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Frank Wild is to be buried next to Shackleton

Frank Wild is to be buried next to Shackleton in the Grytviken cemetery

© The South Georgia Website

Frank Wild was one of the most experienced polar explorers of the heroic era. He took part in five major Antarctic expeditions and was Shackleton's second-in-command on the Endurance expedition (when he was left in charge of the shipwrecked men at Elephant Island), and led the Quest expedition after Shackleton died aboard the vessel in King Edward Cove. In later life Frank Wild moved to work in South Africa where he died on August 19th 1939 in Klerksdorp and was cremated. Though he was well known in his lifetime, he has been largely forgotten since.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 travel programme 'Excess Baggage' on July 30th, author Angie Butler told presenter Sandi Toksvig that no one seemed to know where Frank Wild was buried. The only lead was an old paper cutting which said his ashes had been left in a chapel. She has written a book about the explorer, with the aim of setting the record straight about the period of his life spent in South Africa. Just as the book was due to go to print she had a hunch and flew to South Africa to a cemetery with a chapel near Johannesburg. There she discovered the vault in which his ashes were found.

Angie Butler announced that On the 20th of November we are taking him back on his final journey to South Georgia to be buried with Shackleton, which I discovered during my research that is what he wanted to happen.


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