Indiaman, or ???????: I must be getting old now - because I'd forgotten that name; although I first saw one of their buses in Iran or was it Afghanistan, forty years ago; but by then the 'Indiaman' days were coming to an end.
What jogged my memory? by chance I found this website, which includes a link to another site (plus this one..!): Indiaman. In 1957 Indiaman was certainly a very early starter (possibly the first...) in the Overland business - the above links are the source of the following photographs:
Indiaman, I've learned from the two links, was started up by Paddy Garrow-Fisher, and the story can read on the second link, where the name Nick Nichols is on the Indiaman crew list; the same name is listed on this site, where it says he once worked for Mr. Garrow-Fisher, plus Penn Overland. But no mention of the word Indiaman - or the real early days.
One noticeable thing about this Indiaman AEC bus is the statement written on the side of it: "20,000 miles through 15 COUNTRIES by A E C of course" - a nice bit of self-publicity by AEC; also the sponsorship by Exide batteries. The Second World War had finished only twelve, or so, years before, and the bus itself, and the one in the second photograph, were most likely to be pre-war models.
. . .this looks like the Kabul Gorge or Khyber
That first photograph reminds me of a book I read a long time ago about the Nairn Brothers - who ran an overland bus service across the Syrian desert, from Beirut and Damascus to Baghdad - in the 1920s and '30s. A brief account of this can be read here. When I read the book, it was from a library; I wouldn't mind a copy of it now - there's one available on abebooks.co.uk, but fify-five quid is too steep for me. . .
This is the bookseller's comment:
Book Description: Caravan Books, New York, 1980. Hard BACK in Dust Wrappers. Book Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. First Edition. 8vo. 112 pp; numerous b/w illustrations, 1 map, vignette on title page, endpaper maps. HARD BACK Binding in dustwrappers. Copy in Very Good Condition. The Nairn way is the story of two pioneering New Zealanders, Norman and Gerry Nairn, who established the first cross-desert bus service between Damascus and Baghdad. After serving with the Allies during World War I in the Middle East, the Nairns decided to stay on in first Palestine and later Lebanon, gradually building up a flourishing motor transport business, which was finally liquidated after World War II. Confronting flash floods and Druse rebels, desert temperatures and the Vichy French with the same high-spirited self-assurance, the Nairn brothers not only survived but prospered, and in the process added an important chapter to the centuries old history of desert transport.