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Frank Bickerton
Born 1889
Iffley, Oxfordshire, England
Died 1954 (aged 64–65)
Cardigan, Wales
Nationality United Kingdom
Other names Francis Howard Bickerton
Occupation Explorer and aviator

Frank Bickerton (1889–1954) was an Antarctic explorer, and engineer, and a pioneer in the usage of aircraft and telegraphy. He also led a three man sledging team which discovered the first meteorite to be found in the Antarctic.


Francis Howard Bickerton was born in the village of Iffley in Oxfordshire, the son of Joseph and Eliza Bickerton, his father was a Solicitor and Town Clerk.[1]

Bickerton moved to Plymouth, Devon, as a child in 1895 and lived in the city until 1920.

Bickerton was a friend of author Vita Sackville-West and was the model for the character of Leonard Anquetil in her 1930 novel, 'The Edwardians'.


Bickerton joined Sir Douglas Mawson's Australian Antarctic Expedition in 1911 as an engineer on the recommendation of the Royal Geographic Society and a member of an earlier expedition. Bickerton brought with him a Vickers REP monoplane, which he intended initially to use as a means to expedite surveying of the region. The plane was badly damaged in an early test flight, and Bickerton converted it into a tractor sledge.

On his return from the Antarctic, he was invited by Ernest Shackleton to join the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, however the onset of World War I led to Bickerton's withdrawal and his enlistment in the Royal Flying Corps. Bickerton served again during World War II in the Royal Air Force.



  1. 1891 Census of Headington District - RG12/1166 Folio 49 Page 9 (Charley Hall, The Parks, Oxford)


  • Born Adventurer: The Life of Frank Bickerton, Antarctic Pioneer Stephen Haddesley, London 2005

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