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13. Centenary AAE Stage V Pt II
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Polar Philatelic Items for Sale on Behalf of
The Mawson's Huts Foundation

9. CENTENARY OF THE AUSTRALASIAN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1911-14 Stage III:

A. Frank Wild - Polar Explorer extraordinaire and his role in the AAE.
B. The Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at the Western Base on the Shackleton Ice Shelf, Queen Mary Land on 15 February 1912.


A. Frank Wild - Polar Explorer extraordinaire and his role in the AAE.

In June 2011 Jackleberry Press published a book entitled The Quest for Frank Wild (includes his Original Memoirs) ISBN 9780956927200. The author of the book, Angie Butler, spent seven years researching the final years of the life of Frank Wild, one of the greatest Polar explorers of all time. Frank Wild is the only man to have served on five expeditions to the Antarctic during the Heroic Age. He is also one of only two men to have been awarded four bars to his Polar Medal (shown below).
In 1901 Frank Wild joined Scott's Discovery expedition, in which he served with distinction. In 1907 he joined the Nimrod expedition and was chosen by Shackleton as a member of the four-man party, which attempted to reach the South Pole. They got to within ninety-seven miles of the Pole when they were forced to turn back. In 1911, despite pressing invitations by Scott to join him on his fateful Terra Nova expedition, Wild joined the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) and was chosen by Mawson as leader of the eight-man party, which established the Western Base on the Shackleton Ice Shelf and spent 12 months exploring Queen Mary Land. In 1914, Frank Wild joined Shackleton's Endurance expedition in an attempt to cross the Antarctic continent via the South Pole. The Endurance became trapped in the ice in the Weddell sea, where eventually she was crushed and sank. After many months on the ice all the expedition members reached Elephant Island, where Wild displayed outstanding fortitude and leadership when Shackleton left him in charge of the 21 men, while he and five others sailed the James Caird to South Georgia to seek help. Upon returning to the UK in 1916 Wild was commissioned Lieutenant in the RNVR and served in various capacities until the end of the 1914-18 War. After the war, Wild and his great friend Dr James McIlroy departed for Nyasaland to try their hand at farming. In 1921 Wild and McIlroy received a telegram from Shackleton asking them to join him on the Quest expedition. Sadly, on 5 January 1922, while in South Georgia, Shackleton died of a heart attack and Wild took over the leadership of the expedition until its completion in September 1922.

(Front)
Frank Wild's Polar Medal with 4 bars

(Reverse)
with permission from Joy Francis (niece)

In 1923 Wild emigrated to South Africa to farm cotton. The story of his life in South Africa until his death on 19 August 1939 has been well documented in Angie Butler's biography of Wild mentioned above. The original intention was to have Frank Wild's ashes taken to South Georgia and interred next to Shackleton. However, the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 prevented this from happening. Sadly no one knew what happened to his remains until recently. Following an extensive search by Angie Butler his ashes were eventually found in a vault beneath a chapel in Braamfontein Cemetery, near Johannesburg. With permission from his descendants and the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, in November 2011 Frank Wild made his final journey. His ashes were taken to South Georgia and interred alongside Shackleton's grave and he has finally been united with his beloved 'Boss' in the Whalers' Cemetery in Grytviken. The BBC produced a documentary programme entitled "Frank Wild: Antarctica's Forgotten Hero", which highlighted his achievements as a Polar Explorer and also told the tale of his last journey. Unfortunately, the DVD of this documentary has, as yet, not been released commercially.
On 25 November 2011 South Georgia issued a set of four different se-tenant pairs of stamps commemorating the four polar expeditions for which Frank Wild was awarded a bar to his Polar Medal (see below). They include the 60p pair with Wild and Scott (Discovery Expedition 1901-04), the 70p pair with Wild and Shackleton (Nimrod Expedition 1907-09), the 95p pair with Wild and Mawson (Aurora Expedition 1911-14), and the £1.15 pair with Wild and Shackleton (Endurance Expedition 1914-16). As part of the celebration of the Centenary of the AAE, the Mawson's Huts Foundation has prepared and had cancelled at the Post Office at King Edward Point, South Georgia a series of covers with three of the pairs of these stamps which highlight the important departure and arrival dates of the AAE from Hobart and at Macquarie Island, Cape Denison and the Shackleton Ice Shelf (Western Base).

