Monday, 20 February 2012

Extreme Endeavours

Royal Mail of Great Britain commemorates six extraordinary achievements for the last century by issue the stamp set on April 29, 2003. The issue stamps feature six major team and individual accomplishments, tackled on diverse terrain - polar, mountain, water, air and desert - and often against the fiercest of elements. These stamps are designed by Howard Brown. The chosen extraordinary persons are Sir Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay, Amy Johnson,  Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, Sir Francis Charles Chichester,  and Robert Falcon Scott.
Sir Edmund Hillary (born 1919) & Tenzing Norgay (1914-1986)
Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed as having reached the summit of Mount Everest.They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt.

In return, the 37 members of the party received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal with MOUNT EVEREST EXPEDITION engraved on the rim. The group was surprised by the international acclaim. Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the young queen,while Tenzing received either the British Empire Medal, or the George Medal from the British Government for his efforts with the expedition.

Amy Johnson (1903-1941)
Amy Johnson achieved worldwide recognition when, in 1930, she became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia. Flying her "Jason" Gipsy Moth, she left Croydon, south of London, on 5 May of that year and landed in Darwin, Australia on 24 May after flying 11,000 miles (18,000 km).

Her aircraft for this flight can still be seen in the Science Museum in London. She received the Harmon Trophy as well as a CBE in recognition of this achievement, and was also honoured with the No. 1 civil pilot's licence under Australia's 1921 Air Navigation Regulations.

Dame Freya Stark (1893-1993)
Dame Freya Stark is a British resourceful and scholarly travel writer who was the first Westerner to journey through many regions of the Middle East.

Dame Freya  was born in Paris and grew up in several homes in England and Italy. She wrote 24 travel books and autobiographies and eight volumes of letters from the 1930's to the 1980's. Many of the books have been reprinted several times, recently by Transatlantic Arts and Overlook Press, among other houses, and were based on often hazardous journeys by vehicle, camel and donkey.

Dame Freya's books about the Middle East and nearby countries were called lucid, spontaneous and elegant and were lauded for imparting an inspired sense of both history and people. The consensus of reviewers was that she wrote with spirit, authority and humor and that she was a consummate traveler because of her fearlessness, candor, charm, idealism and streak of naiveté.

Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922)
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton was an Anglo-Irish polar explorer, one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. His first experience of the polar regions was as third officer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery Expedition.

In January 1909 he and three companions made a southern march which established a record Farthest South latitude at 88° 23′ S, 190 km from the South Pole, by far the closest convergence in exploration history up to that time. For this achievement, Shackleton was knighted by King Edward VII on his return home.

At the end of the 20th century Shackleton rapidly became a cult figure, a role model for leadership as one who, in extreme circumstances, kept his team together in a survival story described by polar historian Stephanie Barczewski as "incredible".

Sir Francis Chichester (1901-1972)
Sir Francis Charles Chichester is a aviator and sailor and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II  in July 1967 for individual achievement and sustained endeavour in the navigation and seamanship of small craft.
He was becoming the first person to sail single-handed around the world by the clipper route, and the fastest circumnavigator, in nine months and one day overall.

He  took delivery of a de Havilland Gipsy Moth aircraft, which he intended to fly to New Zealand, hoping to break Bert Hinkler’s record solo flight back to Australia en route.He was awarded the inaugural Amy Johnson Memorial Trophy for this trip. Chichester then decided to circumnavigate the world solo; he made it to Japan but, on take-off from Katsuura Harbour Wakayama, he collided with an overhead cable, sustaining serious injuries.

Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912)
Robert Falcon Scott was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, 1910–13.

During this second venture, Scott led a party of five which reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that they had been preceded by Roald Amundsen's Norwegian expedition. On their return journey, Scott and his four comrades all perished from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold.


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