From telegraph.co.uk

Sir Wilfred Thesiger, who died on Sunday aged 93, was the quintessential English explorer, and the last and greatest of that small band of travellers who sought out the secrets of the desert in the years before Arabia was transformed forever by the oil beneath her sands.

Thesiger’s reputation was established by two epic journeys he made in the 1940s across the Rub ‘al Khali, or Empty Quarter, the most forbidding, least known and least penetrated region of Arabia.

His motive for crossing it was not primarily to reap glory for himself, but to share the hardship of the life of the Bedu and to earn their comradeship. He was not in thrall to the desert itself but, like T E Lawrence, to his admiration of those who lived there: “The harder the life,” ran his credo, “the finer the person.” [The Story]