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Born on this day
Vivian Ernest Fuchs
7th week in year
11 February 2019

Important personalitiesBack

Vivian Ernest Fuchs11.2.1908

Wikipedia (22 Feb 2013)
Sir Vivian Ernest Fuchs FRS (11 February 1908 – 11 November 1999) was an English explorer whose expeditionary team completed the first overland crossing of Antarctica in 1958.

Fuchs was the son of the German immigrant Ernst Fuchs from Jena and of his British wife Violet Watson. He was born in 1908 in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, and attended Brighton College and St John's College, Cambridge.rn He was educated as a geologist, and considered the profession a means rnof pursuing his interest in the outdoors. His first expedition was to Greenland in 1929 with his tutor James Wordie.rn After graduation in 1930, he travelled with a Cambridge University rnexpedition to study the geology of East African lakes with respect to climate fluctuation. Next, he joined anthropologist Louis Leakey on an expedition to Olduvai Gorge. In 1933, Fuchs married his cousin, Joyce Connell. A world traveller in her own right, Joyce accompanied Vivian on his expedition to Lake Rudolf (now Lake Turkana)rn in 1934. The findings from this expedition, in which two of their rncompanions were lost, brought Fuchs his PhD from Cambridge in 1937.

In February 1936, his daughter Hilary was born. Fuchs organised an expedition to investigate the Lake Rukwa basin in southern Tanzaniarn in 1937. He returned in 1938 to find that his second daughter, rnRosalind, had severe cerebral palsy. Rosalind died in 1945. His son, rnPeter, was born in 1940.

At the age of thirty, he enrolled in the Territorial Army, and was dispatched to the Gold Coastrn from 1942 to July 1943. He returned home and was posted to London at rnSecond Army headquarters in a civil affairs position. The Second Army rnwas transferred to Portsmouth for the D-Day landings, and Fuchs eventually reached Germany in time to see the release of prisoners from the Belsen concentration camp. He governed the Plön district in Schleswig-Holstein until October 1946, when he was discharged from military service with the rank of Major.

Fuchs was involved with the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (now the British Antarctic Survey)rn beginning in 1947, when he applied for a geologist position. The rnorganisation's goal was to promote Britain's claims to Antarctica, and rnsecondarily to support scientific research. In 1950 Fuchs was asked to rndevelop the new London scientific bureau of the Survey, to plan researchrn in the Antarctic and support research publication. He would eventually rnbecome director of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey, from 1958 rn(after his return from the successful Antarctic expedition) until 1973. rnHis wife died in Oxfordrn in 1990 of a heart attack, aged 83. The next year, he married Eleanor rnHonnywill, his former personal assistant at the British Antarctic rnSurvey, in Kensington and Chelsea, London. Sir Vivian Fuchs died in Cambridge on 11 November 1999, aged 91.

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