An amazing pilgrimage

Tony Narracott of Byron Bay stands besides his father?s grave in Libya
Tony Narracott of Byron Bay stands besides his father?s grave in Libya

For more than six decades John Narracott's grave in Libia has had no visitors.

That is until just a few weeks ago when son Tony of Byron Bay made the long-awaited pilgrimage.

While not high on the list of most traveller's places to visit, the journey to Libya was a destination that has haunted Tony for 63 years.

Tony, who grew up in Devon, England, was just seven when his father died in Tobruk.

"My father joined up because his younger brother went as a war correspondent, so he felt obliged to follow,"Tony said.But four months after enlisting, his father was killed.

"I remember my mother crying and sobbing for three months, then she remarried and I was sent to a Methodist boarding school. It was tough, but I think it made me strong," he said.

His journey to Libya last month has left lasting impressions.

Travelling in a group made the encounter with his father's grave an emotional, but supportive experience.

Tony's journey has given him an insight into his father's last months - an ex- perience that has left him enthralled by the culture and history of Libya.

Many people thought Tony's trip would be dangerous.

"It was as safe as houses," Tony said.

"Women are seldom seen in public and only in Islamic dress when they venture out in the late afternoon.

"The men dominated the landscape and showed amazing discipline not eating, drinking or smoking during the day as it was the holy month of Ramadan.

Ancient history and architecture from the Roman Empire and the many other invaders was evident and Tony took relish in studying and photographing the many ancient sites.

Tony's passion for Libya's history set the backdrop for his journey.

His visit to his father's grave in a land that swallowed him in its timeless desert sands started as a pilgrimage.

But as the days passed Tony was engulfed by the deep culture and history.

He realised that his father had become part of that rich story.

"Despite everything, it has been an incredible journey," Tony said.

- Madeline Doherty

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