball

During 1934 Denis G. Ball was hired by John Learmonth, District Superintendent of the Nelson Division. John had started his own bus line in 1921 at Willow Point, in 1922 he extended his service east and moved to Balfour. He started a run to Trail from Nelson in 1925 and along with partners who served Kaslo and Slocan City after 1926 sold to the operators that began Central Canadian Greyhound Lines in 1929. They began a service to Spokane Washington and in 1931, started a service east once daily to Fernie BC where they met the Greyhound from Calgary. John had started a service to Nakusp and Vernon in 1930, so they bought him out again, this time hiring him to run the Nelson operation. John was kept on as District Supt. with his office in Nelson even after the Division was disbanded until he retired in Sept.1965, possibly thinking he might start another outfit again! Sadly he didn't get two years of retirement before passing in 1967. Brassy worked in the shop and drove when needed until May 11 1941 when he established his Driver seniority date. During the next 35 1/2 years Brassy drove to Kingsgate and Fernie, Pentcton and the odd trip to Kaslo, Nakusp and a few times to Fort MacLeod during busy times. When moved to Penticton in 1963 he was required to do student trips to Revelstoke and Cache Creek but never bid either run. There was one other run he did work for over a year and a half. During 1942 the US and Canadian governments started construction of the Alaska Highway and Greyhound was approached by the US Army to operate the service up the Highway until the US Army could obtain suitable equipment of their own. This was the Northwest Service Command of the US Army Corps Of Engineers. The buses used were the twelve 600's built in 1941, 37 passenger coaches with Hall-Scott pancake engines, the markings looked like US buses but the Mechanics, Drivers and management were Canadian. The passengers were Military,Government or contractors employees, whoever they were, they were required to produce their orders from the Colonel's office. Brassy volunteered, swore an oath, and was accepted. From the spring of 1943 until autumn 1944 his home terminal was Dawson Creek BC. Contrary to the Greyhound books that were published in 1986 and 2001, married men did serve on the ALCAN and Isobel was left home in Nelson with the boys. The drivers ran double, Brassy's partner was from Saskatoon, another married man. The drivers usually did a relay up the Highway, Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson layover then take the following trip to Watson Lake and layover, the next trip to Whitehorse. There were at least three daily trips from Dawson Creek to Whitehorse. In Whitehorse the U.S.Army ran a shuttle service to the airport and contractors camps with school bus type vehicles.Our drivers would run this service from 0600 to midnight, an 18 hour day, and have the next day off . As there was usually only one trip daily to Fairbanks our teams would work south the same way they came north. If there was a trip to Fairbanks they would run thru, or if there was a following trip, take a layover at Tok Junction. The company received fifty cents per mile plus fuel the drivers about 3 cents each per mile,very well fed and boarded, provided winter gear and the best cigars for 2 cents.




Dennis "Brassy" Ball Collection
Nelson Area Photos

Brassy in Fernie, BC Brassy on Baker Street in Nelson, BC Two nice Courier 500’s. W503 is a 1946 & W522 is a 1947. Both photos were taken at Nelson, BC on Baker Street. Gray Creek Historical Society Collection.
The photo for this magazine may have been taken in Nakusp B.C. The drivers are
George Mermet, second from right and possibly Neil Maclean is in there.
Nasookin in the Kootenay River near Fraser Landing.The capacity of the Nasookin was 30 cars and on bus. Photo was taken in 1946. George Mermet and "Brassy" Ball receiving safe driving awards from John Learmonth, 1951. Courier 100 on the bow of the Nasookin. The coach was a 33 passenger built to navigate the sharp corners on the Fraser Canyon Highway between Hope and Lytton, BC as well as to fit on the bow of the ferries in Kootenay Lake.
"Brassy" on the Nasookin having coffee Old Kenworth bus taken at Fraser's Landing near Balfour, BC, where the Nasookin docked. Old Kenworth buses taken at Kingsgate
   
These Greyhounds are at Slocan City, I think probably Christmas 1945. One
Hayes, one KW.
Frank Bach riding the cushion on a Courier 500 Brassy's son Neil Ball is Number 3 son of five of
taken inside a new 500
This photo was taken at Yahk in front of the New Hotel. The left coach is a 1938 or 39 110 Series a Calgary based bus built by Fort Garry Motors the forerunner of MCI & the 600’s. The right coach is 1936/37 Kenworth, a Nelson based bus. Gray Creek Historical Society Collection.



Brassy's Retirement
Brassy's last trip was Oct. 28 1976, shaking hands with Red Sutherland. Brassy and Isobel Ball Brassy's retirement with MC Frank Oakes, another Penticton driver.
Ted and Janet Amos, Ted was also retiring. Ted was terminal manager at Penticton, and then benefits manager at Calgary. Red & Min Sutherland, Chuck and Iris Densmore and Benny Surina. Benny and Vivian Surina, Emilo Pippi and his wife
Jim Kellett. He was the Greyhound driver that arrived at the Hope Slide. Jean and Ed Holweg Tony and Darleen Melusi
Rose and Frank Simister Sid Flebbe is giving Isobel Ball a rabbit at the retirement party. In the background is Ted and Janet Amos and Peggy Oakes. Brassy, Frank Simister (middle), Frank Oakes (right)
Brassy and Frank Simister Brassy and Frank Oakes Brassy and Sid Flebbe and Frank Oakes





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