MLU FORUM  

Go Back   MLU FORUM > 'B' ECHELON > The Sergeants' Mess

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 27-11-17, 12:37
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
Fan of Lord Nuffield
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Victoria Australia
Posts: 5,579
Default Ben Carlin book: THE LAST GREAT AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURER

Came across a new book published this year, the local library is linked to libraries across the state .

THE LAST GREAT AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURER author Gordon Bass. 365 pages. With quite a few previously unpublished photos of Ben Carlin.

I have read parts of the book. Quite an eye opener , the book details Ben Carlin's life with many previously unknown stories revealing his lifetime of adventures.

The book is honest and it doesn't portray Carlin as an angel with a halo over his head . It is a warts and all portrayal. Ben was not the type of guy your would bring home to meet your parents ! At age 50 he married a 20 year old woman.
__________________
1940 cab 11 C8
1940 Morris-Commercial PU
1941 Morris-Commercial CS8
1940 Chev. 15cwt GS Van ( Aust.)
1942-45 Jeep salad

Last edited by Mike Kelly; 27-11-17 at 12:43.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 27-11-17, 22:03
Phil Waterman Phil Waterman is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Temple, New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 3,927
Default For those of us not familiar with Ben Carlin

Hi Mike

For those of us who are not connecting name, country, and adventure could you add a bit of information.

Think I know who he is and what he is most known for? Half-safe?

Cheers Phil
__________________
Phil Waterman
`41 C60L Pattern 12
`42 C60S Radio Pattern 13
`45 HUP
http://canadianmilitarypattern.com/
New e-mail Philip@canadianmilitarypattern.com

Last edited by Phil Waterman; 28-11-17 at 14:40. Reason: I hate auto guess on my numb phone
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 27-11-17, 22:28
Richard Farrant's Avatar
Richard Farrant Richard Farrant is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Kent, England
Posts: 3,634
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Waterman View Post
Hi Mike

For those of us who are not connecting name, country, and adventure could you add a bit of information.

Think I know who he is and what he is most known for? Half-safe?

Cheers Phil
Phil,
Ben Carlin was an Australian who adapted a Ford GPA amphib jeep and circumnavigated the World with it during the 1950's. First leg was across the Atlantic from North America.

Here is a photo of Half Safe at Corowa Swim-In in 1999, yours truly standing in front of it.

Click image for larger version

Name:	halfsafe.jpg
Views:	4
Size:	191.9 KB
ID:	96027
__________________
Richard

1943 Bedford QLD lorry - 1941 BSA WM20 m/cycle - 1943 Daimler Scout Car Mk2
Member of MVT, IMPS, MVG of NSW, KVE and AMVCS
KVE President & KVE News Editor

Last edited by Richard Farrant; 27-11-17 at 22:34.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 28-11-17, 07:02
Lang Lang is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 1,649
Default

Here is the wiki bit on Ben Carlin.

I am going to the Adventure Film Festival in Bright Victoria to introduce the redone documentary on Ben's amphibious travels (narrated by him for an American adventure TV program in the 60's)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Carlin


Mike

"At age 50 he married a 20 year old woman" That has got to be a plus in anyone's books!

Lang
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 28-11-17, 10:17
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
Fan of Lord Nuffield
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Victoria Australia
Posts: 5,579
Default Buccaneer

A few interesting themes from the book.

Buccaneer Ben was married three times, the first and third lasted around 12 months. He probably was a borderline alcoholic.

Elinore felt like she was used and became bitter , she didn't feel like commenting on anything to do with Ben Carlin or the Atlantic trip.


Ben Carlin had became rather unstable in his 50's and he was proposing marriage to almost complete strangers, even trying to get his best friends wife to abscond to the USA with him ! More than one acquaintance described him as being very strange.

A Trove search reveals that the Australian print media had more or less lost interest in the trip by the mid 50's. Only a few very short paragraphs is all you can find.

