Thailand Journey – W. T. Blake (1955) (1st ed)


Thailand Journey – W. T. Blake (1955) (1st ed)


Title: Thailand Journey

Author: W. T. Blake

Publisher: The Travel Book Club, London. No date, but likely to be the first edition of 1955.

Condition: Hardcover, with dust jacket. Book in good condition, dust jacket in fair condition. With 16 plates, including a few in colour. 191pp. App 9″ by 6″.

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About the book (from jacket flap):

This is the story of a journey through Siam, how Thailand, and it tells how Major and Mrs Blake travelled into the furthest corners of this exotic country in their search for the magic and colour of the East.

They were unaware of what lay before them and had no knowledge of the language, but undaunted they took their car to Thailand and set out on their travels over roads that were often jungle tracks.

Here is a record of what they saw during the thousands of miles they travelled; the vivid colours of the East; the people; the temples; the royal palaces; the strange sports; the river caravans; snakes, elephants, and the savagery of the jungle; all these have a place in the story of their amazing journey.

About the author (from Wikipedia):

Major Wilfred Theodore Blake (1894 – 1968) was a pioneer aviator, travel writer and traveller. He served with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

It was Blake who led the first attempt to fly round the world in 1922. The pilot for this mission was Norman Macmillan. The aircraft used were to include a de Havilland DH.9 bought from the Royal Air Force for the London to Calcutta stage, a Fairey IIIC floatplane for the Calcutta to Vancouver stage, again the DH.9 for the Vancouver to Montreal stage, and a Felixstowe F.3 flying boat for the trans-Atlantic stage. Blake’s ambitious round-the-world trip was cancelled after the second stage of the flight came to grief in the waters of the Bay of Bengal. Macmillan would subsequently write of the attempt in his 1937 book, “Freelance Pilot”.

In 1951 he drove his Standard Vanguard motor car on a record journey around South America from La Paz to Rio de Janeiro taking in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Paraguay along the way.

In 1959 he and his wife drove around the Central African Federation, again in a Standard Vanguard, at the invitation of the Federation Government, meeting both Roy Welensky and Edgar Whitehead, the Prime Ministers of the Federation and Southern Rhodesia respectively. Welensky impressed him greatly, Whitehead less so. Blake had visited many of the places he now saw twenty five years before and marvelled at the great changes wrought to the country. He produced a readable, if uncritical, book of his journey Rhodesia and Nyasaland Journey published in 1960. Now rather dated it is nevertheless a useful social history of the period – he several times notes how many ex-RAF men there were in Southern Rhodesia and their likely influence on its politics.

There is a bench in his memory at St Columb Major Parish Church, Cornwall. He lived in St Columb in the latter part of his life and died there in 1968.