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Supplement 4 – Douglas Carruthers, 
husband of Rosemary Clay

(Alexander) Douglas (Mitchell) Carruthers (1882–1962), explorer and naturalist.   He was the son of Rev William Mitchell Carruthers of Holbrook, and was an explorer in the Middle East in the 1890's.  was born in London on 4 October 1882; educated at Haileybury College and Trinity College, Cambridge; worked as secretary to a number of people active at the Royal Geographical Society, and underwent training in land survey work, also becoming an expert taxidermist. He took part in the British Museum expedition to Ruwenzori and the Congo, 1905-1906 and sent home specimens of birds and mammals. He later joined John H Miller and Morgan Philips Price in an expedition through the desert of Outer Mongolia, publishing two volumes on Unknown Mongolia in 1913.

During the First World War he was employed mainly at the War Office compiling maps of the Middle East; his later career consisted largely of map making and working with explorers and travellers. Carruthers was awarded the Gill memorial, 1910 and the patron's gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society, 1912, which he was to serve as honorary secretary in 1916-1921 and Fellow in 1909-1962 and was awarded the Sykes medal of the Royal Central Asian Society in 1956. Carruthers died in the Royal Free Hospital, Islington, on 23 May 1962.

Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. These classic works are being republishing in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork, from £19.78

 

Of "To the Great Nafud in Quest of the Oryx. " Czech writes " Carruthers traveled through the Arabian wastelands to prove the existance of and collect the virtually unknown Arabian oryx, His descriptions of nomadic tribesmen and the vast dune country are quite excellent. "

"Unknown Mongolia: A Record of Travel and Exploration in North-West Mongolia and Dzungaria Douglas Carruthers Hutchinson & Co., 1914." is an enormous two-volume tome based on British geographer Douglas Carruthers' 20-month journey and mapping expedition through what is now Tuva and Mongolia. The first volume is almost all about Tuva. Carruthers was literally charting uncharted territory. The stated intent of the journey was as a geographic expedition. Carruthers set out to map the territory and investigate its geology, flora and fauna. The result is a fascinating and highly informative account, written in the somewhat overblown, erudite manner typical of the aristocrats who were members of the Royal Geographic Society. Despite his understandably "Orientalist" approach, Carruthers for the most part manages to avoid the judgmental condescension of many other British explorers. His account of the indigenous people and their ways of life is sensitive and respectful, and his painstaking attention to detail is rendered more with refreshing candor and wide-eyed wonder than with the bored skepticism of some of the other British travel accounts of the period. It's informative, entertaining, readable, and full of vivid geographic and ethnographic detail. [Review by Brian Donahoe.] Booksellers list a 1994 edition of this book (ISBN 8120608577) with a price in the $40 (US) range - much better than the rare 1914 edition.

"Beyond The Caspian".  (from the front flap) "travels and experiences over several years in the great deserts and mountain ranges of Russian Central Asia, particularly of the animals and birds of which he was in search, many of which proved new to science. Although he was primarily interested in the natural history of the regions traversed, yet he conveys an intimate picture of those strange capitals at the back of the world, Bukhara and Samarkand, of the inhabitants of ancient Farghana, as fiery as the horses for which they are famous, of those who dwell by the mighty Oxus, of those who pasture over the high Pamirs. For large areas of these forbidden regions he is our only English witness".

Ibis Vol. XVI.—On some Birds collected by Mr. Douglas Carruthers in the Syrian Desert  by P. L. Sclater D.Sc., F.R.S., British Ornithologists Union, 1906

"Mr. Douglas Carruthers , having finished his engagement at the Syrian Protestant College at Beyrout (see 'Ibis', 1904, p.310, and 1903, p.296, arranged with a friend, Mr. J.H. Miller, to make an excursion into Syrian…."

 

According to his second wife ["She would say that, wouldn't she?" (c) Mandy Rice-Davies], his first wife was "Mrs. Hitler", who told him upon marriage that as he was now a married man, his place was in England at her side, thus his explorations effectively ceased.  They lived in Norfolk.  Some years later, he met Ro.  He left his wife and he and Ro lived together in the same village, until the first wife eventually died.  Douglas then married Ro, in London on 3rd September, 1948.  He died on 23 May 1962 in The Royal Free Hospital, Islington, London.  He had no children. 

 

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