'My Great-Uncle, One of the Heroes of Scott Expedition' David's Role in Special Celebration

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), June 12, 2010 | Go to article overview

'My Great-Uncle, One of the Heroes of Scott Expedition' David's Role in Special Celebration


Byline: Clare Hutchinson

THE great-nephew of an Antarctic explorer who died by Captain Scott's side will speak to a Cardiff audience as part of the Terra Nova expedition's centenary celebrations.

David Wilson's great-uncle Edward Wilson, a physician, naturalist and ship's artist, was one of the fateful five-man party led by Robert Falcon Scott to reach the South Pole in January 1912.

He died in a tent two months later alongside Scott and their colleague Henry Bowers, as they succumbed to terrible weather conditions on their 800-mile trek back to base.

The British Antarctic Expedition set off from Cardiff in the Terra Nova 100 years ago this Tuesday, with the hope of becoming the first-ever explorers to reach the South Pole, but they were beaten by Norwegian Roald Amundsen. This weekend marks the beginning of a week of events to mark the centenary of the Terra Nova's departure.

David will speak about his great-uncle's role in the polar expedition and its impact on world history and science in a lecture today at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

The 46-year-old Antarctic historian, of Folkestone, said: "People ask what it was like to grow up with a hero in the family but for me it was normal.

My great-uncle's paintings of the Antarctic were on our walls and we used to play with all the artefacts - it just seemed natural to me. I first realised there was something odd about it when all the teachers at my school started coming round to look at it."

When his dad, Edward Wilson's nephew, asked him to collate their famous relative's belongings and send them off to museums David took up an interest in his great-uncle's work, which would eventually become his career.

He said: "I believe if you do something you have to do it properly so I started researching - and I haven't really stopped. …

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