Emma Taylor, an Old Africa reader, is looking for help from other Old Africa fans. Her friend is researching the life of Oriana Wilson, the widow of the Antarctic explorer, Dr Edward Wilson who died with Scott in 1912. The Antarctic may seem rather a long way from Africa, but Oriana was a great traveller herself and letters show that she visited East Africa in 1934, and specifically Kenya in March of that year. Emma was wondering if anyone has any information about Oriana Wilson’s African travels. A letter of March 7th 1934 proclaims she is ‘In Kenya’ and one from Apsley Cherry-Garrard to a mutual friend in New Zealand postmarked May 1934 states: “Mrs Wilson seems to be getting on better in Africa where she wrote just before going northwards to Beira and I think Rhodesia…” This suggests she was travelling quite extensively in the continent. However, as she destroyed much of her own correspondence, it is difficult to flesh out the details of her travels and the people she met. Much depends on the recollections and letters of others.

Oriana Wilson created many close links and friendships in New Zealand from 1901 onwards, and was much respected in the Commonwealth, especially for her war work during the First World War. Possibly she had introductions to similar settler and pioneering families in East Africa, too, in her search for fulfilment and adventure in the years following her husband’s death until her own in 1945.

If anyone has any information on the ‘Oriana trail’ through East Africa, contact us at editorial@oldafricamagazine.com