The Mawson's Huts Foundation would like to thank a number of people without whose help the production of these covers and inserts would not have been possible. The covers started their journey as blank envelopes in Melbourne. They were sent by Air Mail to the Falkland Islands Philatelic Bureau (FIPB), a journey that involves a flight to the UK and then transfer to another flight to the Falkland Islands. Once at the FIPB they were in the capable hands of Caroline Middleton, who affixed the stamps and arranged for the transport of the covers to the Post Office at South Georgia. The first batch of covers (those to be postmarked on the 2 & 11 December 2011) were taken by a special courier, Jen Hines, who is the wife of the Reverend Richard Hines, a vicar from the Falkland Islands, who conducted the services associated with the interment of Frank Wild's ashes at the church and whaler's cemetery in Grytviken. Thus Jen Hines and the covers travelled on the same ship, the Akademik Ioffe, which carried Frank Wild's ashes accompanied by several members of his family to South Georgia. The covers were delivered to the Postmaster at King Edward Point and were duly cancelled on the specific dates and a South Georgia cachet applied to the reverse. They were then sent back to the FIPB by ship, where Caroline Middleton dispatched them by Registered Air Mail to Melbourne.
We are also fortunate to have many of Frank Wild's descendants living in Australia, and six of them have graciously agreed to sign special commemorative cards, an original of which will be inserted in each cover. An example of an insert card is illustrated below:
An article entitled "Wild Trip of a Lifetime" by Julie George, Frank Wild's great niece, has been published in the September 2012 issue of the South Georgia Newsletter and can be found at:
http://www.sgisland.gs/index.php/%28h%29South_Georgia_Newsletter%2C_September_2012 
It is a great read!

Click here to download PDF order form

 

Cover 1. The departure of the SY Aurora from Hobart on 2nd December 1911

This cover has been affixed with a se-tenant pair of 95p Wild and Mawson (Aurora Expedition 1911-14) South Georgia stamps and was cancelled at the Post Office at King Edward Point, South Georgia on 2 December 2011 (02 DE 11) to mark the Centenary of the Departure of the AAE from Hobart on 2 December 1911. The cds postmark is designated No. 1 and has been in use at King Edward Point since 15 May 2005. The cover is illustrated with an original photograph taken by Xavier Mertz at the time of departure from Hobart. At the bottom of the picture Frank Wild (white jersey) can be seen talking together with Mawson (cap on), Captain Davis (white naval cap) and the Governor of Tasmania (Homburg hat on). On the bridge is Second Officer Gray.

55 covers produced.  A few covers are available

Catchets on reverse

Cover 2. The arrival of the AAE at Macquarie Island on 11th December 1911.
This cover has been affixed with a se-tenant pair of 95p Wild and Mawson (Aurora Expedition 1911-14) South Georgia stamps and was cancelled at the Post Office at King Edward Point, South Georgia on 11 December 2011 (11 DE 11) to mark the Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at Macquarie Island on 11 December 1911. The cover is illustrated with an original photograph taken by F J Gillies at the time all members of the AAE were assisting in the establishment of the base and Wireless Station on Macquarie Island. Frank Wild can be seen seated in the centre of the picture next to the man standing. The flying fox was used to transport materials & equipment for the Wireless Station at the summit of Wireless Hill.

55 covers produced.  A few covers are available

Catchets on reverse

Cover 3. The arrival of the AAE at Cape Denison on 8th January 1912.
This cover has been affixed with a se-tenant pair of 95p Wild and Mawson (Aurora Expedition 1911-14) South Georgia stamps and was cancelled at the Post Office at King Edward Point, South Georgia on 8 January 2012 (08 JA 12) to mark the Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at Cape Denison on 8 January 1912. The cover is illustrated with an original photograph taken by Frank Wild at the time all members of the AAE were assisting in establishing the base and the building of the Huts at Cape Denison.

55 covers produced.  A few covers are available

Catchets on reverse


Covers 4-6. The arrival of the AAE at the Shackleton Ice Shelf on 15th February 1912.

Cover No. 4 has been affixed with a se-tenant pair of 95p Wild and Mawson (Aurora Expedition 1911-14) South Georgia stamps and was cancelled at the Post Office at King Edward Point, South Georgia on 15 February 2012 (15 FE 12) to mark the Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at the Western Base, Shackleton Ice Shelf, Queen Mary Land on 15 February 1912. The cover is illustrated with an original photograph taken by Andrew D Watson at the time the eight members of the Western Party were still on board the SY Aurora just before arriving in Queen Mary Land. Standing from the left are: Kennedy, Moyes, Watson, Hoadley and Harrison. Frank Wild is in the centre. Seated are: Dovers and Jones.

55 covers produced.  A few covers are available

Catchets on reverse

Cover No. 5 has been affixed with a se-tenant pair of 70p Wild and Shackleton (Nimrod Expedition 1907-09) South Georgia stamps and was cancelled at the Post Office at King Edward Point, South Georgia on 15 February 2012 (15 FE 12) to mark the Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at the Western Base, Shackleton Ice Shelf, Queen Mary Land on 15 February 1912. The cover is illustrated with an original photograph taken by Andrew D Watson at the time the stores and equipment were being discharged from the SY Aurora and transported with the aid of the flying fox to the base camp. In this manner about 40 tons of material and stores (including 12 tons of coal) were hoisted in four days.

55 covers produced.  A few covers are available

Cachets on Reverse

 

 

Cover No. 6 has been affixed with a se-tenant pair of £1.15 Wild and Shackleton (Endurance Expedition 1914-16) South Georgia stamps and was cancelled at the Post Office at King Edward Point, South Georgia on 15 February 2012 (15 FE 12) to mark the Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at the Western Base, Shackleton Ice Shelf, Queen Mary Land on 15 February 1912. The cover is illustrated with an original photograph taken by Frank Wild at the time the stores and equipment were being taken up the Ice Shelf with the aid of the flying fox. In this manner about 40 tons of material and stores (including 12 tons of coal) were hoisted in four days.