Reminds me of Errol Flynn
__________________
1940 cab 11 C8
1940 Morris-Commercial PU
1941 Morris-Commercial CS8
1940 Chev. 15cwt GS Van ( Aust.)
1942-45 Jeep salad
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 28-11-17, 10:39
lynx42 lynx42 is offline
Rick Cove
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Paynesville, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 1,863
Default

Ben and Eleanor in Melbourne in HalfSafe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diuiv5iCAw4

Regards Rick.
__________________
1916 Albion A10
1942 White Scoutcar
1940 Chev Staff Car
1940 F30S Cab11
1940 Chev WA LRDG "Te Hai"
1941 F60L Cab12
1943 Ford Lynx
1942 Bren Gun Carrier VR no.2250
Humber FV1601A
Saracen Mk1(?)
25pdr. 1940 Weir No.266
25pdr. Australian Short No.185 (?)
KVE Member.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-12-17, 10:56
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
Fan of Lord Nuffield
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Victoria Australia
Posts: 5,579
Default book

The Australian leg of the world tour was an attempt at promoting the book HALF SAFE . The book had been given very bad reviews by the critics and the sales were very disapointing to say the least. There were other long distance auto expeditions going on in the 1950's and the Carlins were competing with them, trying anything for that extra bit of publicity.

During 1955 HALF SAFE was put on display in various cities including Foys department store in Adelaide and Myers in Melbourne. Around that time the Melbourne bayside footage of them was shot with Elinore putting on the fake smile for the camera..amazing thing is Ben appears to be sober.

Elinore took off at the end of the Aust. leg , she was sick of the endless abuse including being hit by Ben , but she and Ben kept corresponding for quite a while . Ben told everyone they were still together ! She had an affair and taunted Ben with letters .
__________________
1940 cab 11 C8
1940 Morris-Commercial PU
1941 Morris-Commercial CS8
1940 Chev. 15cwt GS Van ( Aust.)
1942-45 Jeep salad
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-12-17, 11:34
Lang Lang is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 1,649
Default

Mike

I have ordered the book so have not read it.

What's with the Womens Weekly scandal rubbish? Might be sensational and allow today's people to be offended and outraged. Has nothing to do with the efforts of one of the most resourceful and brave adventurers of the 20th century.

The people who write this stuff as the main focus of the story (sure mention he was not a nice bloke if you want to) not only lack the courage or skill to carry out a similar venture but are pandering to an audience of similar mediocrity who do not understand voluntarily undertaking a project where dying is more probable than possible.

Many, if not most, heroes of adventure, exploration and famous leaders and generals were probably not very nice people. It is quite possible that the rest of unremarkable humanity has an even higher percentage of not very nice people but we would rather bring down a high flyer than hear about some yobbo down the street who cheated on his wife or whatever

This is not criticism of your comments. Mike, as you are just pointing out revelations? in the book.

Lang
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-12-17, 13:11
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
Fan of Lord Nuffield
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Victoria Australia
Posts: 5,579
Default Army service

It's interesting to me because I like to know about the whole intricate story , including the human drama that went on behind the actual round the world trip. The earlier books are factual accounts but they don't have much of the more personal insights that this book has.

Ben said the most difficult section of the whole trip was from Calcutta to Vietnam , driving across Burma on an old deserted rocky track . A Burmese army truck with armed guards escorted Half Safe and the truck had to pull Half Safe out of a hole.

In the UK they had purchased a Ford 5 cwt van as a backup car and Elinore spent a lot of time in the van following Half Safe to Calcutta. Elinore wrote everything down in her journals and her writings are quoted here and there. A rival expedition , driving in a Hillman Husky was in Asia and Ben ran into them more than once.

When WW2 began, Ben was desperate to get into the shooting war , he volunteered for the RAF but he failed the medical. Ben was actually in the SOE for 6 months but he was released to return to the engineers.

I think you will enjoy the book, the book fills in many of the gaps that the earlier books left out.
__________________
1940 cab 11 C8
1940 Morris-Commercial PU
1941 Morris-Commercial CS8
1940 Chev. 15cwt GS Van ( Aust.)
1942-45 Jeep salad
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-12-17, 22:14
Lang Lang is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 1,649
Default

Mike

Ben probably went on the Ledo Road. Built during WW2 as a part of the Stillwell Road network to Burma and China from India. I will have to reread my copy of "The Second Half of Half Safe" - available from Guildford Grammar School in Perth.

It followed the route Birtles took in a 6 week near-death battle through the hills in the 1920's as the first vehicle from India to Burma. Now that IS a great adventure!

I drove it a couple of years ago in an old Suzuki but it is now quite good, if very windy. A team of two Landrovers from Oxford and Cambridge were the first over it after the war as late as 1953 - that is a great read "First Overland". They claim to be the first to drive from UK to Singapore.

