Charles R. Burton

Charles Robert Burton (13 December 1942 – 15 July 2002) known as Charlie Burton was an English explorer, best known for his part in the Transglobe Expedition, the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe from pole to pole.[1] Serving as cook, radio operator, and mechanic, he was the only member of the team to accompany the expedition's leader, Ranulph Fiennes, on the entire route.[2][3]

Burton was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He attended Millfield school in Somerset, where he excelled more in sports than academics.[4] From 1961 to 1967, he was a soldier in the British Army, serving with the elite Special Air Service and traveling to the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Malta, and Germany. After his military career, Burton held odd jobs, mainly with various private security firms.[5]

While bartending at The Admiral Codrington pub in Chelsea in 1975, he met Fiennes, with whom he spent some four years organizing and raising money for the Transglobe Expedition. After the expedition, which lasted from 1979 to 1982, Burton returned to the security business. Ten years later, he helped Fiennes organize another expedition, but declined to participate.[6][7]

Burton married Thelma "Twink" Petts in April 1981 in Sydney, Australia, while on the Transglobe Expedition.[8] He died of a heart attack on 15 July 2002 at his family home in the village of Framfield in Sussex.[5]


  1. ^ "Charles Burton, 59; Circumnavigated Globe". Los Angeles Times. 18 July 2002. Retrieved 18 February 2014. Charles Burton, a British explorer who took part in the first expedition to circumnavigate the world from pole to pole, has died.
  2. ^ Shephard, Oliver (20 July 2002). "Charles Burton: Explorer who fuelled the world's first transglobe expedition with laughter". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Charles Burton, 59, British Explorer". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 17 July 2002. Archived from the original on 6 May 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  4. ^ Biographies: "Charlie Burton - Ice Team / Mechanic / Cook." Transglobe Expedition official site. Accessed 19 Feb. 2014.
  5. ^ a b Lewis, Paul (17 July 2002). "Charles Burton, 59, a Pole-to-Pole Explorer". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  6. ^ Biographies: "Charlie Burton - Ice Team/Mechanic/Cook." Transglobe Expedition official site. Accessed 19 Feb. 2014.
  7. ^ Obituaries. "Charlie Burton (1943 - 2002)." Transglobe Expedition official site. Accessed 19 Feb. 2014.
  8. ^ "She's gone for a Burton." The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 April 1981. Accessed 19 Feb. 2014.

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