If novels like Beryl Bainbridge’s The Birthday Boys and The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett have previously ignited your interest in Polar explorers like John Franklin and Ernest Shackleton then Angie Butler’s new book A Quest for Frank Wild should go on your reading list.
Wild was one of Britain’s indomitable Polar explorers and is renowned for his roles in the Nimrod and Endurance expeditions. A close friend of Shackleton, he was the only explorer to reach Antarctica five times during the Herioc Age and received the Polar Medal with four bars, one of only two men in history to be awarded one.
The book charts Butler’s personal quest to unravel the story of the last sixteen years of Wild’s life. He had spent them in South Africa in penury and obscurity, so much so that years after his death in 1939 the location of his burial was unknown.
Wild’s dying wish was to be buried in South Georgia beside Shackleton, the death of whom from a heart attack in 1922 his friend had never come to terms with. But the outbreak of World War Two just two weeks after Wild passed away made this impossible.
Butler’s research uncovered the mystery of Wild’s final resting place, and as a tribute to the explorer on the 90th anniversary of Shackleton’s last expedition, she has organised a special voyage to his grave in the Antarctic and will bring Wild’s ashes with her so they can finally be laid to rest together.
The author has given Independent.co.uk exclusive access to some early photographs of Wild during his historic career which she and other researchers have unearthed.Reuse content