Ice Cold in Alex

In April 2012, John Carroll and friends followed the tyre tracks of the Long Range Desert Group through Egypt’s western desert

In 1940, Britain and its empire stood alone against the Nazis and the war wasn’t going Britain’s way. Giving up without a fight was out of the question and, with an urgency borne of necessity by the Italian threat to Egypt, the first Long Range Patrols left Cairo and slipped into the desert in September of that year. Their mission was, famously, to ‘engage in piracy on the high desert’. The Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) - originally called the Long Range Patrol - had been founded in June 1940 but had its roots in the 1920s as Europeans searched for the legendary lost oasis of Zerzura. Foremost among the group was Ralph Bagnold, a Cambridge graduate and officer in the Royal Corps of Signals.

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