Doctor - Jackson-Harmsworth
Arctic expedition 1894
Doctor and botanist -
Reginald Koettlitz was a naturalized
Briton, the son of a Reformed Lutheran
Church minister (his father was from Koenigsburg, then in Prussia) and an English lady who settled at
Hougham, Kent near to Dover in the
The grandfather had been the chief of
police in Konigsburg. The family moved to Germany to Koln area to
escape religious persecution. The father of Reginald married an
English governess in Germany. They moved to Ostend Belgium where
various children were born (Reginald on the 23rd of December 1860).
However again due to persecution they moved close to Dover, Hougham
and Dover itself. Where they had a doctors surgery. The father on a
census was put down as a spy by the enumerator.
Reginald Koettlittz was very studious person, after early schooling
at Dover College, he studied medicine at Guys hospital. Upon
qualifying went to the coal fields of Durham and doctored there for
8 years. He then heard that the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition was
going to take place and got an interview. He got the position as
doctor and biologist. However there was a requirement to be an
English subject. He persuaded the Mayor of Dover and others to
petition the home secretary to get British citizenship. This he
obtained days before embarking on the expedition.
His position in the Discovery expedition was a
condition imposed by Sir Alfred Harmsworth, who donated the very
large sum of £5000 toward the expedition, Armitage
(also of the Jackson-Harmworth Expedition) was also
included as a member of the expedition in the same manner.
Four years away seemed
to alight a wanderlust and on that expedition ending, he accompanied
other expeditions to Abyssinia, Somaliland and Brazil before joining
the Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic in 1901 at the age of 40.
Medical duties were usually expected to be light on such expeditions
as the crew and men were chosen partly for their good health and
fitness, Koettlitz was also to act as botanist to the expedition.
The land flora of Antarctica is very poor, generally consisting of
lichens and mosses, though phytoplankton were also studied as part
of this botanical remit.
During the Discovery Expedition, Koettlitz removed a
cyst from First Lieutenant Royds' cheek, said to be one of the first
Later members of Reginald's family
family took the surname of the mother rather than continue to use
Koettlitz. A sister of Reginald married Mesnel the anarchist in
France. A brother was a composer and moved to London.
Reginald Koettlitz died in South Africa in January 1916 of
dysentery along with his wife.
With thanks to Douglas Dickson for further
More about Reginald Koettlitz
Landmarks named after Reginald
A large glacier lying W of Mounts Morning and Discovery, flowing
from the vicinity of Mount Cocks northeastward between Brown
Peninsula and the mainland into the ice shelf of McMurdo Sound.
Feature Type: glacier
Named in association with Koettlitz Glacier.