Les textes, photos et légendes sont de Graham POWELL

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Londres – Marseille – El Goléa – Adrar – Reggane

le vieux port
Notre-Dame de la Garde
Rade de Marseille,
le château d’If
Coucher de soleil
au départ de Marseille

La piste, le Land Rover de Graham, en direction de Timimoun

La place Laperrine
à Adrar
Keith Schellenberg
le livre de Ralph Barker en mains, avec le Maire de Reggane
Keith Schellenberg dédicaçant le livre de Ralph Barker
Keith Schellenberg en discussion avec le Maire

Prise de vues, présentation par Keith Schellenberg au Maire *
Les spectateurs de la présentation faite
par Keith Schellenberg
Pause sur la
piste de Reggane
* Sur la photo : de gauche à droite Lloyd Fleming, Wylton Dickson,
Dick Marks, David Wix, Hamish Moffat, Matt Synott et sa femme

Centre ville d’El Goléa

Réparations à Reggane
La femme de Keith Schellenberg, Dick Marks, John Stainton,
et Wylton Dickson
(mon grand ami !)
Près de Reggane
j'étais seul ici



Point crash Lancaster


En route vers le point crash
Les traces de Polidori (1962)

D'autres voyageurs du désert !

Halte technique
dans les sables

Pas question de se perdre de vue !

Un peu de verdure !


