The Commonwealth Expedition or COMEX started in 1965 as an expedition from Britain to India in support of the multicultural ideals of the then called British Commonwealth. The idea was conceived by Lionel Gregory, who attributes some of the ideas to conversations he had with Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru invited young people "to organise a new consciousness in the Commonwealth through cultural and intellectual activities as well as common adventure." Nehru's death in 1964 led to the cancellation of the project, but at the invitation of the Government of India, an expedition of 204 young people set out from London on 30 July 1965. This was Comex 1.

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  • The Commonwealth Expedition or COMEX started in 1965 as an expedition from Britain to India in support of the multicultural ideals of the then called British Commonwealth. The idea was conceived by Lionel Gregory, who attributes some of the ideas to conversations he had with Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru invited young people "to organise a new consciousness in the Commonwealth through cultural and intellectual activities as well as common adventure." Nehru's death in 1964 led to the cancellation of the project, but at the invitation of the Government of India, an expedition of 204 young people set out from London on 30 July 1965. This was Comex 1. In India the five contingents visited different regions - then known as Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Rajasthan and Lucknow.They all met up again in Simla - staying at the Vice-Regal Lodge and performing at the Gaiety Theatre. Comex1 came under the patronage of H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh. The young participants had been trained by the RAF Regiment to be competent drivers, navigators, and radio operators. They traveled overland in five buses via Europe and the Middle East conducting a programme of cultural exchange in the capital of each country visited, arriving in India on 30 August 1965. The journey was not easy. There were barely roads through the searingly hot desert approaching Pakistan. Shortly after entering India, war broke out between India and Pakistan. Buses, driving at night had to observe a strict black-out. The experience had a huge impact on all who took part and on those they met. In the days before 'gap years' and cheap travel, the journey gave those who took part an unusual combination of responsibility , enjoyment, challenge and reward. A reunion on 17 and 18 October 2015 - 50 years after the first Comex took place at the High Commission of India's Nehru Centre. As many of those who joined the first expedition and who could be contacted were invited. Eighty people out of the original participants came to the event and shared their memories, photographs keepsakes found in innumerable lofts. A souvenir brochure was produced with the help of Massey Ferguson who had sponsored the 1965 expedition and were honoured guests at the reunion. The history of Comex is outlined in several books by its founder and leader, Lionel Gregory OBE. They include Crying Drums, With a Song and not a Sword, Together, Unafraid, and Journey of a Lifetime. The model has been followed subsequently at regular intervals, for a total of 14 expeditions, overland across the Asian Highway, within India itself, and into Africa, with Zambia serving as a base. (en)
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  • The Commonwealth Expedition or COMEX started in 1965 as an expedition from Britain to India in support of the multicultural ideals of the then called British Commonwealth. The idea was conceived by Lionel Gregory, who attributes some of the ideas to conversations he had with Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru invited young people "to organise a new consciousness in the Commonwealth through cultural and intellectual activities as well as common adventure." Nehru's death in 1964 led to the cancellation of the project, but at the invitation of the Government of India, an expedition of 204 young people set out from London on 30 July 1965. This was Comex 1. (en)
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  • Commonwealth Expedition (en)
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