Lang
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-12-17, 01:37
horsa's Avatar
horsa horsa is offline
David Gordon
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Lorena, Texas, USA
Posts: 619
Default

Always speculated he married the first time since she was bordering on becoming an old maid by the mindset of the era. She wanted to travel with him and it wasn't appropriate back then being unmarried.

The first book is really amazing if you think about the tasks he overcame on the open ocean. Also really shows how much more passed as general knowledge with his wartime experiences which allowed him to have the confidence. One point he mentioned was no fear of running out of water since he could distill seawater if needed having so much gasoline available. Another was his concept of allowing seawater into his lower fuel tank so it wouldn't have a vacuum issue or make his GPA unstable as it would have otherwise filled with air. I'd never have risked mixing sea water with my fuel, even if the jeep engine only requires 68 octane to run.
__________________
David Gordon - MVPA # 15292
'41 Willys MB British Airborne Jeep
'42 Excelsior Welbike Mark I
'42 BSA M20 Motorcycle
'43 BSA Folding Military Bicycle
'43 BSA M20 Motorcycle
'44 Orme-Evans Airborne Trailer No. 1 Mk. II
'44 Airborne 100-Gallon Water Bowser Trailer
'44 Ford T-16 Universal Carrier
'44 Jowett Cars 4.2-Inch Towed Mortar
'44 Daimler Scout Car Mark II
'45 Studebaker M29C Weasel
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-12-17, 22:47
Lang Lang is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 1,649
Default

Here is a Tv program on Half Safe and particularly Ben Carlin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-Gqi-RlbO0

Lang
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-12-17, 03:43
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
Fan of Lord Nuffield
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Victoria Australia
Posts: 5,579
Default fuel

Ben made an error and took on low octane petrol in Japan for the island hopping section to the Aleutian islands. The Jeep was running poorly and he tried two head gaskets to lower the compression.

The co-drivers didn't last that long, after experiencing the horrific claustrophobic on-board conditions at sea with oil fumes , the co-drivers would quit. Ben finished the last leg alone, driving down through Canada and the USA , even stopping off at Hollywood , the Ford headquarters and the Holabird proving ground where he tried to persuade everybody to take notice of his huge achievement.

It's been pointed out that the Pacific crossing was not really a true crossing, he sneaked up from Japan and skirted along the Aleutian islands . By this stage Half Safe was really in bad condition with many leaks and crossing to Hawaii would have been suicidal.

The author points out , Ben always got free use of garages and workshops everywhere he landed and without many other people contributing their time and facilities , the whole journey would have been impossible. Ben could be a charmer and he knew when to turn on the charm.

Ben shined in the workshop, this was his haven. A natural mechanic he was able to repair just about anything.
__________________
1940 cab 11 C8
1940 Morris-Commercial PU
1941 Morris-Commercial CS8
1940 Chev. 15cwt GS Van ( Aust.)
1942-45 Jeep salad
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-12-17, 07:02
Lang Lang is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 1,649
Default

Mike

The more you write about it, the less I think I am going to enjoy the book.

"pointed out it was not a true crossing". What crap is that. Thousands of kilometres of open ocean! "sneaked up around the Aleutians" - do you think the Aleutians, plus the thousands of kilometres from Japan to get to them in the first place, is like a sail through the Greek Islands or a trip down the Caribbean chain? The bloke who wrote this and people who think it is a reasonable comment should have a look at the map, the weather conditions that prevail all year round in the Aleutians and have a think, when they double their nautical experience in a rented row boat in the city lake, about being out there.

There were very few "true ocean crossings" of the Pacific until non stop Inertial Nav/GPS great circle route flights and voyages between USA and Australia or Asia and South America began. Certainly direct from Japan to Hawaii then San Francisco is not a true crossing with more than half the untouched Pacific south of the equator.

If he had left from Australia and called into Fiji and Hawaii they would still say he "sneaked through the Pacific Islands"

I have seen on this forum several times people saying they are not driving their fully restored CMP or even Jeep from Ballarat/Goulbourn etc to Corowa, a 4 hour drive, because it is too far. People prepare for years for an MVPA convoy with modern support facilities and fully restored vehicles. Yet we have a few dismissive lines describing Ben Carlin's journey on 1950's roads in a worn out vehicle with no support, 10,000km from Alaska to New York via Los Angeles.