Halte dans le désert


Arrivée de l'équipe sur les lieux du crash
Recueillement devant le SCM

Les pieux restes du SCM

Démontage du SCM



In October 1975 I was working for an expedition company called Quest 4 or Q4 based up in Oundle near Peterborough, England. The company was expert in organising expeditions to various parts of Africa, especially the Sahara. In addition they were sometimes called upon to supply vehicles with driver/mechanics, I was such a person.
I was duly dispatched off with an expedition prepared Land Rover to meet Wylton Dickson in London (Eaton Square) as he had hired my services to go to Algeria to try to find an aeroplane (The Southern Cross Minor) that had crashed in South Eastern Algeria (the Tanezrouft) in 1933.
There were two Land Rovers involved, mine and the other one owned and driven by Keith Schellenberg.
As mine had twelve seats I took the Australian film crew and some other passengers which, including myself and Wylton made ten people, their luggage and the necessary food supplies in my Land Rover, quite a heavy load including all the fuel!
We left central London, drove to Dover and crossed on a ferry to Calais, then on to Paris where we stayed the night. Because I knew I was going to be working in West Africa after this expedition I went to the Mali Consulate to obtain the necessary visa. In the morning we left Paris and drove to Marseille, arriving at approximately 1am in the morning. I believe we stayed in Marseille for two nights and Wylton & I met an old Legionnaire who confirmed the existence of the plane due south east of Reggane (Algeria)
We then crossed the Mediterranian to Algiers on a ferry. On arrival in Algiers we stayed a night to stock up with extra supplies and to confirm we had the correct documentation for the journey, originally permission had been given by the Algerian Minister for the Interior. As everything seemed in order we then continued our journey south out of Algiers and stayed the night in an hotel in the moutains near Blida.
We continued on through Laghouat before stopping for a night in Ghardaia. In the morning we drove on but stopped to film the market in El Goléa before proceeding to Timimoun for the night.
In the morning we continued on to Adrar where there was a meeting with the Chief of Police before going through to Reggane to establish a base. From Adrar onwards there was no diesel and so we filled every container possible. Out of the total of 14 people on the expedition only 9 were allowed to then drive south to search for the plane.
Because of the political situation with Spanish Sahara and the closeness of the Mali border we were instructed to took for the plane “ONLY ON THE WEST” of the Trans Saharan route.
After we set off due south we made the first night’s camp at the ruins of Poste Weygande (Balise 250). In the morning it was decided to go approximately 45 degrees SOUTH WEST and then strike back to Bidon Cinq to form a triangle to search within. We could then grid search the desert by driving 1 kilometre in one direction then 1 kilometre in another direction, both Land Rovers to be approximately 1 kilometre apart. On the roof of each Land Rover there would be a person standing as an observer (lookout) to try and spot for anything unusual. The Tanezrouft there is totally flat with no distinguishing points at all, so anything spotted would need investigation.
As I was young, tall and fit I elected to stand on the roof of my Land Rover as an observer, with Hamish Moffat as the driver, Wylton then went up on the roof of the Schellenberg recovery Land Rover. On the 17 November 1975 at approximately 2pm I spotted something in the far distance and as we got closer it became apparent that it was a wreck of some kind. When we were nearly on top of it we spotted a piece of engine cowling that showed us it was probably the Southern Cross Minor!
We then waited for the other Land Rover (Schellenberg’s) to arrive before finally arriving at the crash site. I soon found and photographed a shoe (believed to be Bill Lancaster’s) which we buried and said a prayer for him followed by a minute‘s silence.
We then proceeded to take the aeroplane to pieces & put the engine (still with clean oil in the sump, the only damage was a hole in the block where an engine mount had torn out) inside Keith’s Land Rover and the fuselage frame and wings on the roof of his Land Rover.
We then proceeded back to Reggane via Bidon Cinq I believe. .....
On arrival back in Reggane we were duly summoned and discovered we were in A LOT OF TROUBLE!
The chief in charge of Reggane had told us to go south west of the trans saharan route and somehow he had found out that we had searched and recovered the plane from the south eastern area not that far from border with Mali!
Our passports were confiscated while he considered what to do, all this despite the fact that we had obtained permission from the Minister for the Interior for Algeria to search for the plane! After a night under house arrest in an empty building in Reggane we were sent back to report to Adrar!
In Adrar the plane and all the film equipment was impounded whilst “Le Chef’ decided what to do with us!
Wylton and Keith then decided that most of the people could “disappear”! So Wylton and I then went off with a Land Rover full of people back to Ghardaia airport (very modern at the time) where I believe they flew out to Italy (Brindisi airport?) and home!
On our arrival back in Adrar (where the plane and film equipment and Keith, Hamish Moffat and the two Australian film crew were waiting) there was the most enormous fuss going on...
“ Where are all the people?” said the Chief
“We don’t know, they ran away” we said!
He was very angry and told us to drive to Algiers to report and surrender our passports again where we could be ‘detained’. We had to leave all the seized items with him, possibly forever!
We then began the drive all the way back to Algiers, but I believe on the way Keith and Hamish decided to fly out of Ghardaia airport! Then there were only four of us!
Richard Marks, John Stainton, Wylton and I soon arrived in Algiers and Wylton quickly got us booked into the Aletti Hotel before we reported to any of the authorities. After that he (Wylton) had to go to the authorities to sort things out but the two film makers were allowed to leave to fly back to UK So now there was just Wyton and myself... ...
The following day Wylton announced that the authorities had reprimanded him for not listening, “all was forgiven and we could have the cameras & film equipment back but not the aeroplane”... yet!
Wylton then proposed that as ”he had an urgent business meeting in London and everything was all ok again ” I should drive alone to Adrar to pick up the film equipment and “if you get into trouble, here is the business card for the Second Secretary (Ghassan Zarifey) of the Australian Embassy in Algiers and he will help you if you need it!”.
That night I was sitting alone in the restaurant of the Aletti Hotel wondering just what sort of trouble I had got myself into to even contemplate doing the journey to Adrar and back on my own!
After a couple of days wandering about in Algiers I decided to leave and drove south on the same route as before to Adrar and back, BUT I THOUGHT I COULD DO IT WITHOUT STOPPING!
Then I did stop...! The first was at the hotel in Timimoun on the way to Adrar, I then collected all the equipment but not the plane and set off back. Wylton had previously mentioned Fort Mac Mahon which was near the route, so out of interest I visited the site of the fort, took some photographs and slept under the stars there in the deserted Legion fort. I then continued all the way back to the Aletti Hotel without stopping! The only thing I can remember is torrential rain as I was driving towards Laghouat (according to the locals, the first time it had rained for many years’).
After recovering from the longest drive ever I made contact with Gassan and went out to the Embassy to meet him. He then arranged my return to England via Paris (where I stayed one night).
I left the Land Rover in the underground car park of the Aletti and took a taxi to Algiers Airport with all the film cameras etc. As I was checking all the baggage in it became apparent that there seemed to be something wrong..... .... I immediately panicked and telephoned Ghassan Zarifey who just said “do not worry, wait there, DO NOT MOVE!” (Don’t forget I was only 25 years’ old!)
After about half an hour a line of official looking cars arrived at the airport, I thought it was for someone special... It was... Me! The head of Air France office Algeria, Gassan Zarifey accompanied by their assistants marched through the airport doors towards me, all my luggage was taken away by stewards and I was escorted across the tarmac directly on to a waiting Air France flight to Paris!



Tourisme en moto au Maroc