Thursday, 20 August 2015

Death of Antarctic Explorer's Father

Frank Wild [Wikimedia]

Friday 20th August 1915: The funeral has been held today at Eversholt Church of Mr. Benjamin Wild, father of the well-known Antarctic explorer Frank Wild. Mr. Wild served as the village schoolmaster at Eversholt for 23 years. He was a great enthusiast for amateur theatricals and together with his large family of eight sons and three daughters the schoolchildren were trained to take part in many social entertainments. Mr. Wild also served as Clerk to the Eversholt Parochial Charity for many years. He retired from his post as schoolmaster several years ago due to ill health and moved to Flitwick before taking over a newsagent’s business at the Clockhouse at Ampthill. On his retirement from the school every pupil was given an illuminated card inscribed with a Biblical quotation from Proverbs.

After Mrs. Wild’s death five years ago Mr. Wild retired for a second time and went to live with a married daughter at Wood Green. His son Frank has visited the Antarctic three times and is now there as part of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic expedition. A second son, Eustace Wild, went out to South Africa with the Army Service Corps and died there of enteric fever. Three other sons – Laurance, Percy, and Stanley - are serving in the Forces. All three attended the funeral along with a fourth brother and their three sisters. Laurance Wild wore a sling on a wounded arm; his brother Stanley has also been wounded. 

Source: Bedfordshire Standard 27th August 1915

[1] Wild was second-in-command on Shackleton's epic Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1916. At the time of Wild's father's death in August 1915 the party's ship Endurance was trapped in pack ice. It subsequently sank, stranding the explorers. The group reached remote Elephant Island in April 1916 where Wild was left in charge while Shackleton and a handful of men sailed to South Georgia to raise the alarm. Wild and his men were finally rescued on 30 August 1916. 

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