SCOTT & The South-Pole

John Robert Francis ("Frank") Wild

A Portrait Of Frank Wild

Wild is briefly described as an explorer. He went on five expeditions to Antarctica. He was born in Skelton-in-Cleveland, North Yorkshire, near Marton, birthplace of Captain James Cook. He was the eldest of eight sons and three daughters born to a school teacher, Benjamin Wild and his seamstress wife, Mary (née Cook, ancestry claimed).

Wild joined the Merchant Navy in 1889 at the age of 16. In the Merchant Navy he rose to the rank of Second Officer. In 1900, at age 26, he joined the Royal Navy. The 1901 census describes Wild as an Able Seaman, aged 27, on HMS Edinburgh, anchored in Sheerness Harbour.

Wild's involvement in our larger story, is considerable: In 1901, he was with Scott as an Able Seaman on the Discovery, along with Ernest Shackleton who was then a sub-Lieutenant. He was with Shackleton on the Nimrod Expedition (1908–1909) and was a member of the team that crossed the Ross Barrier and Beardmore Glacier at a record latitude of 88º23’S.

In 1911, Wild joined Douglas Mawson’s Aurora expedition and was in charge of the western base on the Shackleton Ice Shelf. He then served as Shackleton's second-in-command on Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–1916). (This expedition hardly got started as its ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice before the shore parties could be landed. That Shackleton and his men made it back to England without loss of life, is another one of those amazing heroic stories of the men who explored the Antarctic.)

He was second-in-command of the Shackleton–Rowett Expedition (1921–22).

"As second-in-command of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Wild was left in charge of 21 men on desolate Elephant Island as Shackleton and a crew of 5 made their epic rescue mission to South Georgia aboard a lifeboat." (

GO TO A List of Persons Involved with Scott at the South-Pole

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Peter Landry