Francis Drake, James Cook,Lewis and Clark and Neil Armstrong all did it on the government payroll. Livingstone did it from the money the poor subscribed to the collection box while all the others did it from sponsorships or rich supporters. Somehow Ben Carlin is some sort of con-man with snide remarks about how he could not have done it without people giving him financial or use of facilities assistance - none, by the way, while he was risking his life - I can only fall back on Benjamin Franklin:

"A man brands himself a coward who disparages ( sometimes written, belittles) the efforts of those who choose to test their mettle on ventures he himself has neither the courage nor skill to contemplate"

Last edited by Lang; 03-12-17 at 08:25.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-12-17, 08:01
lynx42 lynx42 is offline
Rick Cove
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Paynesville, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 1,863
Default

For those who are not too sure what 'Half Safe' looks like, here are a few photos of it when it was brought over to Corowa for the Swim-In by Bob Dimer WA. who managed to arrange a loan from Guildford Grammar School in Perth WA. in 1999 for the 20th Corowa Swim-In which started in 1980.
Bob Dimer and I had both been on ‘Back to the Track” to Darwin in 1995 and both owned an FWD HAR-1 truck so we had a bit in common.

Guildford Grammar had certain rules as to who could drive "Half Safe" and fortunately for me, Bob recommended me as an additional driver.

Click image for larger version

Name:	img471.jpg
Views:	2
Size:	762.8 KB
ID:	96103

Half Safe

Click image for larger version

Name:	img470.jpg
Views:	2
Size:	554.5 KB
ID:	96104

Me driving.

Click image for larger version

Name:	img473.jpg
Views:	2
Size:	592.9 KB
ID:	96105

Looking from the rear with me at the controls. I didn't realize just how far back from the windscreen he sat.

Click image for larger version

Name:	img472.jpg
Views:	3
Size:	707.3 KB
ID:	96106

My, then 15 year old, son Michael up on top of "Half Safe". Michael had represented Australia at the Dawn Service at Gallipoli in 1998, handing the wreaths to the dignitaries at the Dawn Service.

Click image for larger version

Name:	img474.jpg
Views:	2
Size:	800.2 KB
ID:	96107

Part of the line up of the 15 GPA amphibious Jeeps at the Corowa Swim-In in 1999.

It was an honour I will never forget. 'Budget' supplied the transport of "Half Safe" from WA to Corowa and return.

Regards Rick.

(OOPS!!, I missed your post at No. 3, Richard, with the photo of "Half Safe" and you.)
__________________
1916 Albion A10
1942 White Scoutcar
1940 Chev Staff Car
1940 F30S Cab11
1940 Chev WA LRDG "Te Hai"
1941 F60L Cab12
1943 Ford Lynx
1942 Bren Gun Carrier VR no.2250
Humber FV1601A
Saracen Mk1(?)
25pdr. 1940 Weir No.266
25pdr. Australian Short No.185 (?)
KVE Member.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-12-17, 08:33
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
Fan of Lord Nuffield
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Victoria Australia
Posts: 5,579
Default help

"As for snide remarks about how he could not have done it without people giving him assistance - none, by the way, while he was risking his life - "

Can't agree with that.

Half Safe was rescued more than once on the high seas by outside assistance. During one of the initial Atlantic crossing attempts, a freighter picked them up and hoisted Half Safe aboard, Carlin was about to scuttle Half Safe when the freighter saved them. Then they were stuck in the ocean very low on petrol and radioed for help, the Portuguese navy sent out a rescue ship ..with desperately needed fuel . I call that help in anybodies language, the whole trip would have been over without outside assistance . He was helped over and over by many people.

Nobody forced Carlin to do what he did, risking his life has nothing to do with it , that was his decision and he knew the risks. These days people still die on Mt Everest regularly but they took their chances and that's the end of it.

If anybody cast any doubt on his mechanical ability Carlin would raise his fists. He regularly beat up people including a guy who helped him repair Half Safe. Short tempered he was. Calling Elinore a moron all of the time. As a youth Carlin survived a knife fight but had a deep scar on his face for the rest of his life.

The author interviewed first hand witnesses , including the surviving co-drivers and many relatives , Ben's daughter and the documents. Carlin left a trail of empty gin bottles
__________________
1940 cab 11 C8
1940 Morris-Commercial PU
1941 Morris-Commercial CS8
1940 Chev. 15cwt GS Van ( Aust.)
1942-45 Jeep salad
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 03-12-17, 09:57
Lang Lang is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 1,649
Default

Mike

I am not saying Ben was a nice guy but what has this got to do with the Half Safe journey? It's just grist for the scandal rag mill. Millions of people ranging from aggressive criminals, wife beaters, union organisers, vicious bosses, sporting thugs, egomaniac celebrities and every day obnoxious drunks, many fabulously successful in their fields, have all or more of Carlin's personal failings

Despite the sudden interest in Carlin's personal life Half Safe remains for the foreseeable future to be the only non-airborne machine to accomplish a full surface circumnavigation of the earth under its own power.

