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Old November 15th, 2012, 01:13 AM   #11

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Let us not forget the Ladies.
There were several unusual Victorian women who took to adventure, exploring dangerous and unusual parts of the world protected only by that imperious voice and cutting stare than only well-bred women seem to have.
Some of them lasted well into the 20th C.
here are some expamples.

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Getruse Bell 1886-1926

Gertrude Bell was many things in her life but is best remembered today for her role in shaping the nation of Iraq after the First World War. Bell was to have many firsts to her name; she was the first woman to receive a first class degree in History from Oxford, and the first woman to write a white paper for the British government. She traveled around the world twice. Once, while mountaineering in Switzerland, she was caught in a blizzard and spent two days hanging from a rope. Bell’s true calling came when she traveled to Tehran to visit her uncle. In the Middle East she taught herself the local languages and studied archaeology. Many archaeologists of the Middle East at the time were also serving as scouting intelligence agents, like T. E. Lawrence, whom she met at a dig. In 1915, she worked with Lawrence again in Cairo for the British Arab Bureau. Bell’s knowledge of the Middle East was used to help British army movements. When she went to Basra she made contacts with many important locals. Bell also met the future kings Abdullah and Faisal. At the post-war conference on the British mandate in the Middle East, Bell pushed hard for self-rule and helped to advise King Faisal. She is buried in Baghdad, the capital of a country she helped create.

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Freya Stark 1893-1993

In her obituary, Freya Stark was called ‘the last of the Romantic travelers.’ This reputation has cemented her position as one of the best loved travel writers in English, and her long life held plenty of adventure. Her early life was spent in Italy, though she was confined by illness for long periods. After an accident where her hair became caught in machinery, she required months of skin grafts which kept her in hospital. Stark spent her time reading and teaching herself Latin. Her traveling life began in the late 1920s, and she was a restless soul from then on. Her second book, The Valleys of the Assassins, tells how Freya Stark became the first European woman to enter Luristan, in Iran. In the mountains, she mapped out the area for westerners for the first time and saw the ruined castles of the Assassins. Returning from this adventure, she published the first of nearly thirty books on travel that are still read today. The Second World War found her knowledge of the Middle East and languages put to good use in combating fascism. In Egypt, she founded a pro-democracy political group to counter the fascist propaganda being spread by German agents. After the war, she continued her travels and writing, for which she was made a Dame, in 1974. She continued traveling until the end of her life, often descending on friends whose homes she would commandeer.

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Louise Boyd 1887-1972

Born into wealth, Louise Boyd would use her large inheritance to explore the Arctic regions she loved so much. Boyd would be the first woman to reach the North Pole, in the relative comfort of an airplane, in 1955. Traveling to Europe after the deaths of her parents, in 1920, she spent some time in Spitsbergen where she found the ice beguiling. Her first Arctic exploration was in 1926 when she spent time filming and photographing the environment of the Arctic. It was her hunting of Polar bears on this trip which earned her the nickname ‘Diana of the Arctic.’ Her most famous exploit was assisting in the hunt for famed Antarctic explorer Roald Amundsen, who had disappeared while aiding a downed Italian airship. Her plane covered ten thousand miles in the search, but Amundsen was never found. For her efforts, Boyd became the first non-Norwegian woman to be awarded the Chevalier Cross of the Order of Saint Olav, by King Haakon VII. She returned to the US and led five expeditions in Greenland, for which she was honored by the Geographical Society, and an area of Greenland was named Louise Boyd Land in her honor.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 01:43 AM   #12

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Ah yes, the ladies. Here's another one:
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Kingsley"]Mary Kingsley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

She sadly died of typhoid in Cape Town at the age of 38. During her life, she travelled through Africa on her own, sometimes by canoe, lived with native tribes and climbed Mount Cameroon.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 01:52 AM   #13

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Originally Posted by Belgarion View Post
This bloke, if only for his name : Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet, OBE

This man is truly something else...
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Old November 15th, 2012, 02:33 AM   #14

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Originally Posted by Louise C View Post
Alfred Wintle. Amazing man. Fought in WW1 until Third Ypres, where he was severly wounded and lost his left eye, a kneecap, and several fingers. Annoyed at being sent to hospital in england, he tried to escape disguised as a nurse. Eventually returned to France and saw action for another year. Citated for bravery in 1919. He regarded the period between the First and Second World Wars as 'intensely boring'.

