Frank Kingdon-Ward


Frank Kingdon-Ward

Francis Kingdon-Ward, born Francis Kingdon Ward (6 November, 1885 in Manchester - 8 April, 1958) was an English botanist, explorer, plant collector and author. He published most of his books as "Frank Kingdon-Ward" and this hyphenated form of his name stuck, becoming the surname of his wives and two daughters. It also became a nom-de-plume for his sister Winifred Mary Ward by default.

Biography

He went on around 25 expeditions over a period of nearly fifty years, exploring Tibet, North Western China, Burma (Myanmar) and Assam (now part of North Eastern India.) [Based on his 25 published books, some expeditions blurred into each other hence the ambiguity about the exact umber of expeditions.] Among his collections were, the first viable seed of "Meconopsis betonicifolia" the Himalayan blue poppy, (first discovered by Pére Delavay), [Land of the Blue Poppy] "Primula florindae" the giant cowslip (named after his first wife Florinda née Norman-Thompson) His published works] and "Rhododendron wardii" a yellow flowered species. He is also commemorated in Ward's Trogon "Harpactes wardi".

He was educated at Colet Court and St Paul's School, then Christ's College, Cambridge, where his father Harry Marshall Ward was professor of botany. "The Flower Chief" by Winifred Mary Ward, aka Winifred Kingdon-Ward, his sister. An unpublished biography, the manuscript is owned privately by myself, his grandson]

He served in the British army in both world wars although he saw almost no action, despite requesting postings to the front. He was discharged with the rank of Captain.

He survived many accidents on his expeditions including being impaled on a bamboo spike, falling off a cliff (stopped by a tree growing from the cliff), lost for two days with no food, tent crushed by a tree in a storm, and he was close to the epicentre of an earthquake (registering 9.6 on the Richter scale) on 15 August 1950 during an expedition in Assam.

He was married twice, firstly to Florinda Norman-Thompson on 11 April 1923 [Marriage certificate in my possession] (divorced 1936) [Divorce papers and various family letters in my possession] and secondly to Jean Macklin on 12 November 1947,Frank Kingdon-Ward, last of the great plant hunters. - Charles Lyte] to whom he remained married until his death.Death certificate in my possession.]

Even towards the end of his career he was still active, his greatest "swansong" plant was probably "Lilium mackliniae" found jointly with his second wife after whom it is named. At age 68 he climbed to over 11,000 feet in Burma and was still discovering new species of plants on his last expedition in 1956.

Frank Kingdon-Ward died on 8 April 1958 aged 72. He had suffered a stroke and went into a coma from which he never recovered. He is buried in Grantchester near Cambridge. [Visited grave]

Published works

He wrote 25 books mostly accounts of his expeditions, titles dates and publishers as follows.

On the road to Tibet. 1910 Shanghai Mercury Ltd. Shanghai.
Land of the Blue Poppy 1913 Cambridge University Press.
In farthest Burma 1921 Seely Service and Co.
Mystery Rivers of Tibet 1921 Seely Service and Co.
From China to Hkamti Long 1924 Edward Arnold and Co.
The romance of plant hunting. 1924 Edward Arnold and Co.
Riddle of the Tsangpo Gorges 1926 Edward Arnold and Co.
Rhododendrons for everyone. 1926 The Gardener's Chronicle Ltd.
Plant Hunting on the Edge of the World. 1930 Victor Gollancz, reprint 1974 Theophrastus
Plant hunting in the wilds. 1931 Figurehead (pioneer series)
The loom of the east. 1932 Martin Hopkinson Ltd.
A plant hunter in Tibet. 1934 Jonathan Cape.
The romance of gardening. 1935 Jonathan Cape.
Plant Hunter's Paradise 1937 Jonathan Cape.
Assam adventure. 1941 Jonathan Cape.
Modern exploration. 1945 Jonathan Cape.
About this earth. 1946 Jonathan Cape.
Commonsense rock gardening. 1948 Jonathan Cape.
Burma's icy mountains. 1949 Jonathan Cape.
Rhododendrons. 1949 Latimer House.
Footsteps in civilization 1950 Jonathan Cape.
Plant hunter in Manipur 1952 Jonathan Cape.
Berried treasure 1954 Ward Lock and Co. Ltd. London and Melbourne.
Return to the Irrawaddy 1956 Andrew Melrose.
Pilgrimage for plants 1960 George C. Harrap and Co. ltd.

Famous relatives

He was second cousin once removed to William Kingdon Clifford and first cousin to Stephen Ranulph Kingdon Glanville, Egyptologist. (The Kingdon Family by F.B. Kingdon, a privately published genealogy of the Kingdon surname and history of the family.) His sister, Winifred Ward, became the mother of "creative dramatics" the field of classroom teaching methods that place a heavy emphasis on self-expression, literature appreciation, and proficiency in spoken English for children.

ources

*Frank Kingdon-Ward's own works listed as above.
*"Frank Kingdon-Ward - Last of the great plant hunters". Charles Lyte.
*"The Flower Chief - A biography of Frank Kingdon-Ward". Winifred Kingdon-Ward. "unpublished"

References

External links

* [http://www.french4tots.co.uk/kingdon-ward/fkw-biog1.html Biography of Frank Kingdon-Ward (by the author of this wikipedia article)]
* [http://drjosephrock.blogspot.com/2008/03/in-footsteps-of-frank-kingdon-ward.html In the Footsteps of Kingdon Ward: photos of the Salween river, Tibet]


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