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A great explorer - Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger, CBE, DSO, FRAS, FRGS

As a small boy, he was "bowled over" by the images of people in The Geographical Society magazine. Just before the modern world changed their lives forever, Wilfred Thesiger went into the sands to meet them.

"His adventures as an explorer and soldier in the legendary tradition of Sir Richard Burton and TE Lawrence are recorded in his books Arabian Sands (1959), The Marsh Arabs (1964) and The Last Nomad (1980)." (RZ Shephard, Time Magazine) His "bone-dry" words and stunning photographs make a lasting impression.

Thesiger fought in Africa with the SAS during the Second World War. After the war, he spent five years with the Bedouin. His books describe the savagery, hospitality and nobility which marked his encounters in the desert.

On the staff of the British district commission in the Sudan, he was regularly called on to protect villagers from cattle-killing lions, and shot more than 70, an achievement he came to deplore in the changed world of his nineties.

"He settled finally among the Samburu, whose graceful build and movement he admired and photographed. He built a wooden house with the help of young men whom he adopted as sons and hoped to end his days among them as his family. They all died before him and he came reluctantly back to England."

He was welcomed back to the Travellers, his club in London.

Before he died in 2003, he published his last book, A Vanished World.

Brits reached many ancient worlds before they vanished, and documented them.


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