Ben Carlin

po_Carlin-BenFrederick Benjamin “Ben” Carlin (July 27, 1912 – March 7, 1981) was an Australian adventurer.

He was the first and only person to circumnavigate the world in an amphibious vehicle. Born in Northam, Western Australia, Carlin attended Guildford Grammar School in Perth, and later studied mining engineering at the Kalgoorlie School of Mines. After qualifying as an engineer, he worked on the Goldfields before in 1939 emigrating to China to work in a British coal mine. In the Second World War, Carlin was posted to the Indian Army Corps of Engineers, serving in India, Italy, and throughout the Middle East. After his discharge from service in 1946, he emigrated to the United States with his American wife, Elinore (née Arone).

po_Carlin-Ben2Sparked by an idea he had had whilst in the military, Carlin proposed that the couple honeymoon by crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a modified Ford GPA (an amphibious version of the Ford GPW Jeep), which they named the Half-Safe. Beginning their trip in Montreal, Canada, the Carlins finally completed the transatlantic crossing in 1951, after unsuccessful attempts. From there, they traveled to Europe, temporarily settling in Birmingham to raise more money. They resumed their journey in 1954, traveling overland through the Middle East before arriving in Calcutta. After a short fundraising trip to Australia, Carlin’s wife left to return to the United States. He resumed the journey with new partners, travelling through South-East Asia and the Far East to the northern tip of Japan, and then to Alaska. After an extended tour through the United States and Canada, he and Half-Safe finally returned to Montreal, having traveled over 11,000 miles by sea and 39,000 miles by land during a ten-year journey. Following Carlin’s death in 1981, Half-Safe was acquired by Guildford Grammar, his old school, where it remains on display.

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