Monday, December 21, 2009

The failed 1934 expedition across Canada in Citreon half tracks


Bedaux announced his intention to cross northeastern BC with Citroën half-track trucks, the Canadian Sub-Arctic Expedition, launching from Edmonton, Alberta on July 6, 1934 and contained a formidable array of talent and beauty, including Floyd Crosby, a Hollywood cinematographer, two land surveyors, Frank Swannell and Ernest Lamarque, mining engineer Jack Bocock, a Citroën mechanic, many cowboys, as well as Bedaux’s mistress, his wife and her maid.

Due to a combination of weather, terrain and poor planning, the expedition failed and the Citroën vehicles were abandoned, one by one, some in more dramatic fashion than others. Two trucks slid off 120 foot high cliffs, while the cameras rolled. Another was sent by raft down the river, where it was to meet a carefully planted stick of dynamite. The shot was ruined when the dynamite failed to go off and the truck floated into a sandbar. The two remaining Citroens were abandoned at a ranch near Halfway River.




Once the highway opened up the territory in the 1950's around Telegraph Creek, a Fort St. John, B.C. automotive dealer searched out the abandonded Citroens and using their parts assembled one that he used and donated to the Western Development Museum of Saskatoon in the 1950s.

Born in France in 1886, Charles Bedaux moved to the United States and became a naturalized American citizen. He was a millionaire based on management consulting.

In 1937 he hosted the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at his French chateau. Collaborationist activities with Nazi-occupied France led to his 1942 arrest in North Africa while overseeing a German pipeline project, he was taken back to the United States on charges of treason, and overdosed on sleeping pills in a Florida prison in 1944.


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