The First Overland

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What about overland?’ I quipped, chewing on a wad of salted fish, running the spoon around my mess tin, chasing the last few grains of rice. The minute Noel looked up, I knew he was hooked on the idea of driving home. ‘

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This chance remark made in a jungle den, deep in the heart of Malaya, is the catalyst to the first overland journey from Singapore to

At the time, Roy Follows and his firm friend Noel Dudgeon were Colonial Police officers in Malaya, and engrossed in a lethal battle
fighting Chinese Communists, in the little-known war of the Malay Emergency.

One year later, in February 1958, they’d purchased an ex-army Willys MB Jeep from a scrap yard and were heading north from Singapore to the Communist infested Thai Jungles; home was just 13,000 miles away.


Noel Dudgeon and Roy Follows made a remarkable team, and shared that rare quality of mutual and implicit trust. Every aspect of the journey was shared from cooking, sleeping, driving, navigating, and even the occasional tumbler of whiskey.


The expedition was planned with military precision one year ahead to fall in line with preferable weather patterns/avoid monsoon season in N/E/ India etc.

Jeep was painted an impartial  cream to limit the chance of being mistaken for an ‘armed’ military vehicle.
• Similarly Roy and Noel chose not to carry armed weapons [guns].
• Jeep nick-named PLEUT 1 (Police Lieutenant 1). The Jeep was house and home for the whole length of the journey.

The expedition was not sponsored. Therefore, to minimize expenses, they carried only essential items, many of which (including a used parachute which was cut-up and made into numerous pairs of disposable underpants) were purchased from street markets in Singapore – particularly the legendary ‘Arab Street’

*Failed to acquire sponsorship, since all companies they approached believed the journey would be impossible.

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