When WW2 began, Wintle was annoyed when his superiors refused to let him go to France. He planned to resign his commission and form his own army 'to take the war to the Hun.' After the French surrender, Wintle demanded an aircraft (with which he intended to rally the French Air Force to fly their planes to Britain and continue fighting Germany from British air bases), when refused he threatened an RAf officre (Air Commodore A R Boyle) with a gun. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London. When he was put on trial for his action, he did not deny that he had said to Boyle 'people like you ought to be shot'. Instead he produced a list of other people he felt should be shot as a patriotic gesture. After this, the charges against him were dropped, except the charge of threatening to shoot Boyle, for which he received a formal reprimand. Wintle was sent abroad to join his old regiment(the 1st Royal Dragoons) and went into action gathering intelligence and coordinating raids on the Vichy French in Syria. Wintle was asked to go to Vichy France in disguise to determine the condition of British POWs held there. Wintle was betrayed, arrested as a spy and imprisoned by Vichy.

During his captivity, he informed his guards that it was his duty as an English officer to escape, he successfully did so once by quickly unhinging his cell door and hiding in a sentry box before slipping out quietly, but he was betrayed and recaptured with in a week. Wintle's guard was doubled from this point on. He responded by going on a 13-day hunger strike in protest against 'the slovenly appearance of the guards who are not fit to guard an English officer'. He also informed anyone who would listen (including Maurice Molia, the camp commandant) exactly how he felt about their cowardice and treachery to their country. shortly after, he sawed through the bars of his cell, hid in a garbage cart, and slipped over the wall of the castle, making his way back to Britain via Spain. Molia later claimed on Wintle's This is Your Life programme in 1959 that shortly after the escape 'because of Wintle's dauntless determination to maintain English standards and his constant challenge to our authority' the entire garrion of 280 men had gone over to the Resistance.

Wintle made legal history when he brought a legal action against a dishonest solicitor named Nye, whom he accused of appropriating £44,000 from the estate of Wintle's deceased cousin. To publicise the case, in 1955 wintle served time in prison after forcing Nye to remove his trousers and submit to being photographed. He pursued Nye through the courts for the next three years, losing his case on two occasions. On 26 November 1958 the Lords announced that they had for Wintle, the reasons for judgement being reserved. Wintle thus became the first non-laywer to receive a unanimous verdict in his favour in the House of Lords.

Memorable quotes by Wintle:
'I am never bored when I am present' (on being asked on his release from prison if he found it boring)
'No true gentleman wouldl ever unfurl one' (his umbrella).
'Guy Fawkes was the last man to enter Parliament with good intentions. You need another like me to carry on the good work.'
'I get down on my knees every night and thank God for making me an Englishman. It is the greatest honour He could bestow. After all, he might have made me a chimpanzee, or a flea, or a Frenchman or a German.'
'Stop dying at once and when you get up, get your bloody hair cut' (to Trooper Cedric Mays, Royal Dragoons, who recovered and lived to the age of 95)
My old Maths tutor new him, mad as a hatter he was, used to raise and lower the Union Jack every morning with full honours. The BBC made a mini series about him staring Jim Broadbent.

Last edited by Lawnmowerman; November 15th, 2012 at 02:48 AM.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:03 AM   #15

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Originally Posted by Lawnmowerman View Post
My old Maths tutor new him, mad as a hatter he was, used to raise and lower the Union Jack every morning with full honours. The BBC made a mini series about him staring Jim Broadbent.
That is interesting that your old tutor knew him. The Jim Broadbent programme was brilliant, I have it on DVD.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:14 AM   #16
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John Hanning Speke.

