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26th August 2003The Death of Sir Wilfred Thesiger
By John Young
Today has seen the passing of Sir Wilfred Thesiger, author & explorer. The Grandson of 2nd Baron Lord Chelmsford.

Wilfred was, beyond question, a unique man. He was, in my opinion, the one of last great explorers.

John Young
27th August 2003Peter Ewart
I, too, was sad to learn yesterday of this famous explorer's death, but must admit that I had assumed he'd died already at a great age & that I'd read an obit some time ago, but it must have been another biography.

I like to think I have a tiny little connectioin with the Chelmsfords, as my maternal grandfather's first cousin, Sid Rhodes, who served in the 15th Hussars in Edwardian times, was batman or servant to Sir Thomas Lees in S Africa and elsewhere. When Sir Thomas (family seat, Lytchett Minster, Dorset) was in 1911 made ADC to Lord Chelmsford, Governor-General of NSW, my kinsman, although having enlisted for "7 & 5", bought himself out for 25 (no doubt with the assistance of Lees) and accompanied Sir Thomas to Australia.

They must have parted company on the outbreak of the Great War as Sid remained in Aussie while Sir Thomas came back and, serving in the Dorset Yeomanry, became ADC to Lord Longford (of Lindley surrender infamy in 2ABW). Both of them were killed at Gallipoli in the late August attack across the Salt Lake & up Scimitar Hill by the 2nd South Midland Bde. When researching all this, I visited the late Lord Longford (son of the above & more familiar to most of us!)) who told me that his father had said to him as a child (pre-WW1): "I'd give ten years of my life to take part in a charge." He'd missed out on a charge in SA but had got it (up hill & dismounted!) in the Dardanelles but it cost him his life. Lees' widow re-married Sir Alan Brooke, later Lord Alanbrooke, who as CIGS was perhaps responsible, more than any single person, for winning WW2.

Sid became a magistrate in Canberra & NSW and stood for parliament in 1949 during the Evatt years. All getting a far cry from AZW relevance but if if the 3rd Baron hadn't got the Aussie job, none of this would have happened!


P.S. Just checking on the NSW posting, I see on a website Chelmsford is described as GovGen (of Australia) only from Dec 1909 to Jan 1910, which seems wrong to me. Any Aussie able to clarify? (Off forum, of course!)
30th August 2003Al Turner
Hello John:
The Washington Post had about a 1/2 page Obit on Wilfred...was quite a guy