Yes he was rescued because of circumstances when he had a problem but he managed to come up with a solution by using available assistance and did not throw in the towel. Why he would consider scuttling a still floating vessel to tread water in the Atlantic is a mystery to me- I think that was after the freighter was alongside. The last thing the freighter captain would have wanted is to be stuffing around lifting a box out of the ocean, I am sure Carlin convinced him to make the effort. I concede that is help.

What I don't concede is the "snide remarks" about being helped over and over with finances and facilities (which all adventurers/explorers/pioneers/mountain climbers get as pre-planned support) and there was nobody who set out with him in a support vessel or provided ready-action safety teams or set up a rescue plan etc to reduce his risk. Today's sponsored heroes - and there are still lots of these great people out there - being helped over and over again have vastly more support and what to Carlin would be unbelievable risk reduction.

No man is an island and even fabulously rich adventurers like Richard Branson would never be able to carry out their projects without help "over and over again" from people with skills, facilities and knowledge beyond their capacity.

He did not promote risk of death as any part of his operation, in fact when you see him interviewed he took the extreme British stiff-upper lip attitude and dismissed danger, often with dry humour, as irrelevant. The journey was the thing and the risk was part of the operation.

I just mention the risk of death because that is at the core of reaction and what people want to place at the centre of an adventure story. What separates peoples attitudes to envelope pushers is their personal risk threshold. Those with a high bar can understand, the bulk can admire and the low bar people refer to Benjamin Franklin.

Last edited by Lang; 03-12-17 at 13:31.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 03-12-17, 14:48
Lang Lang is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 1,649
Default

Mike

Just read the false start rescue page in "Half Safe"

Carlin never contemplated scuttling the vehicle. After the bearing failure he said they had all their gear ready packed to board a rescue ship (of which there were several around, being in the shipping lane). The tanker that rescued them came close merely to look at them.

Once on board the Norwegian tanker they were saying goodbye to Half Safe when the Captain said "Hell, you are not going to leave dat goddammed yeep lying around"

There was an unoccupied life boat position on the ship so they just lowered the lines, hooked up Half Safe and whisked her on board.

Also read the Portuguese Frigate story.

Carlin went to great pains to explain that at no time in any of his travels had he ever put out an SOS. "...we heard later that some vessel had reported receiving my SOS - a signal I have never radioed anywhere, any time. The mob demands drama."

The Portuguese Frigate came to check on them after the hurricane in which they were widely presumed lost. Carlin's radio call when he finally got through to give them Half Safe's position was sensationalised as an SOS when in fact it was not. During that call he casually mentioned for them to throw on a few drums of fuel as he was getting low from use during the storm (and probably would have run out close to their destination of Madeira). A similar venture today saved by a sat phone call and a charter boat bringing some fuel out would be looked on as good management solving the unforeseen storm use problem. Poor old Ben gets raised eyebrows about "getting rescued".

Lang

Last edited by Lang; 03-12-17 at 23:30.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 04-12-17, 08:01
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
Fan of Lord Nuffield
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Victoria Australia
Posts: 5,579
Default fuel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lang View Post
The Portuguese Frigate came to check on them after the hurricane in which they were widely presumed lost.
Hi All

If you read the lower paragraph on page 189 of HALF SAFE and the next two pages, you will clearly understand that Ben had worked out that he did NOT have enough fuel to reach Madeira , therefore, he radioed for help and he specifically asked for a fuel delivery, as described on page 191 .

" how we might snare fifty to sixty gallons of petrol "

The ship Flores, its primary task was to sail out to supply the fuel to Half Safe.


re: the earlier rescue, The book I am reading says that Ben pointed a signal light at the Norwegian tanker and tapped out SOS and that Ben had a hammer ready to make holes in Half Safe to sink her.