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hanning_Speke]John Hanning Speke - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

He was an adventurer. He went to the Himalayas, Everest and tried to find the source of the River Nile, he also named Lake Victoria in Africa.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:37 AM   #17

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The British enthusiasm for exploration (Geographic and Scientific) predates the Victorians by several decades. The book I'm reading at the moment 'The Age Of Wonder' by Richard Holmes, is all about Georgian exploration (and it's brilliant).
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:45 AM   #18

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Originally Posted by astafjevs View Post
The British enthusiasm for exploration (Geographic and Scientific) predates the Victorians by several decades.
It did, and it also outlasted them by several decades, as I pointed out in the OP but I feel it was the Victorians who really brought that spirit to the fore - only my opinion, of course.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:59 AM   #19

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Lady Hester Stanhope just lived into Queen Victoria's reign:
[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Hester_Stanhope]Lady Hester Stanhope - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

I've just been reading the very amusing account of her in Kinglake's 'Eothen', here's an anecdote:

"Lady Hester related to me another anecdote of her
Arab life. It was when the heroic qualities of the English-
woman were just beginning to be felt amongst the people
of the desert, that she was marching one day along with
the forces of the tribe to which she had allied herself.
She perceived that preparations for an engagement were
going on; and upon her making inquiry as to the cause,
the sheik at first affected mystery and concealment, but
at last confessed that war had been declared against his
tribe on account of his alliance with the English princess,
and that they were now unfortunately about to be at-
tacked by a yery superior force. He made it appear that
Lady Hester was the sole cause of hostility betwixt his
tribe and the impending enemy, and that his sacred duty
of protecting the Englishwoman whom he had admitted
as his guest was the only obstacle which prevented an
amicable settlement of tih dispute. The sheik hinted
that his tribe was likrly to sustain an almost overwhelm-
ing blow, but at the same time declared that no fear of
the consequences, however terrible to him and his whole
people, should induce him to dream of abandoning his
illustrious guest. The heroine instantly took her part:
it was not for her to be a source of danger to her friends,
but rather to her enemies; so she resolved to turn away
from the people, and trust for help to none save only her
haughty self. The sheiks affected to dissuade her from
so rash a course, and fairly told her that although they
(having been freed from her presence) would be able to
make good terms for themselves, yet that there were no
means of allaying the hostility felt towards her, and that
the whole face of the desert would be swept by the horse-
men of her enemies so carefully as to make her escape into
other districts almost impossible. The brave woman was
not to be moved by terrors of this kind, and bidding fare-
well to the tribe which had honoured and protected her,
she turned her horse's head, and rode straight away,
without friend or follower. Hours had elapsed, and for
some time she had been alone in the centre of the round
horizon, when her quick eye perceived some horsemen in
the distance. The party came nearer and nearer; soon
it was plain that they were making towards her; and
presently some hundreds of Bedouins, fully armed,
galloped up to her, ferociously shouting, and apparently
intending to take her life at the instant with their pointed
spears. Her face at the time was covered with the yash-
mak, according to Eastern usage; but at the moment
when the foremost of the horsemen had all but reached
her with their spears, she stood up in her stirrups — with
drew the yashmak that veiled the terrors of her counten-
ance — waved her arm slowly and disdainfully - and cried
out with a loud voice, "Avauntl" The horsemen re-
coiled from her glance,but not in terror. The threatening
yells of the assailants were suddenly changed for loud
shouts of joy and admiration at the bravery of the stately
Englishwoman and festive gun-shots were fired on all
sides around her honoured head. The truth was that the
party belonged to the tribe with which she had allied her-
self, and that the threatened attack, as well as the pre-
tended apprehension of an engagement, had been contrived
for the mere purpose of testing her courage. The day
ended in a great feast prepared to do honour to the
heroine; and from that time her power over the minds of
the people grew rapidly. Lady Hester related this story
with great spirit; and I recollect that she put up her
yashmak for a moment, in order to give me a better idea
of the effect which she produced by suddenly revealing
the awfulness of her countenance. "

More here (it's an excellent book by the way, full of deadpan humour, an account of a trip by the author to the Middle East):
Eothen : Alexander William Kinglake : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
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Old November 15th, 2012, 06:12 AM   #20

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Originally Posted by Naomasa298 View Post
It did, and it also outlasted them by several decades, as I pointed out in the OP but I feel it was the Victorians who really brought that spirit to the fore - only my opinion, of course.
Fair point. I just feel Mungo Park deserves a mention as he was the living embodiment of the values of British exploration in the nineteenth century, but of course he was neither Victorian or English!
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