Bill Tilman

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Bill Tilman
HaroldWilliamTilman.jpg
Bill Tilman by Sandy Lee
Born14 February 1898
Died1977 (aged 79)
Occupation Mountaineer, Explorer
Website

Major Harold William "Bill" Tilman, CBE, DSO, MC and Bar, (14 February 1898 1977) was an English mountaineer and explorer, renowned for his Himalayan climbs and sailing voyages.

Major is a military rank of commissioned officer status, with corresponding ranks existing in many military forces throughout the world.

Distinguished Service Order UK military decoration

The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the Commonwealth, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat. Since 1993 all ranks have been eligible.

Military Cross third-level military decoration of the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth officers

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.

Contents

Early years and Africa

Tilman was born on 14 February 1898 in Wallasey in Cheshire, the son of a well-to-do sugar merchant John Hinkes Tilman and his wife Adeline Schwabe (née Rees). He was educated at Berkhamsted Boys school. At the age of 18, Tilman was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery and fought in the First World War, including the Battle of the Somme, and was twice awarded the Military Cross for bravery. His climbing career, however, began with his acquaintance with Eric Shipton in Kenya, East Africa, where they were both coffee growers. Beginning with their joint traverse of Mount Kenya in 1929 and their ascents of Kilimanjaro and the fabled "Mountains of the Moon" Ruwenzori, Shipton and Tilman formed one of the most famed partnerships in mountaineering history. When it came time to leave Africa, Tilman was not content with merely flying home but rode a bicycle across the continent to the West Coast where he embarked for England.

Wallasey Town in Merseyside, England

Wallasey is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in Merseyside, England, on the mouth of the River Mersey, at the northeastern corner of the Wirral Peninsula. At the 2011 Census, the population was 60,284.

Cheshire County of England

Cheshire is a county in North West England, bordering Merseyside and Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east, Staffordshire and Shropshire to the south and Flintshire, Wales and Wrexham county borough to the west. Cheshire's county town is the City of Chester (118,200); the largest town is Warrington (209,700). Other major towns include Crewe (71,722), Ellesmere Port (55,715), Macclesfield (52,044), Northwich (75,000), Runcorn (61,789), Widnes (61,464) and Winsford (32,610)

Sugar generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates

Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. The various types of sugar are derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose, fructose, and galactose. "Table sugar" or "granulated sugar" refers to sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. In the body, sucrose is hydrolysed into fructose and glucose.

World War II

He volunteered for service in the Second World War; he first saw action during the Battle of France helping to cover the retreat in Flanders before getting to the beaches at Dunkirk. Tilman then served in North Africa, Iraq and Iran before being called on for special duty in 1943. He then was dropped by parachute into Albania behind enemy lines to fight with Albanian and Italian partisans. For his actions there he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his efforts, and was given the keys to the city of Belluno which he helped save from occupation and destruction.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Battle of France Successful German invasion of France in 1940

The Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and invaded France over the Alps.

French Flanders

French Flanders is a part of the historical County of Flanders in present-day France where Flemings were traditionally the dominant ethnic group and where a dialect of Dutch was or still is traditionally spoken. The region lies in the modern-day region of Hauts-de-France and roughly corresponds to the arrondissements of Lille, Douai and Dunkirk on the southern border with Belgium. Together with French Hainaut and the Cambrésis, it makes up the French Department of Nord.

Mount Everest & Nanda Devi

Shipton-Tilman 1934 Nanda Devi Sanctuary expedition. "Hauling loads below 'Pisgah'" buttress in the Rishi Ganga gorge Rishi Ganga gorge - Shipton-Tilman team climbing buttress.jpg
Shipton-Tilman 1934 Nanda Devi Sanctuary expedition. "Hauling loads below ‘Pisgah’" buttress in the Rishi Ganga gorge

Tilman was involved in two of the 1930s Mount Everest expeditions - participating in the 1935 Reconnaissance Expedition, and reaching 27,200 feet without oxygen as the expedition leader in 1938. He penetrated the Nanda Devi sanctuary with Eric Shipton in 1934, and in 1936 he went on to lead an Anglo-American expedition to Nanda Devi. With the support of a team which included Peter Lloyd and H. Adams Carter, Tilman and Noel Odell succeeded in making the first ascent of the 7,816 metres (25,643 ft) mountain, which remained the highest summit climbed by man until 1950. Tilman later described their arrival on the summit:

Mount Everest Earths highest mountain, part of the Himalaya between Nepal and China

Mount Everest, known in Nepali as Sagarmatha (सगरमाथा) and in Tibetan as Chomolungma (ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ), is Earth's highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The international border between Nepal and China runs across its summit point.

Precipitated by unexpected permission from Tibet, the 1935 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition was planned at short notice as a preliminary to an attempt on the summit of Mount Everest in 1936. After exceptionally rancorous arguments involving the Mount Everest Committee in London, Eric Shipton was appointed leader following his successful trekking style of expedition to the Nanda Devi region in India in 1934.

