11 days. 1100km across the desert. Four veterans will push their minds and their bodies to the limits in honour of three WWII veterans who survived against all odds after crash landing behind enemy lines in the Western Desert.
In 1942, three Australian veterans narrowly escaped death when their twin-engine bomber came down in enemy territory. Stuck in the Libyan desert with little food and water, inadequate clothing, and only the heavy compass they managed to salvage from the plane to guide them, they walked for 11 days, covering 225km, until finally, on March 26th, they found rescue amongst allies.
Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, Reginald (aka Mick) Ey, Pommy Mills and Johnny Hunt embodied the essence of what it means to be Australian: mateship, courage, perseverance and the will to survive.
For their remarkable feat, these men were inducted into the Late Arrivals Club, membership of which consists solely of aircrew who crashed or were forced down behind enemy lines in the Western Desert and took more than 48 hours to walk to safety.
To commemorate this remarkable feat, Mick Ey’s grandson, Jason Ey, along with three of his mates, will attempt their own challenge in tribute to these three brave Australians. They will run for 11 days, traveling 1100km across the Nullarbor Plain.
So why does Jason want to do this? “I want to pay tribute to my Grandad's 11 day walk across the desert after he was shot down behind enemy lines. Grandad was rescued on March 26th, which will be the day we finish and it's also my 40th birthday. So many of our Australian heroes from previous conflicts have passed away and taken their stories with them. We need to make sure their service and sacrifice is never forgotten and always celebrated in our Australian culture.”
In total, Mick Ey survived five plane crashes during World War II. Had he not survived, Jason Ey would not be alive today. Many similar stories have been documented and many more have been forgotten. This Commemorative Run is about reminding all Australians of the courage and sacrifice our veterans have demonstrated, and continue to demonstrate. We may not always know of their stories, but we should all respect and honour their service.
The money raised in support of this event will go towards expenses incurred by the runners and their support crew. All surplus funds will be donated to Legacy WA, a charity that supports the families of deceased or incapacitated veterans.