v 5.10.00
6 Oct 2018
updated 7 Nov 2018

Ninian John Frederick Hanbury-TracyA
(7 Dec 1910 – 25 Jun 1971)


July 1935, Sangachö Dzong, Zayul, Tibet

The High Himalayas

To quote verbatim from Admiral Sir William Goodenough's introduction to Black River of Tibet cited below, "Hanbury-Tracy was no newcomer to travel when he set out with Kaulback ... [He] knew his surveying work well, and that part of the work, especially when for some weeks he was separated from Kaulback and working on his own, is of great value to the geographer. The Sudan had seen him as a junior offiicial, he had climbed in the Alps, navigated the Danube by canoeB to the Black Sea, worked his [sea] passage from Constanza to Liverpool, and walked across part of Lappland."

And of course Hanbury-Tracy was more of an age with Kaulback than Kingdon-Ward had been, and one might well expect that it was a more comfortable relationship. JHT and his second wife Daphne were always most welcome visitors to Ardnagashel, the hotel established on the shores of Bantry Bay by Kaulback after WWII, and he was very popular with the young Kaulback daughters, whom he christened The Nugglies.


"Riding in Tibet is a doubtful pleasure" (JHT)


"My bath in a Monastery tea-kettle" (JHT)

JHT's own fascinating narrative of the expedition was published as

Black River of Tibet, John Hanbury-Tracy, Foreword by Admiral Sir William Goodenough GCB, Fredk Muller & Co, London, 1938

and a full scientific account of the entomological aspects appeared (very much later) as

Some Tipulidae from Tibet and Upper Burma in The British Museum (Natural History) (Diptera), Charles P Alexander, Bulletin of The British Museum (Natural History) Entomology, Vol 14, No 7, London 1963

devoted to the expeditions of Kingdon-Ward, Kaulback and Hanbury-Tracy, as outlined in its Introduction

Tipulidae snippet

Those who would like to know their Tipulidae from their Tipulinae should click here for the complete account.

The Almost-as-high Andes

But this was by no means the end of JHT's explorations ... as recounted in the following botanical bulletin:

He and his (first) wife Blanche camped out in the Venezuelan and Colombian Andes for four months and very successfully collected a large number of outstanding botanical specimens for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, as recounted in the following botanical bulletin:

Contributions to the Flora of Tropical America: XLV. New Plants from the Andes of Venezuela and Colombia, N Y Sandwith, Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information (Royal Gardens, Kew), Vol 1941, No 3 (1941), pp 218-228. Published by: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

the first page of which is reproduced below ....

First page

But then came WWII. However, his detailed and profusely-illustrated account of the expedition was published just a few years later.

Journeys in the Northern Andes
1944, the Geographical Journal, Royal Geographical Society, London,
Vol CIV, Nos 5-6, pp 145-165 (read to the Society by his wife Blanche)

Click here for a more complete list of publications by Hanbury-Tracy and Kaulback at this time.


A Grandson of Charles Hanbury-Tracy, John Hanbury-Tracy was twice-married, firstly (11 Jan 1935) to the Hon. Blanche Mary Arundell and secondly (10 Aug 1954) to Daphne Farquhar née Henry
B As also did Kaulback, so they may well have been on the same trip. And perhaps they both got thrown into gaol, as Kaulback certainly did at one point, for entering Hungary illegally! Money had to be telegraphed from England to pay the substantial fine imposed by the authorities (the regime of Admiral Horthy at that time would have been particularly paranoid about possible British espionage).