Fifty years ago this summer 11 coaches, each based on a UK university, took part in the 2nd Commonwealth Expedition to India. The idea came from LtCol Lionel Gregory who organised and led this and other Comex Expeditions under the Patronage of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. The 330 students involved gave cultural performances at stops on the way and in Pakistan and India, including Shakespeare plays, a Jazz Group, dancing and folk singing.
On the return journey the Durham coach (including students from Newcastle University and a Sunderland College ) was involved in a tragic accident near Zagreb in Yugoslavia with the loss of 14 young lives. I was a navigator on that coach and survived the crash.
I am setting up this “blog” as a tribute to those who died and because so little exists on the internet about the Expedition and its aftermath.
Our Durham contingent held a 50 year reunion recently at Chandos House in London, see post about it.
In trying to locate members of our contingent I contacted the Alumni Dept of Durham University who not only helped but decided to hold a memorial service for those who died on 30th September (the exact 50 year anniversary of the tragedy) at Durham Cathedral.

David Bowman

Photo above: The Durham coach near Simla, India

At the India Gate, Delhi:


3 thoughts on “Introduction”

  1. Very sad. Although I arrived at Durham just 5 years after this tragedy, I was unaware of it until I saw this Newswire item in December 2017.


  2. My friends and I who attended felt that the service in the cathedral was a moving and a fitting way of marking the anniversary. Thanks to all concerned.


  3. I was at Cuthbert’s in 1967. I lost friends in this tragedy. As President of the JCR at the time I attended family funerals representing the student body at St Cuthbert’s. It was a harrowing experience. But more so for the families and the survivors.

    RIP to the memory of the victims.


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