The expedition started from the VIA ALIVE Centre on the 31st of August 2018 where the team drove to Ashford, Kent for an overnight camp before setting off early on the 01st of September.
The aim of the expedition was to travel to Marathanos, Greece where the first episode of symptoms like PTSD were recorded by Greek historian, Herodotus at the Battle of Marathon https://rogueclassicism.com/2009/07/29/marathon-post-traumatic-stress-disorder/
On route the aim was to show our respects at the many battlefield memorials we passed by including Tyne Cot, Ypres (WW1) where there are 11,956 Commonwealth servicemen buried.
From there the route took us to Bastogne (WW2) following the route of the Band of Brothers mini series which was an engagement in December 1944 between American and German forces as part of the larger Battle of the Bulge.
The team then drove through Luxembourg and on into southern Germany and on to Berchtesgaden in Ober Salzburg the location of the Berghof or Eagle’s Nest where the men of Easy Company, 506th PIR left their names on the fireplace.
The fireplace in the Great Room of the Eagle’s Nest, made of expensive Carrara marble, was a birthday gift from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. The fireplace was extensively damaged by soldiers who inscribed their names into the marble which can still be seen today.
All those taking part on the expedition were great fans of the mini series Band of Brothers and thoroughly enjoyed retracing the footsteps of these soldiers.
The route then passed through Austria to the town of Villach before crossing through the Wunderpass into Slovenia a place of outstanding scenery and fantastic views along with great driving. Unfortunately on this occasion we had to pass right through Slovenia due to some mechanical problems previously but we will be back to explore.
After crossing the border into Croatia we stayed with some locals whose hospitality was fantastic and set us up for the onward journey through the Balkans.
We then headed south through Croatia and on to our first piece of off road driving.
This part of the route had some fantastic off road sections running parallel with the border of Bosnia and the cold war airbase of Zeljava where we got to drive along the runway and have a look around the aircraft hangars which are built into the mountainside and an old abandoned Dakota aircraft.
It was then back to some more offroading where we crossed over the border into Bosnia.
Bosnia was a huge part of our expedition as some of the veterans taking part had served there and it was incredibly cathartic to be there and visit some of the sites where friends had been lost. Visiting the town of Mostar that featured heavily in the fighting during the Balkans war.
From Bosnia the team moved on the Montenegro and Macedonia before entering Albania where we headed for the mountains and Theth National Park, a place of immense beauty and ruggedness with some great off road routes.
We were now reaching the end of our outward journey to Marathanos, Greece but on the way some of the team climbed Mount Olympus and a stop at the memorial to the Battle of Thermopylae.
Once the team had reached Marathanos it was time for a few days or relaxation before the return journey which would include a ferry from Patras to Brindisi in Italy.
The return journey was to travel through Italy and visit WW2 memorials in Salerno then following the Amalfi Coast and on to and Monte Cassino.
Heading north the team paid a visit to the ancient city of Pompeii which was buried in up to 6 metres of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. This is an outstanding place and wish we had more time to explore.
The team kept meandering north through Italy and crossed the border into Switzerland with its stunning beauty through the Alps.
Crossing the border into France the team followed the route of the WW1 frontline from the southern end heading north first coming to the French war cemetery of La Fontenelle and the American war cemetery of St Mihiel and on to Verdun.
From Verdun the team travelled to Normandy to show respects at the landing beaches of WW2 at Benouville and Pegasus Bridge where the team had the honour of being allowed to stand on the top of the original bridge.
It was then on to the beach landings of Juno, Omaha, Sword Juno and Gold
After 42 days on the road and 7,500 miles covered in which the team passed through 15 different countries on the 13th of October the team travelled back to the UK from Caen.
The expeditions was not without its trials and tribulations which will be covered in our You Tube Channel which will document the whole build phase of the project followed by the expedition.
To follow the build process on our You Tube channel please follow the link and SUBSCRIBE to our channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFcmnCQM9PNX9m1-wvxRRwg