This film is part of Free

Libyan Desert - Bagnold

Ralph Bagnold, pioneer of desert exploration, pushed the limits of automotive technology, culminating in his 1932 expedition – the first east-west crossing of the Libyan Desert.

Amateur film 1930 49 mins Silent


The film records Bagnold’s innovative expeditions using adapted Model Ford cars and Renault lorries to access unknown sites of prehistoric settlement and cave painting, as well as documenting sand dune structure and movement in the Western Desert of the Sahara Desert, which covers eight percent of the earth’s land area. Wildlife and human life is concentrated around a few oases which are featured in the film.

The expedition party included: Bagnold, Craig, Holland, Prendergast, Newbold, Burridge, Fernie and Shaw, Paterson, Harding-Newman and Boustead. Bagnold went on to form the British Army’s Long Range Desert Group during World War II. His scientific research into sand dunes informed NASA’s work in space exploration, to the extent that the Bagnold Dunes on Mars are named after him.