Frank 'Dudley' Docker (1862-1944)
Frank 'Dudley' Docker was a British industrialist and major benefactor to the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917).
Born in Smethwick, Birmingham, Docker was one of England’s foremost industrialists. In the planning for the expedition, local Birmingham businessman Frank 'Dudley' Docker donated £10,000 (c. £430,000 in today’s money) to Shackleton towards the purchase and refit of the Endurance. Shackleton named the Endurance's three boats after the three principal donors - the James Caird, the Stancomb Wills and the Dudley Docker.
Above: Lantern slide, "The Dudley Docker arriving at Elephant Island, 15 April 1915". Photograph by Frank Hurley (S0026395)
The passage below is taken from the industrialist's obituary from the Birmingham Mail, Monday 10th July 1944:
Mr F. Dudley Docker – Death of Noted Industrialist
“The career of Mr Frank Dudley Docker whose death took place at Amersham, Bucks, on Saturday, was one of the romances of the commercial and financial world … his first venture was the foundation in conjunction with his brothers, William and Ludford, of the firm Docker Brothers, paint and varnish manufacturers, in Alcock Street, Birmingham. It was in connection with railway carriage and wagon building, however, that he achieved his greatest success … The Federation of British Industry also owed its foundation to him … Mr Dudley Docker was a great lover of sport. He played for Warwickshire County Cricket Club, of which he was a life-long supporter and patron.”
The Docker family pursued their interest in the pursuit of geographical knowledge following his involvement with the expedition, Docker’s son Bernard became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in November 1921 and regularly attended meetings of the Society when he was in London. A copy of his Fellowship Certificate is shown below.