I believe the 1950's Half Safe book which didn't sell that well, is actually a very good read and the critics were unfair and harsh in their judgement . The pommy critics could not resist the opportunity to bring down another brash colonial upstart. There are few autographed copies of Half Safe around , I have seen one but don't have one myself.
__________________
1940 cab 11 C8
1940 Morris-Commercial PU
1941 Morris-Commercial CS8
1940 Chev. 15cwt GS Van ( Aust.)
1942-45 Jeep salad
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 04-12-17, 09:37
Lang Lang is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 1,649
Default

Yes, he did not have enough fuel and as I said would have run out before Madeira. I think he said he had twenty hours sailing which would have left him about 50 miles short. They were very big news in Madeira and everywhere else for that matter and articles of the time indicate the frigate trip was a PR exercise offered by the authorities when it became clear they had survived the storm and needed fuel. They were not in a life or death situation.

I reread the story in my copy. Looks like we both failed to take notes.

He certainly said he had a hammer handy to tap a hole as you mentioned.

He tried to stop a ship at night with his torch SOS but it just sailed past after acknowledging the signal. The rescue did not come from the torch SOS. For some reason they let many probable rescue ships sail past because they were going in the wrong direction or for some other strange decision.

He tried the radio which was not cooperating but finally he "hooked" the tanker which I read to mean talked to him on the radio. I saw somewhere Carlin talking about this pick-up and he said the tanker came close to look at them out of curiosity. Maybe "hooked" a tanker mean't when it came to investigate they just jumped up and down waving?

Anyhow it is all just supposition and nit picking and the main message for me is they suffered a disaster, recovered, and instead of giving up after a fine try like most people, maintained their resolve into the next year to begin again.

Elinore obviously had the passion also and although she could have stayed with her family, returned to help preparations which despite her already proven susceptibility to seasickness led to the ultimately successful second departure. At that stage they were a team (with one Chief and one Indian) and she should be acknowledged for her courage and tenacity.

He was certainly rough on her. I thought his attitude to getting the rope caught in the prop was a bit off. "You got it caught, you get it out". He forced the poor girl to dive under the boat for hours while he pottered around inside working on the engine.

Anyone who has ever gone boating with a woman knows the sea has some magic effect of bringing on stupidity or maybe the problem is it has some magic effect of turning the male partner into a shouting Captain Bligh!

Lang

Last edited by Lang; 04-12-17 at 09:47.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 16-12-17, 10:41
Richard Coutts-Smith Richard Coutts-Smith is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Barnawartha, Victoria, Australia
Posts: 1,235
Default

I was fascinated by this book when I was given a signed copy some 35 years ago, in my mind it was a fantastic feat, such a thrill to see Half Safe at Corowa, bit of a shock to find out it was yellow!
I always thought the pic of Ben sitting in a shed staring at the stripped jeep summed him up in many ways.

Back a few posts Lang mentions First Overland (by Tim Slessor), coincidentally that was the day we left for the High Country, I came across a copy while looking for some tent time reading material. It appears that I was given a copy in 1991.... time to read it again. Written with some entertaining dry humour (German Autobahn comment springs to mind) it was a delight. In hindsight this trip (32 000miles, 6 blokes, 2 series 1 SWB Landies) was only possible for about 3 years. It was filmed, with the unprocessed film being sent when possible to their contact at the BBC, a young chap by the name of David Attenborought eventually shown in B&W, sound dubbed in. A few years back a documentary with lots of the film (in colour) and interviews with some of the guys was released, Magnificent.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS8G-103ZRE
Rich.
__________________
C60S
Austin Champ x 2
Humber 1 Ton & Trailer
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 16-12-17, 11:56
Lang Lang is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brisbane Australia
Posts: 1,649
Default

Richard and Mike

Just finished the new book.

A good read.

The author obviously has limited practical skills and a quite a lot of insignificant errors in this area are in the book. He has no idea of scale or difficulty of undertaking repairs in trying circumstances. Several times he mentions repairs in dramatic circumstances using parts that Ben "just happened to have" or "found in the bottom of a box" or dismisses near-death incidents in a sentence.

That was not his focus, it was a human interest story with some really interesting characters. Ben Carlin was a difficult person who was his own worst enemy as he took not suffering fools to the extreme and had no way to work around people's weaknesses. He stuffed up the book deal by not co-operating and refused to co-operate with the press on a regular basis. He did have a few no-hopers along as crew which made things worse.

Really interesting relationship with Elinore. They were very similar in so many ways (drinking, smoking, partying) but Ben could not have give and take in the relationship. I wonder why she did not leave after the Atlantic but she obviously still had the passion for something. Notoriety, parties ??? Or maybe she just loved him.

