First Overland: The Story of the Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition

By Tim Slessor

Why now not? finally, no-one had ever performed it sooner than. it might be one of many longest of all overland trips – part means around the international, from the English Channel to Singapore. They knew that numerous expeditions had already attempted it. a few had acquired so far as the desrts of Persia; a number of had even reached the plains of India. yet nobody had controlled to move on from there: over the jungle clad mountains of Assam and throughout northern Burma to Thailand and Malaya.

Over the final 3,000 miles it appeared there have been ‘just too many rivers and too few roads’. yet no-one fairly knew …In truth, their difficulties begun a lot previous to that. As mere undergraduates, they'd no funds, no automobiles, not anything. yet with a funky audacity, which used to be to develop into attribute, they got to work – wheedling and cajoling. First, they coaxed the BBC to come back up with a few movie for a potential television sequence.

They then lightly persuaded the brands to lend them factory-fresh Land Rovers. A writer was once even sweet-talked into giving them an strengthen on a e-book. by the point they have been able to pass, their sponsors (more than eighty of them) ranged from whiskey distillers to the makers of collapsible buckets. In overdue 1955, they set off.

Seven months and 12,000 miles later, very weary Land Rovers, escorted via police outriders, rolled into Singapore – to flash bulbs and poo. Now, fifty years on, their booklet, ‘First Overland’, is republished – with a foreword via Sir David Attenborough. in the end, it was once he who gave them that movie.

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We stayed the evening within the Y. M. C. A. , and went directly to Kuala Lumpur day after today. ordinarily we shunned any advice of vacationing to a agenda, yet for as soon as, with regards to our ultimate arrival in Singapore, we had agreed to slot in with preparations made via the Singapore representatives of these British businesses which had helped us. it seems that they have been laying issues on, and didn't wish us to reach in Singapore for an additional 3 days. This intended that we needed to forego the excitement of a wonderful helter-skelter during the last 400 miles and as an alternative mark time for a number of days in Kuala Lumpur.

B. B. was once riding, and located that, regardless of challenging lock, the auto couldn't get around with no going over the sting. Our car’s outsized tyres decreased its turning circle; the Mayhews’ Land Rover, with ordinary tyres, was once simply in a position to negotiate the elbow. Nigel and that i received out to examine. by means of juggling the auto back and forth, and through wrenching the steering-wheel first a technique after which the opposite, B. B. ultimately crept around. within the subsequent 30 minutes we drove miles, and negotiated 4 extra of these corners. It used to be darkish, yet within the head-lights shall we see on one part the rocky wall within which the line have been lower, and at the different the occasional tree-top which used to be transforming into someplace instantly lower than.

The incoming sufferer undergoes a rigorous exam to slot him for the cardboard index, his bed-linen is modified day-by-day, and he's guaranteed of each attainable human and mechanical take care of his restoration. The governing physique sits in ny, and, within the phrases of our American advisor, “There are just different hospitals on this planet like this one - and they’re in California. ” There are 400 beds, and once we visited the clinic there have been twenty-three sufferers. yet, we have been instructed, “This is a long term coverage.

No! ” I nodded. i used to be rather having fun with this. His face went dead-pan in utter disbelief, he became to his significant other, he switched off the jeep’s engine, after which without notice looked as if it would explode in amazement. “H - oly mackerel, Mac, did ya pay attention that! those men simply pushed in from London. From London - England. H - oly mackerel. M - an! ” It used to be so very spontaneous, and, after they had grasped what I had informed them, their enthusiasm knew no bounds. They desired to meet the others, they desired to shake our arms, they desired to see the autos, they desired to recognize every thing.

They have been dismantled into headloads at the Indian frontier in order that various teams of porters may hold the engine, the chassis, the wheels, and so forth. Then, by means of gradual phases, over the mountains to the some distance part, the place every little thing used to be reassembled. besides the fact that, all this is often fairly leaping the gun so far as our personal tale is worried - although it bills for our curiosity in attempting to achieve Kathmandu less than our personal steam. On arriving in Delhi we discovered a letter from the British Ambassador to Nepal during which he stated automobile had simply succeeded in making the adventure, and permission used to be now being hunted for us additionally.

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