The incredible life of a famous Cheltenham man

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There are many famous people who have visited the town to perform in one of the many theatre locations including the Everyman and eth Town Hall but there are also a number of famous people who actually originated from Cheltenham. One of these such people is Edward Wilson.

Edward Wilson was born on 23rd July 1872 in the Montpellier area of the town. He was born the son of a well-respected doctor. He followed in his father’s footsteps and after finishing his education at Cheltenham College he went onto Cambridge University and then into London where he completed his medical qualification and he gained his formal qualification in 1901.

In August 1901 he set sail along with Captain Scott on the National Antarctic Expedition. He was appointed by Scott to be the expeditions official medical officer as well as it’s zoologist. He was there to make sure that the crew remained healthy and to help any individuals that fell ill during the journey and also to research and make record of any animals that they came across on their travels. As well as being a scientific man he was very skilled in art and as a result he produced a variety of reports and books on the findings of the Antarctic expedition. When the expedition returned from the expedition in 1904, he completed a number of projects based on scientific evidence and drew the images for a number of books looking at the British birds and mammals.

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In 1910 Wilson was once again approached by Scott to be Chief Scientific Officer on a second expedition to the Antarctic. This time they set sail in the ship Terra Nova and left the UK in June 1910. This time around the expeditions aim was to reach the South Pole and to be the first people to do so. They were a team of five people who set off from the coast of the Antarctic in November 1911 and they reached the South Pole on 17th January 1912. Sadly, for the team they discovered that a Norwegian explorer had reached the summit just a month before them.

Unfortunately, the journey back to the coast was not as trouble free as the journey there and by March 1912 two members of the team had already perished due to terrible weather conditions as well as a lack of food. The last three members including Edward Wilson were left stranded by a nine-day blizzard in their tent and unfortunately all of the men died as a result of the elements.