Journey of a Lifetime

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The Crew

Gordon Rew

Gordon Rew, was born in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England on Christmas Day, 1934. He was a merchant seaman for 10 years, going from Deck Boy to Boson, and completed 25 voyages. He has held a passenger services licence since 1964 and prior to service with the Indiaman was a driver with several different coach companies. He has also been a professional London fireman (1959-63) as well as a lorry driver, factory worker, builders labourer and printers apprentice.

Gordon joined Garrow-Fisher Tours in 1969 and his first task was to take delivery of a brand new Volkswagen combie in Brussels and drive with Paddy Garrow-Fisher to Rotterdam. Here he was introduced to Pim Korver (cameraman) and Wolf Kielech (producer) of a Dutch TV station who he then drove to Pakistan following the route taken, where possible, by Alexander the Great. In their tracks was a group of Dutch Scouts called The Argonauts and it was this group that the TV people were filming for a documentary to be shown on Dutch TV. Gordon drove the combie back to Rotterdam after depositing Pim and Wolf in Lahore. The total trip took three months.

In October 1969 he drove his first Indiaman coach from Ostend to Calcutta with co-driver Les Hildersley (now deceased). Unfortunately he contracted food poisoning whilst in Calcutta and had to fly back to London.

In February 1970 he traveled on Alan Rosling's Indiaman coach to Istanbul and from there flew back to Calcutta and picked up his own bus for the return trip to Ostend. This journey took 83 days instead of the advertised 69 days, due mainly to repeated breakdowns. During this trip he met and later married one of his passengers (don't they all!), Marlene Hobbs.

In 1970 Garrow-Fisher Tours was dissolved and he, together with several other Indiaman drivers, was accepted as a driver with Penn Overland Tours. Penn continued the Indiaman, the only change being that the tour ended in Katmandu rather than Calcutta. The duration of the tour was 70 days.

During the 1972-3 season he drove a Land Rover as the Penn representative from Marrakesh, Morocco to Nairobi, Kenya. From Nairobi he continued south with Marlene and 7 passengers (the other three vehicles had returned to Marrakesh) looking for a suitable new route around strife-torn Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). From Johannesburg, now without passengers, they continued south and after a 6 week stay in Cape Town headed north to rejoin the other three Land Rovers in Nairobi, before returning to Marrakesh. The total journey covered 34,000 miles in eight months.

Gordon continued to drive with Penn Overland until Marlene became pregnant and he left the company in May 1974. He settled in Australia with Marlene and baby daughter Janine in 1975 and has been employed driving buses in Geelong, Victoria ever since.

Gordon has 2 children from his first marriage (Terry Gordon, 37, and Sharon Leigh, 36), 2 children from his marriage to Marlene (Janine Louise, 23 and Michael Alexander, 19) and now has 5 grandchildren.

If you have any comments, suggestions or contributions regarding the Indiaman that you would like to add, please send an e-mail to:
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