Rally the troops in an old faithful
TWO Royal Mail employees will be hoping to deliver a jeep to Germany as they take part in a Help for Heroes rally.
The award-winning Help for Heroes 4x4 European Rally has raised more than £300,000 for the charity since its launch on Armed Forces Day in 2010.
This year Ian Fraser and Ray Pipe, who work for Royal Mail Engineering, will be entering in Ian’s 1962 M201 Hotchkiss Jeep.
Their official team name is “La Jeep” and they will be driving 2,000 miles over 12 days following the Allies’ path from the south of England through France to Germany. The pair will drive the Hotchkiss Jeep, a later but almost exact version of the Willy Jeep used during the Allied Invasion.
The event started on Saturday at Littlecote House Hotel in Wiltshire. After using byways on Salisbury Plain they travel to Portsmouth for the ferry to France.
They will take in The Somme, Ypres, and Arnhem, where on September 17, 1944, thousands of paratroopers descended from the sky by parachute or glider up to 150km behind enemy lines.
The route moves south to Bastogne in Belgium where the Germans made a final push – The Battle of the Bulge.
Towards Germany, the rally goes via the Alsace region of France and its Maginot Line fortifications, then Dachau, ending at Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at Berchtesgaden on June 28.
Ian says they entered the Jeep because they wanted to experience driving it in places like Arnhem and Dachau. They hope the 50-year-old Jeep will handle the conditions.
“We’re essentially following the route of ‘Easy Company’ of the US Army 101st Airbourne Division, who were actually trained near to Swindon.
“Some of the competitors have asked if we’re mad.
“There are no doors, sidescreens, no heater and it has three-speed gear box, it’s pretty primitive.
“We are funding all the entry fees, ferries, accommodation and running costs ourselves so every penny we raise will go directly to Help for Heroes.”
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