55 covers produced.  A few covers are available

Cachets on Reverse


 

B. The Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at the Western Base on the Shackleton Ice Shelf, Queen Mary Land on 15 February 1912.
(Three covers, Nos 7-9 and two overprinted minisheets, Nos 1-2)

On page 52 of his book, "With the Aurora in the Antarctic 1911–1914" (published by Bluntisham Press – Erskine Press in 2007; ISBN: 9781852970960), John King Davis gave the position of the Aurora where it moored adjacent to the Shackleton Ice Shelf and landed stores for the Western Base, as latitude 66° 18' 28" South and longitude 94° 58' East. The closest Australian Antarctic Station to this position is Casey (66° 17' S & 110° 31' E). As "The Grottoes", the hut for the Western Base, has long since disappeared it was decided to have AAT covers, commemorating the Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at the Western Base, cancelled with the everyday pictorial postmark at the Casey Post Office on 15 February 2012. Three different covers were prepared, one with the se-tenant strip of Centenary of AAE stamps and the other two with booklet and gummed AAT Icebergs stamps. In addition to postmarking the covers the Casey Postmaster also applied a Casey and an Aurora Australis cachet to the reverse of each of the covers.
It was Shackleton's birthday when the Aurora arrived at the ice shelf, that was to become the home of the Western Base, and it was Davis's suggestion that it be named the Shackleton Ice Shelf. Another important naming was made later by Frank Wild, who called the land discovered by he and his party "Queen Mary Land". At the time he didn't realize that he should have first sought permission from their Majesties to do so, and in 1914 he was admonished by three members of the Royal Geographical Society for this oversight. Later during an audience with King George V, he mentioned his breach of etiquette to His Majesty. The King wanted to know who had criticized Wild and after he told the King who it was his Majesty replied: "You may tell them from me that I was pleased and the Queen was pleased and they know nothing about it." Wild wasted no time conveying the King's message to the three gentlemen concerned! (Source: "The Frank Wild Memoirs" in Angie Butler's book).
In addition to the three covers, two overprinted minisheets were produced to commemorate the Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at the Western Base. One is the Centenary of the AAE minisheet and the other the AAT Icebergs minisheet.

The Western Party: From Frank Wild's Memoirs "At 7am on February 21st 1912, my party waved and cheered as the Aurora left us on the sea ice. Mawson had more or less left the choice of my party to me and later on, I had the satisfaction of congratulating myself on having made no mistake. The party was made up as follows:

G Dovers, cartographer, 21 years of age
C T Harrisson, biologist, 43 years of age
C A Hoadley, geologist, 24 years of age
S E Jones, medical officer, 24 years of age

A L Kennedy, magnetician, 22 years of age
M H Moyes, meteorologist, 25 years of age
A D Watson, geologist, 24 years of age
and F Wild, leader, 38 years of age.”

Covers 7-9. The arrival of the AAE at the Shackleton Ice Shelf on 15th February 1912.
Cover No. 7 has been affixed with the 2011 AAT Centenary of the AAE se-tenant stamps and was cancelled at the Post Office at Casey Station on 15 February 2012 (15 FEB 2012) to mark the Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at the Western Base, Shackleton Ice Shelf, Queen Mary Land on 15 February 1912. The cover is illustrated with an original photograph taken by Andrew D Watson and showed that even the dogs were transported with the aid of the flying fox.

Cover No. 7.  100 covers produced.  Plenty of covers are available

MHF Cachets on reverse

 

Two cachets on reverse of covers applied by Postmaster at Casey Station shown at right

Cover No. 8 has been affixed with a pair of 2011 AAT Icebergs se-tenant gummed stamps and was cancelled at the Post Office at Casey Station on 15 February 2012 (15 FEB 2012) to mark the Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at the Western Base, Shackleton Ice Shelf, Queen Mary Land on 15 February 1912. The cover is illustrated with an original photograph taken by Andrew D Watson and illustrates another phase in transporting stores and equipment to the site of the hut at the Western Base.

Cover No. 8.  55 covers produced  SOLD OUT

MHF Cachets on reverse

 

Two cachets on reverse of covers, applied by Postmaster at Casey Station shown at right

Cover No. 9 has been affixed with a pair of 2011 AAT Icebergs booklet stamps and was cancelled at the Post Office at Casey Station on 15 February 2012 (15 FEB 2012) to mark the Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at the Western Base, Shackleton Ice Shelf, Queen Mary Land. The cover is illustrated with an original photograph taken by Andrew D Watson at 7 am on 21 February 1912, which recorded the departure of the SY Aurora from the Western Base.


Cover No. 9. 55 Covers produced  SOLD OUT

 

MHF Cachets on reverse

Two cachets on reverse of covers applied by Postmaster at Casey Station shown at right

Overprinted Minisheets 1-2. Centenary of the arrival of the AAE at the Shackleton Ice Shelf on 15th February 1912.

Minisheet No.1 AAT Centenary of the AAE (1-100).  A few minisheets are available

 

Minisheet No.2 AAT Icebergs (1-100). A few minisheets are available.

 

 



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