British Exploring Society Obituaries

Dec 4

Written by:
04 December 2018 15:07  RssIcon

The Obituaries page has recently been created to acknowledge the contribution and give our condolences to the families of the remarkable Leaders and Members of British Exploring Society who have sadly passed away.
If you are aware of a British Exploring Society Member or Leader who has passed away, or you would like to write an obituary for this page, please get in touch with

Chris Furse on Brabant Island, 1984 © Telegraph 

Commander Chris Furse, RN
By Soo Redshaw, British Exploring Society Trustee and Chief Leader
My abiding memory of Chris Furse is unzipping the tent door one morning to discover a large green bivvi bag nearby, which hadn't been there when I had gone to sleep. It was Chris. As Chief Leader of Svalbard 1987 he relished paying impromptu visits to each Fire to see all was well.

Chris had an enviable track record of expeditioning to his name, not least leading the Joint Services Expedition to Brabant Island, Antarctica 1984/5. I wasn't sure what to expect from a serving Royal Naval officer and he certainly didn't conform to my stereotypical view of one. He was clearly so at home in a polar environment, relishing the freedom to roam and being able to let his hair and beard grow long. His leadership style appeared to be relaxed, almost casual, but it was only because he had put the background work in that he was able to do that. He trusted his Leader team to get on with their responsibilities and acknowledged their work. I recall a particularly bad spell of weather and during the evening radio comms Chris complimenting the Mountain Training team for still being able to keep to the training schedule.

He made sure he knew everyone on the expedition and encouraged all of us to make the most of the opportunity and privilege of being in the Arctic.

He continued to be a staunch advocate for British Exploring Society, believing in the power of the experience to enable young people to develop through challenge. He was a character who with his energy, enthusiasm and humour will be remembered by all those that had the good fortune to meet him.

You can read a little more about Chris in his obituary from the Telegraph

Tom Shipp DCL Svalbard 1987
By Soo Redshaw, British Exploring Society Trustee and Chief Leader
Geologist, teacher, expeditioner, mountain rescue team member and open university tutor, just some of the roles Tom Shipp fulfilled throughout his life of contribution to the various communities he was involved in.

I first met Tom when he interviewed me as a potential leader to Svalbard 1987. He had a quiet, gentle manner with an equally quiet but sharp and often self-effacing sense of humour. He was generous with his time, knowledge and experience. An efficient man and good organiser, he diligently applied himself to tasks in hand and recorded his expeditions with characteristic thoroughness. (Though he hadn't quite mastered being able to keep his pipe lit in all weathers!)

He ended the Svalbard expedition with great sadness and nostalgia as he watched his old mountaineering boots burn on the camp fire. These boots had seen him through some great mountaineering days in different parts of the world, but even Tom couldn’t justify trying to get another step out of them as the soles were finally falling off. He obviously bought another pair as this was not to be his last British Exploring Society expedition.

His quiet encouragement, interest in a wide range of subjects and his belief in the power of the outdoors for young people are testament to a live well lived.

<August 2019>