Sir Charles Seymour Wright
Sir Charles Seymour (Silas) Wright
Charles Seymour Wright, or Silas, as he was called, spent his youth prospecting in Canada’s Far North. While in Cambridge, England, on a physics scholarship, he heard of an expedition being put together by Robert Falcon Scott, to reach the geographic South Pole. Silas and fellow student, Australian geologist, Griffith Taylor walked from Cambridge to London to apply for positions on the expedition and were soon on board the Terra Nova, heading for Antarctica.
During his time in Antarctica, Silas carried out numerous experiments on ice formations and ground radiation and had hoped to be included in the final party selected to accompany Scott on the final dash to the South Pole. Silas was turned back by Scott a few hundred miles from the pole and navigated his depot-laying party back to Cape Evans, where they awaited Scott and his party’s return from the pole. By the next spring it was obvious Scott had met with disaster and Silas navigated for the main search party retracing Scott’s steps and was the one who discovered the tent containing the frozen bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers.
Silas returned to England, where he and Taylor each married a sister of fellow expedition member, Raymond Priestley. Silas went on to a prestigious and varied career: developing trench wireless in WWI and was active in the British Admiralty during WWII, including developing devices to counter magnetic mines and radar.
After the war, Silas moved to the United States, becoming director of the Marine Research Laboratory at Scripps Institute of Oceanography and various assignments for the US and Canadian navy. Silas retired to Saltspring Island, BC, where he passed away in 1975.