Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Now here’s one you won’t have seen before. We thought this was a new find, but further research revealed that it had been discovered by András Zboray back in 2004. However it’s location has remained a fairly well guarded secret and it was only by chance that we stumbled across it. Not only is it fairly undamaged, but it also has quite a lot of original paint still on it. One can only speculate as to why it has been overturned. Possibly to make removal of the axles easier - either to repair another truck at the time, or to liberate them for another use after the war. Anyway. What we are sure of is that it is 1942 Ford 4x4 chassis number C01 05159, if that means anything to anyone.
Thursday, 10 May 2012
Camping in the desert is a wonderful experience. Watching the sun set over massive dunes, settling down around a good fire, then falling into a tent as the night chill begins to bite. On this trip up through the Great Sand Sea we had little of that. A persistent strong and dust filed wind from the south for the first few days, swinging round to a northerly for the last two days. The problem with this was that it happened in the middle of the night. We retired with a hot sticky southerly - tent doors facing north, but as the wind swung round in the night our tents morphed into a wind blown shapes and filled with at least a bucketful of sand each! Bob reported that he went out for a pee in the night and could not see a thing for the swirling sands. The wind hit a maximum of 37 kph according to data retrieved by Jason upon our return. Character building stuff! Our logistics team supplied by Siag Travel did a wonderful job of supplying three meals a day in all conditions and never was there a grain of sand in anything. Top marks to Taraq, Mohamed and Islam. Pics show, the team about to hit the sand, the Jeeps descending to the camp, a long shot of a dusty camp near ‘Russian Well’ and our tents after the sand storm.
Saturday, 5 May 2012
Apparently the LRDG were not as keen on the Ford 4x4 truck as the Chevrolet of similar size. The Chevy was faster and more frugal on the juice. Perhaps this explains why their wrecks outnumber those of the Chevys. ‘Hardly worth returning for as it’s only a Ford’, would be the cry in the barracks. This one is fairly northerly in the Great Sand Sea, it’s flathead V8 removed and dumped in front of it. maybe an abandoned repair. One for my old pal Affer though. A Champion spark plug that he will no doubt pass comment on. Pictures are; a kite cam shot of the scene, a long shot that shows the nothingness surrounding the wreck and detail shots.
Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Another wreck and again it’s a Ford. What is so nice about these is the evidence of hastily welded on bits to take machine guns and sand ladders. It looks like these were cobbled together from bits of steel lying about on various workshop floors in the back streets of Cairo back in 1941. The upright tubes are just bits of pipe. Maybe gas pipes in civilian life, but welded onto the tub of the truck to take a Vickers, or similar. The sand ladder brackets were clearly too low at the first attempt, then lengthened a bit later on by about 3 inches. I assume they were lashed in place with rope. Sam found a genuine LRDG sand ladder that would have been fitted into these carriers in a shop in Siwa. A lucky find - especially for the shop keeper who had his best sale of the day! He was using it as a shelf.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
On this epic trip we visited about ten significant LRDG sites ranging from fuel dumps to whole trucks. This one we think is Sudanese Defence Force and attached to the Desert Air Force. The roundel on top of the cab has a yellow outer ring which those in the know base the identification on. We think it is a ‘Waterfall’ grill Ford truck, but anyone who may have further info please get in touch. The letters on the door appear to read ‘L48252’ or something like that.
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Safely back at The Mena House Hotel, Cairo and ready to celebrate! As the sun sets on the Pyramids our merry band of desperadoes were ready to sink a few beers and reflect on exactly what we have achieved. The first big drive through vast tracts of the Sahara in authentic Jeeps since World War 2. Nearly 3000 miles in total of which roughly 1300 were pure desert. Actual breakdowns were minimal and fortunately all things that could easily be fixed. We viewed 10 LRDG sites and artefacts and discovered an important new one (more info in a future post). We all got on well and found that 7 normally sensible men can easily revert to giggling school boys when separated from their normal habitats. The comments left both here and on Facebook by so many people have given us a lot of pleasure and raised a few laughs. Thank you. Ahead lies the complex logistics and beauracracy of getting both Jeeps back up to Alexandria and into a container for their return journey.
Saturday, 21 April 2012
My third visit to Siwa and reassuringly little has changed. The ‘Tuk tuk’ is starting to take over from the donkey and cart and these seem to be driven by pretty well any lad over about the age of 12. Motor bikes riden slowly potter around mingling with cars, trucks and donkeys in what appears complete chaos, yet nobody comes near to a collision, nobody wears a helmet and everybody smiles at each other. It really is a delightful place. Siwa developed in isolation to the rest of Egypt, cut off by its inaccessibility lying roughly 200 miles south of the coast and close to the Libyan border. We stayed firstly in The Desert Rose Hotel where an old Hillman Minx was in the garage that served as our service bay. We then moved on the The Siwa Paradise Hotel in town. Both had an air of complete calm. Photos show our service bay at The Desert Rose and Siwa by night when it really comes to life. We are now in an hotel 60 km west of Alexandria where we were enjoyed an Ice Cold near Alex moment and our first acquaintance with beer for 10 days. Today we head back to Cairo and Mena House Hotel to end the Expedition. Both Jeeps stormed the run north from Siwa yesterday running continuously at 50 mph without faults.