Soldiers and sailors, geographers and geologists, submariners and balloonists all flocked to Antarctica during the 'Heroic Age' of Polar exploration. No one better represented this eclectic band than Frank Bickerton, engineer on Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) of 1911–14. A true pioneer of Antarctic exploration, he piloted the expedition's 'air-tractor', established the first crucial wireless link between Antarctica and the rest of the world, and discovered one of the first meteorites ever to be found on the continent.
Treasure-hunter, explorer, fighter pilot, entrepreneur, big-game hunter and movie-maker, Bickerton not only made a major contribution to the success of the AAE, but was also recruited by Ernest Shackleton for his ill-fated Endurance Expedition, dug for pirate gold on Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, survived bloody dogfights over the Western Front during the First World War, and flirted with the glittering world of 1920s Hollywood.
In Born Adventurer, historian Stephen Haddelsey draws on unique access to family papers, journals and letters to provide a thrilling account of Bickerton's rich and colourful life.
Stephen Haddesley, a distant cousin of Bickerton's is a writer and freelance editor. His books include the acclaimed Charles Lever, The Last Victorian. He lives in Southwell, Nottinghamshire.