Thesiger, Wilfred (1910-2003)

Wilfred Patrick Thesiger was born June 3, 1910, at the British Legation in Addis Ababa, where his father was the British minister at the court of the Emperor of Abyssinia, as Ethiopia was then called. Sir Wilfred was an insatiable traveller throughout his long life. He was also a man of private wealth and a romantic who seemed to hate the modern world and found nobility in privation. He was the first foreigner to cross the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia twice, once in 1946 and again in 1948, when that vast desert was one of the last unmapped regions of the earth. He became the first outsider to see the quicksands at Umm as-Samim. Sir Wilfred's books, often illustrated with his own photographs, were poetic and autobiographical in their approach, describing journeys as much into himself as into the world. Sir Wilfred never married and left no immediate survivors. He died in Surrey in 2003 at the age of 93.

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