Shipton–Tilman Nanda Devi expeditions Himalayan mountaineering expeditions in 1930s

The Shipton–Tilman Nanda Devi expeditions took place in the 1930s. Nanda Devi is a Himalayan mountain in what was then the Garhwal District in northern India, just west of Nepal, and at one time it was thought to be the highest mountain in the world.

Odell had brought a thermometer, and no doubt sighed for the hypsometer. From it we found that the air temperature was 20 °F (−7 °C) but in the absence of the wind we could bask gratefully in the friendly rays of our late enemy the sun. It was difficult to realise that we were actually standing on top of the same peak which we had viewed two months ago from Ranikhet, and which had then appeared incredibly remote and inaccessible, and it gave us a curious feeling of exaltation to know that we were above every peak within a hundred miles on either hand. Dhaulagiri, 1,000ft higher, and 200 miles away in Nepal, was our nearest rival. I believe we so far forgot ourselves as to shake hands on it. [1]

In 1939, Tilman was the first man to attempt climbing in the remote and unexplored Assam Himalaya, exploring the Southern approaches of Gori Chen, 6538 metres, before his team succumbed to malaria. In 1947 he attempted Rakaposhi, then made his way to Kashgar to join up with Eric Shipton in a lightweight attempt on Muztagh Ata, 7546 metres, which nearly succeeded. On his way back to India, he detoured through Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor to see the source of the river Oxus. During his extensive exploration of the areas of Langtang, Ganesh and Manang in Nepal in 1949, Tilman was the first to ascend Paldor, 5896 metres, and found the pass named after him beyond Gangchempo.

Assam Himalaya is a traditional designation for the portion of the Himalaya range between the eastern border of Bhutan, on the west, and the Great Bend of the Tsangpo River, on the east. The highest peak of this range is Namcha Barwa. Other high peaks include Gyala Peri, sister peak to Namcha Barwa; Kangto, and Nyegyi Kangsang. The area is still poorly surveyed in general, and little visited by outsiders. It is located in the eastern side. The name "Assam Himalaya" is misleading, as some parts of this range are in southeastern Tibet, while other parts are in Bhutan and the Indian regions and states of northern Assam, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

Rakaposhi mountain

Rakaposhi, is a mountain in the Karakoram mountain range in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan It is situated in the middle of the Nagar and Bagrote valleys, approximately 100 km (62 mi) north of the capital city Gilgit of the semi autonomous Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Rakaposhi means "Snow Covered" in the local language. Rakaposhi is also known as Dumani. It is ranked 27th highest in the world.

Eric Earle Shipton CBE was an English Himalayan mountaineer.

He was awarded in 1952 the Royal Geographical Society's Founder's Gold Medal for his achievements. [2]

Royal Geographical Society British learned society

The Royal Geographical Society is the UK's learned society and professional body for geography, founded in 1830 for the advancement of geographical sciences. Today, it is the leading centre for geographers and geographical learning. The Society has over 16,500 members and its work reaches millions of people each year through publications, research groups and lectures.

Gold Medal (RGS) Award presented by the Royal Geographical Society

The Royal Geographical Society's Gold Medal consists of two separate awards: the Founder's Medal 1830 and the Patron's Medal 1838. Together they form the most prestigious of the society's awards. They are given for "the encouragement and promotion of geographical science and discovery." Royal approval is required before an award can be made.

Sailing / Mountain Exploration

Following his military career behind enemy lines in the Second World War, Tilman took up deep sea sailing. Sailing in deep seas on the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Mischief, which he purchased in 1954, and subsequently on his other pilot cutters Sea Breeze and Baroque, Tilman voyaged to Arctic and Antarctic waters in search of new and uncharted mountains to climb. On his last voyage in 1977, in his eightieth year, Tilman was invited to ship as crew in En Avant with mountaineers sailing to the South Atlantic to climb Smith Island. The expedition was led, and the boat skippered, by the youthful Simon Richardson. He and his crew aboard the old, converted steel tug made it successfully and without incident to Rio de Janeiro. Thereafter, en route to the Falkland Islands, they disappeared without trace - it was presumed the ship had foundered with all hands. [3]

Chronological summary of expeditions

Sources:

H.W.Tilman, the seven Mountain Travel Books

H.W.Tilman, the eight Sailing / Mountain exploration Books

Resources

Books

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References

  1. H. W. Tilman, 'Gentleman's Relish', in Mirrors in the Cliffs, ed J. Perrin, (Diadem), pp. 220–1. ISBN   0-906371-95-3
  2. "List of Past Gold Medal Winners" (PDF). Royal Geographical Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  3. "The Life and Times of the Legendary Explorer Bill Tilman". Archived from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2009.

Further reading