Prof Sir Graeme Irwin Rendle
Member; Société Française de Cartographie, Rhodes Scholar,
and soldier. After a brief childhood travelling the world and becoming fluent
in five languages and familiar with another 16, Graeme de la Rendl gained entry
to Oxford University at the age of 12 years as a Rhodes Scholar and Child Prodigy
reading mathematics, economics and ancient Persian history.
outbreak of the World War II, saw him lie about his age to join the British Army
and fight in France. Evacuated wounded from Dunkirk, he came to the attention
of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during a presentation of bravery awards.
This meeting, and with Rendl's flawless mastery of the German language and pre-war
travels in Europe with his diplomat parents, secured him a job with an ultra-deep
British intelligence unit. The details of his double life and exploits during
this time are still classified -but known facts include the awarding of an Iron
Cross by the German Führer at Nuremberg in 1942, -apparently this was always
a great story for Churchill to relate at his postwar dinner parties.
a busy WW2, Major de la Rendl, as he was known then, moved back to Oxford to complete
post-graduate work in the esoteric field of existential cartography and apart
from a stint as second tillerman and head waxster on Thor Heyerdahl's successful
1947 'Kon Tiki Expedition', lived quietly deep in the Cotswolds (UK).
He was called back to military service in the Korean War, attached to General
MacArthur's Staff, distinguished himself by setting up a Masonic Lodge at Inchon,
the site of the UN landing. After taking a number of significant wagers, he strenuously
but unsuccessfully argued for the use of the 39th parallel as the line of armistice,
narrowly losing out (and a fortune) to proponents of the 38th parallel.
During a break in heavy fighting, MacArthur, who later confessed in his memoirs
to 'cleaning up' by insider betting on the adoption of the 38th parallel, personally
congratulated Capt de la Rendl with the news that he had received the 1952 Nobel
Prize for his groundbreaking discoveries in Polynominal-Dynamic cartography.
Leaving Korea, the newly promoted and impoverished Colonel de la Rendl returned
to New Zealand to oversee his family's sheep station and to import possums from
Australia in an ambitious scheme to farm them for their meat and fur, using methods
of his own design to improve their fertility.
An unfortunate local misunderstanding
of these unorthodox methods when applied to sheep, led to a famous court case
during which Rendl, while not actually cleared of wrongdoing, was legally given
the benefit of the doubt. Dropping the 'de la' in mid-trial (he always considered
it to be fatuous and "never liked it anyway"), and adding the 'e', caused
a significant amount of confusion and was felt to have influenced the jury in
was during this difficult period that he developed the revolutionary "Rendle
Cartographic Technique". This breakthrough in mapmaking -to this very day
still proscribed under the Official Secrets Act, immediately attracted unwelcome
attention from agents of France, Israel, Poland and the then Soviet Union.
a botched kidnap attempt by unnamed foreign nationals, -although many beleive
it was the Polish 'SB-Section 27', Rendle was forced to go into hiding in Australia
where he soon confirmed the exact location of the Tropic of Capricorn to within
1.7mm, and also determined the precise geographical centre of Tasmania.
In 1959, Rendle's work was again nominated for a Nobel prize but he selflessly
refused the honour, saying that he already had one and it must be someone else's
1967 saw Rendle as the inspiration behind the first "Ra Expedition"
-an Egyptian papyrus vessel leaving from Safi in Morocco. This boat went on to
complete a successful transatlantic crossing, covering the 6500 km (4000 miles)
to Barbados in just 57 days. The voyages of Ra I and II proved that it had been
possible for transatlantic contact between the old civilisations and the Americas.
During the latter half of the same year, Rendle was the sole survivor of the ill-fated
transatlantic "Reverse Ra" expedition to prove that the Irish originally
arrived from South America.
approach from the American Space agency NASA saw him pack his bags and head for
Houston and Cape Canaveral to contribute to the US manned spacecraft program.
His cartographic expertise layed the groundwork for the selection of the first
lunar landing site for the Apollo 11 touch down.
Dr Werner von Braun,
an acquaintance from the old German days, later described his work for NASA as
from "Woosie in Wonderland" by Beauregarde Cavendish,
ISBN 0-864-81678-4 . More
"Mapmaking for Fun & Profit". Warner Books. ISBN
"Highs and Lows of Cartography". Warner Books. ISBN