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The 55th Anniversary of the Edis far eastern expedition
on 20 October 2012
The 55th Anniversary of the Edis
Far Eastern Overland Expedition
This real life action adventure is a true story set in the austere days of the 1950s, when I set off on a seemingly impossible journey, to drive across the world to Australia and back, in an old Land Rover that had seen better days peddling vegetables in the north of England. The foreign office, in all their wisdom, `quoting the Burma factor' advised, the journey was not possible and could not succeed.
Burma at that time was in the grip of conflict. Its land borders with India had been closed to outsiders since the end of World War II and they would not grant overland travel visas, to anyone, to enter the renowned Ledo/Stilwell Road, therefore, making it virtually impossible to pass through that country, to reach Singapore.
For many years the Burma problem has frustrated expeditions from around the world from even attempting this improbable journey; but when the story unfolded that a shoestring expedition had audaciously and illegally crossed into Burma, not once, but twice, which, hitherto, had never been accomplished before, it was understandable why they came knocking to enquire how we had successfully overcome this insurmountable problem. I was not, however, prepared to share that information, only quote that famous motto. `Who Dares Wins'. Although, foolhardy and risky, the actual event was more like a film script, with a James Bond flavour.
From the dust of the great Nullarbor, to the monsoonal rain forests of Southeast Asia, to the snow fields of Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey was a relentless struggle for survival. The harshness of the journey took its toll and many did not have the will or stamina to continue. We were hit with malaria, guinea worm, hook worm, fever, jungle foot, and dysentery, bitten by a scorpion, dragged from a river by a tank, rescued by an elephant from a swamp and the girls' knickers eaten by ants as we slept. We were saved by the Mujaheddin from a frozen hell in Afghanistan, and extricated an injured Afghan driver from two crashed Russian oil tankers, spilling their fuel.
On the outward journey only one other, was to reach Australia with me. We signed on an Australia bound oil tanker in Singapore, taking the Land Rover with us and working our passage across.
Many adventures flow through all the pages of the book, these are but a few sound bites.
On arrival back in the uk, my Land Rover and I had travelled more than 40,000 miles. One of the longest of all overland journeys, equivalent to driving one and a half times around the world. There was no sponsor for this journey, and no help given from any vehicle manufacturer. The old Land Rover used had no power winch, or any other special equipment.
Eric Edis Email: email@example.com