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Chief of scientific staff and biologist Terra Nova 1910-13
Edward Wilson - "Uncle Bill" - is one of the most prominent figures of early Antarctic exploration because of his easy manner and the great respect he received from the men he worked with, because of the paintings and drawings he made and because he was one of the five men making up Scott's team that reached the South Pole, but died on the return journey.
He was born in Cheltenham, England, and educated at Cheltenham College, then moving on to Caius College Cambridge where he read Zoology before qualifying in medicine at St. George's Hospital London. Shortly after he qualified as a doctor, Wilson became ill with tuberculosis and it was during the long convalescence from this illness that he practiced and developed his skills as an artist.
In 1901, Wilson applied to be doctor on Scott's Discovery Expedition to Antarctica, he was the second doctor to be appointed, originally because there was to be a detached landing party separate from the main expedition - this never happened however and both doctors stayed with the expedition. He was not fully recovered from his illness when first appointed, but Scott saw his potential and took him on as vertebrate zoologist and artist as well as doctor.
Expeditions, then and now take doctors, but it is expected that with the high level of fitness of the men, the doctor should have relatively little to do in the way of medicine, with the exception of accidents or the unforeseen, so there is always a secondary occupation that the doctor can fulfill until such time that the medical skills are needed. Wilson's specific job was to deal with the birds and seals that the Expedition came across and to write the appropriate section for publication in the report of the expedition. A longer lasting and more widely acclaimed legacy was the collection of water colour pictures that he made during this and the next expedition. E. A. Wilson's watercolours
Landmarks named after Edward Wilson
Wilson Piedmont Glacier
Biographical information - This is a difficult
area to research, I am concentrating on the Polar experiences of
the men involved. Any further information or pictures visitors may
have is gratefully received. Please email
- Paul Ward, webmaster.
What are the chances that my ancestor was an unsung part of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration?
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