**Update – We had a fabulous evening last night at LASSCO Three Pigeons with Angie Butler enthralling a merry bunch with tales of Frank Wild – Ernest Shackleton’s right-hand man. Angie related his biography well beyond Wild’s years on the ice. We were treated to a first hand account of how Angie cleared up much of the mystery and inaccuracy surrounding the polar hero’s later reputation, her discovery of his remains and ( a story that must have been too hot to be told in her BBC documentary) the apparent foul-play surrounding Wild’s “Polar medal” that came to auction recently.
Thanks goes to Angie Butler for a wonderful evening and to our own chef Sam who treated the punters with Baked Alaska and Penguin biscuits!
The story of the incredible life and death of a forgotten hero of Polar exploration was screened on BBC2 last month. The program followed the quest by Angie Butler to find out what happened to Frank Wild. You may still be able watch it on BBC iPlayer here.
If you saw the BBC program you will be keen to hear the story from Angie in person and ask questions! Please reserve your seat by email (see below).
Yorkshireman Frank Wild, was the most decorated Polar explorer of the great heroic age and second in command to Ernest Shackleton on the ill-fated Endurance expedition to the South Pole.
In the documentary, presenter Paul Rose, himself a Polar explorer, joins a remarkable new expedition, to bury Wild’s newly rediscovered ashes next to his beloved leader Sir Ernest Shackleton on the remote island of South Georgia in Antarctica.
Wild’s ashes were only rediscovered last year – more than 70 years after his funeral – in an underground chamber in a cemetery in Johannesburg by Angie Butler.
Frank Wild was a key player in five expeditions to the Antarctic with Captain Robert Scott, Douglas Mawson and Sir Ernest Shackleton, but while they became household names, Frank’s exploits were forgotten. His later life was blighted by bad press and bad luck, thousands of miles away from the ice in the heat of South Africa.
Frank was with Shackleton when he got within 97 miles of the South Pole in 1909. He was also his second in command during the epic struggle of the Endurance expedition, when for more than a year, 28 men battled for their lives after the ship became stuck in the ice. Frank played a key role in keeping the crew alive after they were marooned on a desolate island for more than four months, surviving on a diet of raw penguin, seals and seaweed.
Frank’s Polar career came to an end in 1922 and he tried to make his fortune in South Africa but ended up working in a bar in a dusty backwater. He died in 1939, and plans were made to send his ashes to South Georgia to bury him next to Shackleton. With the start of the Second World War, the plans were shelved, and as the years became decades, Frank’s ashes were lost.
That is until Angie Butler, author of “The Quest for Frank Wild” spent seven years trying to get to the bottom of the Frank Wild story and eventually found his ashes in a Johannesburg cemetery.
Angie Butler said:
“When I started researching Frank Wild, what started as an interest became an obsession. I was driven by a belief he needed me to tell his story. Little did I know it would uncover one of the great Polar mysteries of recent times and add a new page to the history books of Polar exploration.”
When, in November 2011 Ice Tracks Expeditions took Angie Butler and Wild’s ashes to South Georgia to be buried beside his friend and leader Sir Ernest Shackleton, Angie commented:
“For the first time I can let Frank Wild go. He is now where he always wanted to be – alongside his comrade Sir Ernest Shackleton – their graves facing South towards the Great Ice Barrier.”
“Frank Wild is no more unsung and forgotten – the great Polar explorer will be remembered up there with the greats such as Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen. I am proud I played a part in that.”
Angie will re-tell her story here at LASSCO Three Pigeons at 7pm on 16th May with slides, nibbles and a glass of wine and, to conclude, an invitation to go on an expedition to Antarctica!
Angie, together with Ice Tracks Expeditions are thrilled to announce a 19 day voyage on the 20 November 2012 to South Georgia via the Falklands and on to Antarctica. Carolina Mantella, who joins us from Patagonia, will introduce the “Ice Track Expeditions” voyage for those inspired to follow in Wild and Shackleton’s footsteps – exactly ninety years since they embarked on their last voyage together.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org in order to reserve a seat at what promises to be a fascinating and enjoyable evening:
7pm – 8.30pm, Wednesday 16th May 2012 (or just come along). All Welcome.
LASSCO Three Pigeons, Milton Common, Oxfordshire OX9 2JN Tel: 01844 277185