Raising Dust In The Desert

Following the story of Alan Johnson, a Salford lad with a passion for motorcycles and art, ‘Raising Dust’ gives some behind-the-scenes grit and grime tales of Alan’s life as a ‘Don R’ – a despatch rider in the forces.

But it also reveals that his passion for motorcycles began before his despatch riding career in the desert campaign of the Second World War, as a mere four-year-old aboard the pillion seat of his uncle’s bikes, taking trips to Rivington Pike and Blackpool.

A 250cc sidevalve Matchless preceded a BSA Blue Star that carried him across hill and down dale (as far as to Devon, in fact) before war was declared and Alan, who by that point was a commercial artist, was suddenly out of work.


Heading to Salford Docks, he signed on as a merchant seaman, sailing in the North Atlantic convoys, dodging U-boats and delivering much-needed food and machinery back to England.

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