William Grant Stairs

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William Grant Stairs (July 1, 1863 – June 9, 1892) was a Canadian-British[1] explorer, soldier, and adventurer who had a leading role in two of the most controversial expeditions in the history of the colonisation of Africa



Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the sixth child and third son of John Stairs and Mary Morrow, he attended school at Fort Massey Academy in Halifax, Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, Student # 52


After graduating as a trained engineer, Stairs spent three years working for the New Zealand Trigonometrical Survey in northern New Zealand. In 1885, he accepted the offer of a commission in the British Royal Engineers and trained in Chatham, England. In 1891 he transferred to the Welsh Regiment.

Emin Pasha Relief Expedition

Captain Stairs was appointed to the privately-funded Emin Pasha Relief Expedition led by Henry Morton Stanley, at the time the most celebrated living explorer of Africa. Stairs sailed from London on January 20, 1887 and met Stanley in Suez on February 6. Their expedition started from Banana at the mouth of the Congo River on March 19 and ended in Bagamoyo, Tanzania on December 5, 1889. Stairs was appointed second-in-command after Captain Barttelot was shot on July 19, 1888.

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