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Meet the Team
 
"MEN WANTED: FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS. SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON"

Who would answer such an ad, which Shackleton placed in a London newspaper seeking recruits for his 1914 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition? The 28 men above, that's who. Here, meet each member of the team by clicking on his name, and find out what credentials you would have had to bring to the table to gain the respect of Sir Ernest Shackleton—and a berth on the Endurance.

Missing from the photo: Thomas Orde-Lees, Ski Expert and Storekeeper | Perce Blackborow, Steward | John Vincent, Boatswain | Alfred Kerr, Engineer | Timothy McCarthy, Seaman | Thomas McLeod, Seaman

Pictured in the photo: Sir Ernest Shackleton, Expedition Leader | Frank Worsley, Captain | Frank Wild, Second-in-Command | Lionel Greenstreet, First Officer | Tom Crean, Second Officer | Alfred Cheetham, Third Officer | Frank Hurley, Photographer | George Marston, Artist | Robert Clark, Biologist | Leonard Hussey, Meteorologist | Reginald James, Physicist | James Wordie, Geologist | Alexander Macklin, Surgeon | James McIlroy, Surgeon | Huberht Hudson, Navigator | Charles Green, Cook | Henry McNeish, Carpenter | Louis Rickinson, Engineer | Ernest Holness, Stoker | William Stephenson, Stoker | William Bakewell, Seaman | Walter How, Seaman | Sir Daniel Gooch




Shackleton   Sir Ernest Shackleton
Expedition Leader

An Irish-born polar expedition veteran, Shackleton approached to within 745 miles of the South Pole with Robert Scott on the 1901 Discovery expedition, then pressed to within 97 miles on his own Nimrod expedition of 1908. Imperious, single-minded, ferociously loyal to his men, he once said "Optimism is true moral courage," a tenet he lived by until his death on South Georgia Island in 1922.
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Worsley


  Frank Worsley
Captain

A New Zealander, Worsley ran away to sea at 16, apprenticing on a wool clipper, and went on to become an expert sailor with the Royal Naval Reserve in England. Despite some eccentricities - claiming that his cabin was too stuffy, for instance, he slept every night on the passageway floor - he was respected and would truly earn his salt when he navigated Shackleton's lifeboat the James Caird across 800 miles of dangerous seas to South Georgia Island.
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Wild


  Frank Wild
Second-in-Command

A veteran of Scott's Discovery, Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic, and Shackleton's Nimrod expeditions and utterly loyal to Shackleton, Wild had "a rare tact," wrote Orde-Lees, "and the happy knack of saying nothing and yet getting people to do things just as he requires them..."
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Greenstreet


  Lionel Greenstreet
First Officer

Drawn from the merchant service, Greenstreet had joined Shackleton's expedition just 24 hours before it left Plymouth, England, when the original first officer quit to lend his services to the war effort. On the expedition, he ended up befriending two quite different fish: the proud Hurley and the reserved Clark.
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Crean


  Tom Crean
Second Officer

Born one of ten children in County Kerry, Ireland, Crean was tall and tough as an oak. At 16, he joined the Royal Navy and eventually joined Robert Scott on both the Discovery and Terra Nova expeditions, receiving the Albert Medal for saving two companions during the latter journey.
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Cheetham


  Alfred Cheetham
Third Officer

An old Antarctic hand with three trips into the Deep South under his belt, including a stint as third officer on Shackleton's Nimrod expedition, Cheetham was a small man with a gung-ho attitude.
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Hurley


  Frank Hurley
Photographer

An independent-minded Australian, Hurley ran away from home at age 13, working in an ironworks and the Sydney dockyards before becoming a photographer. Nicknamed "the Prince" on the expedition for his susceptibility to flattery, he quickly gained a reputation for stopping at nothing to secure a memorable photograph.
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Marston


  George Marston
Artist

Physically robust, Marston joined three sledging journeys while accompanying Shackleton on the Nimrod. Graduate of a London art school, he was friends with Shackleton's two sisters, who prodded him to put his name in for expedition artist. He was said to have the best voice in the ship's company.
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Clark


  Robert Clark
Biologist

A taciturn man, Clark engendered respect from the crew. He could usually be found out for a bit of exercise on his skis, skinning penguins for scientific study, or using his dredging nets to bring up biological specimens from the deep Antarctic seas.
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Hussey


  Leonard Hussey
Meteorologist

Odd as it may seem, Hussey worked as an archeologist in the Sudan before joining the Endurance. Perhaps that's one reason why his meteorological skills came up a tad short in the Antarctic. As Orde-Lees observed, "The vagaries of the climate quite bewilder Hussey. For just when he thinks it is going to do one thing the precise opposite happens."
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James


  Reginald James
Physicist

The expedition's magnetician and physicist, the studious academic "Gentle Jimmy" owned "some wonderful electrical machines which none of us understood," wrote Macklin, "and a joke of ours that annoyed him very much was that he did not either."
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Wordie


  James Wordie
Geologist

A bearded, bespectacled Scot from Glasgow, jocular "Jock" Wordie was one of the most popular members of the expedition. Before the journey, he advanced Shackleton some of his own funds to help buy fuel for the ship.
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Macklin