The interesting thing about Ben in particular was the way people welcomed them into their homes and offered use of facilities for days, weeks and even months. Often when they returned years later they were welcomed back with open arms. People can put on an act for a short period to achieve some PR aim but not for months on end. They were obviously a welcome addition to the social life of their hosts.

The trip took over Ben's life for more than a decade but when it was finished he took on a successful career in publishing, was very astute in investing and died the equivalent of a millionaire today. His social habits were a bit too much for his extended family and he became more difficult as he got older, dying a pretty lonely bloke trying to reconnect with his lost daughter.

As I said, the author wanted a human interest story and trades on the heavy drinking by both Ben and Elinore, although he minimizes her drinking efforts. The Half Safe trip is almost incidental to the Ben Carlin story and just the connecting thread.

A lot of research and proven evidence but I would dispute some of his conclusions, particularly the black and white statements about why Ben acted as he did from his childhood traumas and other life disappointments. Pretty presumptuous to assume you know what is going on in someones mind, particularly someone you never met.

Buy the book, good read, and a look into the life and times of adventure past.

Lang
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 16-12-17, 16:24
motto motto is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Woodend,Victoria,Australia
Posts: 1,068
Default Once a Fool

Another book relating to the Ben Carlin/Half Safe story is Once a Fool written by an American named Boye De Mente who was recruited by Ben in Japan and crewed with him to Anchorage Alaska.
Not to put too fine a point on it, in this book Ben comes across as deserving the reputation attributed to the infamous Captain Bligh.
Speaking of Bligh, I've just got through reading Rob Mundle's book titled 'Bllgh - Master Mariner. If you are interested in a story of incredible skill, courage, hardship and perseverance this would be difficult to surpass. The survival of Bligh and 17 loyal members of the Bounty crew in a 23 foot open boat they sailed three and a half thousand miles through tropical storms and treacherous waters is an epic of seamanship few could equal.
As has been observed you don't have to be a nice guy to be an achiever and perhaps the opposite temperament can be an advantage in getting things done.
Bligh was a genuine hero and a 'straight shooter'. His character was assassinated whilst he was on the other side of the planet on the king's business. We could sure do with a few more like him and maybe even Ben. As the preacher says in the funeral oration for Cable Hogue, 'He wasn't a really good man, he wasn't a bad man but, he was a man.' That in effect is what Lang is saying. Ben was a man you had to respect even if you didn't like him.

David
__________________
Hell no! I'm not that old!

Last edited by motto; 17-12-17 at 10:26.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 20-07-21, 13:35
Tony Smith's Avatar
Tony Smith Tony Smith is offline
No1, Mk 2** (I'm back!)
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Lithgow, NSW, Australia
Posts: 5,042
Default

For those who want to hear the story from the Horse's Mouth:

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/kard...gpa/1277899635
__________________
You can help Keep Mapleleafup Up! See Here how you can help, and why you should!
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 05-02-24, 16:42
Hanno Spoelstra's Avatar
Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is offline
MLU Administrator
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 14,377
Default "Once a Fool" by Boye DeMente

Quote:
Originally Posted by motto View Post
Another book relating to the Ben Carlin/Half Safe story is Once a Fool written by an American named Boye De Mente who was recruited by Ben in Japan and crewed with him to Anchorage Alaska.
Not to put too fine a point on it, in this book Ben comes across as deserving the reputation attributed to the infamous Captain Bligh.
Here are some photos of the book "Once a Fool":

Click image for larger version

Name:	20240204_124051.jpg
Views:	0
Size:	906.9 KB
ID:	136962 Click image for larger version

Name:	20240204_124142.jpg
Views:	0
Size:	709.2 KB
ID:	136963 Click image for larger version

Name:	20240204_124301.jpg
Views:	0
Size:	704.2 KB
ID:	136964
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Carlin's Half Safe radios Mike Kelly The Wireless Forum 0 25-04-23 05:53
Great Book...Interesting Facts! r.morrison The Sergeants' Mess 3 30-04-18 13:39
For Sale: Pioneers of Australian Armour in the Great War Mike Cecil For Sale Or Wanted 1 31-05-15 02:36
Francis Birtles - Australian Adventurer written by Warren Brown Jan Thompson The Sergeants' Mess 10 05-12-12 03:12
Australian Carrier book on ebay Darren Witty For Sale Or Wanted 0 25-03-09 03:43


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 23:00.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © Maple Leaf Up, 2003-2016