Reginald Koettlitz

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Reginald Koettlitz

Reginald Koettlitz (1860–1916) was a British physician and polar explorer. He participated in the Jackson–Harmsworth expedition to Franz Josef Land and in the Discovery Expedition to Antarctica.


Early life

Reginald Koettlitz was born on 23 December 1860 in Ostend to a Prussian father (a Lutheran minister, once enumerated on a census as occupation Spy) and his English born wife, a governess in Bonn. The family settled in Hougham, Kent and Dover, Kent soon thereafter. He attended Dover College and later Guy's Hospital in London, where he received training as a physician and took up a post as a country doctor in mining villages near Coxhoe, County Durham.

Polar exploration

In 1894, Koettlitz joined the Jackson–Harmsworth expedition to Franz Josef Land as physician and geologist. On returning to Dover, brought back a polar bear, which is still in the Dover Museum. Koettlitz Island (Ketlitsa Ostrova) – a low-lying island in the British Channel in the Franz Josef Land archipelago – is named after him.

In 1901, Koettlitz volunteered for Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery Expedition to Antarctica, as physician and biologist. Many of his samples are held in the archives of the Natural History Museum, London. His assistant on this trip was E.A. Wilson, later surgeon on Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition. On a trip he led across McMurdo Sound, Koettlitz discovered two glacial features later named after him: the Koettlitz Glacier and the Koettlitz Névé. For his role in the Discovery Expedition, Koettlitz was awarded a medal from the Royal Geographical Society. Later in life, he practised medicine in Craddock, South Africa. He died from dysentery in January 1916, as did his French born wife on the same day. [1] [2]

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  1. "Obituary: Dr. Reginald Koettlitz". The Geographical Journal. 47 (2): 150–151. 1916. JSTOR   1780029.
  2. "Karoo Graves: Here Lies Harry Potter".