  Alexander Macklin
Surgeon

As with McIlroy, Shackleton assigned Macklin a team of sledge dogs to drive, and also the duty of caring for the ship's canines. Son of a doctor from Scotland's Scilly Isles, Macklin, according to his son Sandy Macklin, had intended to remove his glasses for his initial interview with Shackleton, for fear the great man would not hire him as surgeon, but he forgot. When Shackleton asked him if he required glasses, Macklin replied with the first thought that came to his mind: "Many a wise face would look foolish without glasses." Shackleton hired him on the spot.
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McIlroy


  James McIlroy
Surgeon

Before joining Shackleton, McIlroy had been both a practicing surgeon in Japan, Malaysia, and Egypt, and a ship's doctor aboard passenger ships in the East Indies. Like Macklin, he was appointed kennel commander and sledge-team driver.
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Hudson


  Huberht Hudson
Navigator

"One never quite knows whether he is on the brink of a mental breakdown or bubbling over with suppressed intellectuality," wrote Orde-Lees of this son of a London minister, who was a mate in the merchant service when he signed on. He turned out to be the expedition's most accomplished penguin-catcher.
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Orde-lees


  Thomas Orde-Lees
Ski Expert and Storekeeper

A captain in the Royal Marines, Orde-Lees was in charge of the motor-sledges that would have helped carry Shackleton's team across the continent. A graduate of the English public-school system, he was a bit of a prima donna and generally disliked, though his diary is one of the more perceptive kept by Shackleton's crew.
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Green


  Charles Green
Cook

The son of a master baker, Green went to sea at the age of 21, becoming a cook in the Merchant Navy. With Blackborow's help, he worked in the galley - both aboard ship and on the ice—from early morning till evening, preparing meals for 28 mouths.
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Blackborow


  Perce Blackborow
Steward

When Shackleton refused him a job, Blackborow, with the help of Bakewell and How, slipped aboard the Endurance and hid in a locker until the ship was at sea. Stuck with him, Shackleton made Blackborow steward and eventually came to appreciate the conscientiousness of this 20-year-old Welshman. In an operation on Elephant Island, Blackborow had all the toes on his left foot removed due to severe frostbite.
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McNeish


  Henry McNeish
Carpenter

One of the oldest members of the expedition, McNeish was a rugged Scot whom Shackleton claimed was "the only man I'm not dead certain of." Known as "Chippy," he was a slightly odd, but much-respected shipwright and old-time sailor with the Royal Naval Reserve. He reportedly never forgave Shackleton for having his cat, "Mrs. Chippy," shot when many of the dogs were also put down.
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  John Vincent
Boatswain

A former navy sailor and trawlerhand, Vincent was the strongest man aboard, and he used his brawniness at times in a bullying way—until Shackleton put him in his place. Shackleton chose him for the journey to South Georgia, very likely both for his strength and to keep an eye on him. Note: No photo is available of Vincent.
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Kerr


  Alfred Kerr
Engineer

A reticent man in his early 20s, Kerr had some experience working on oil tank steamers before joining the Endurance. Like his mate Rickinson, he kept largely to himself and did his job well.
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Rickinson


  Louis Rickinson
Engineer

Why someone with a particular aversion to cold would join an expedition to the Antarctic is a mystery, but Louis Rickinson did. His condition might have had a medical basis, for it is believed he suffered a heart attack while on Elephant Island. Rickinson was deemed a solid engineer who had a knack with internal combustion engines.
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Holness


  Ernest Holness
Stoker

Orde-Lees considered Holness, who hailed from Yorkshire, "the most loyal to the expedition." Holness was so desperate to smoke during the long wait on Elephant Island that, according to Orde-Lees, he "sits up in the cold every night after everyone else has turned in, gazing intently at Wild & McIlroy in the hopes that one of them will give him the unsmokeable part of a toilet-paper cigarette."
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Stephenson


  William Stephenson
Stoker

The senior stoker, Stephenson was a former officer's servant and Royal Marine. When the ice crushed the Endurance, his job as tender of the marine steam boiler came to an abrupt end, as did that of his mate Holness. For some reason, he and Holness were two of only four people (the other two were Vincent and McNeish), whom Shackleton did not recommend for Polar Medal after the crew's return to England.
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Bakewell


  William Bakewell
Seaman

The only American on the expedition, Bakewell posed as a Canadian when applying for a position aboard the Endurance. He had quite the roamer's resume, having been a farm worker, logger, railwayman, and ranch hand before going to sea. He helped his pal Blackborow stow away on the ship at Buenos Aires.
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How


  Walter How
Seaman

Though Marston was the expedition's official artist, one reason the publicity-minded Shackleton may have chosen How was for his capabilities as an amateur artist. How also had experience in cold climates, having worked in the sub-Arctic with the Canadian Auxiliary Survey Ship.
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  Timothy McCarthy
Seaman

"[He] is the most irrepressable [sic] optimist I've ever met," Worsley wrote about this Irishman from the merchant service, who joined him, Shackleton, and three others on the James Caird journey to South Georgia. "When I relieve him at the helm, boat iced and seas [pouring] down yr [sic] neck, he informs me with a happy grin, `It's a grand day, sir.'" Note: No photo is available of McCarthy.
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McLeod


  Thomas McLeod
Seaman

When he joined the crew of the Endurance, McLeod had a full 27 years of experience as a sailor, having adopted a life at sea at the tender age of 14. He had been to the Antarctic twice, once with Scott on Terra Nova and again with Shackleton aboard Nimrod.
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Gooch


  Sir Daniel Gooch
Gooch, who helped tend to the sledge dogs, traveled only as far as South Georgia.
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