Ernest Shackleton - 1914-17
Ross Sea Party - Aurora

More about the expedition

The forgotten men. A party of men on the ship Aurora were sent to the Ross Sea as part of Shackleton's attempt to cross Antarctica via the South Pole starting at the Weddell Sea from his ship the Endurance. They were to lay depots of supplies for those who crossed the continent to use after the South Pole as they made their way to McMurdo Sound.

The Crew Alphabetically

Shore Party

Cope, John Lachlan - biologist and surgeon
Gaze, Irvine - general assistant
Hayward, Victor - general assistant
Hooke, Lionel - wireless telegraph operator
, Andrew Keith - physicist
Joyce, Ernest - sledging equipment, dogs
, Aeneas - Commander
Ninnis, Aubrey Howard - motor tractor specialist
Richards, Richard W. - physicist
Spencer-Smith, Reverend Arnold - chaplain and photographer
, Alexander O. - chief scientist
Wild, Ernest - storekeeper

Aboard the Aurora

Atkin, Sydney - able seaman
d'Anglade, Emile - steward
Donolly, Adrian C. -  2nd engineer
Downing, Arthur - able seaman
Glidden, Charles - ordinary seaman
Grade, S. - fireman
Kavanagh, William - able seaman
Larkman, Alfred - chief engineer
Mauger, Clarence - carpenter
Mugridge, William - fireman
Paton, James - boatswain
Shaw, Harold - fireman
, Joseph - 1st officer (subsequently Captain)
Thompson, Leslie, G.F. - 2nd officer
, A. "Shorty" - able seaman
Wise, Edwin Thomas - cook

The Ross Sea Party

Back row from left: Ernest Joyce, Victor Hayward, John Cope, Arnold Spencer-Smith; centre: Aeneas Mackintosh and Joseph Stenhouse third and fourth from left

Shore Party

John Lachlan CopeCope, John Lachlan - Biologist and Surgeon

Educated at Tonbridge public school after which he went to Jesus College Cambridge to study medicine, though gave up his studies before they were complete. Arriving home after his part in the Ross Sea Party in 1917, Cope served in the Royal Navy until the end of the First World War. He organized and led the British Expedition to Graham Land on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula in 1920-1922 though ended up withdrawing from his own expedition leaving two remaining members to over winter. He resumed his medical studies, qualified as a doctor in 1933 and became a general practitioner.

Born 31st March 1893 - died November 1947

Gaze, Irvine - General Assistant


Hayward, Victor - General Assistant

The 12th of 14 children, a former accounts clerk who persuaded Shackleton to engage him as a general assistant due to having worked on a ranch in northern Canada and because of his offer to "do anything" on the expedition. He was lost in McMurdo Sound, presumably on sea-ice that had broken up and blown out to sea along with Aenas Mackintosh after undertaking a journey their companions advised strongly against, their bodies were never recovered. He was posthumously awarded the Albert Medal in 1923 for his part in rescuing his scurvy stricken companions during the return from a depot laying journey to the Beardmore Glacier.

Born 23rd October 1887, London - died 8th May 1916, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

Hooke, Lionel  - Wireless Telegraph Operator

Intended for the shore party but was stranded when the Aurora broke adrift.

Upon reaching New Zealand at the end of the entrapment of the Aurora in ice, Hooke learned that his older brother had been killed at Gallipoli, he left for England and joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in anti-submarine vessels. He later qualified as a pilot and transferred to the Royal Air Force in 1918. He returned to Australia after he war and worked in telecommunications and broadcasting for which he was knighted in 1957.

Born Melbourne, Australia 31st December 1895 - died Sydney, Australia 17th February 1974

Jack, Andrew Keith - Physicist

Jack gained an MSc from the University of Melbourne in 1914 and shortly joined the expedition. He kept a regular diary during his two years in Antarctica which ran to five volumes and took a number of photographs, these are now held by Museums Victoria.

Born 9th September 1885 - died 26th September 1966

Ernest Joyce Joyce, Ernest Edwards Mills - In charge of sledging equipment and dogs

petty officer, 1st class, R.N. Discovery expedition 1901-04
general storeman, dogs, sledges, zoological collections Nimrod 1907-09

Single. Educated at the Greenwich Royal Hospital School from where he entered the Navy in 1891 and rose to the position of Petty Officer 1st class. He had served in South Africa with the Naval Brigade from where he joined Scott's Discovery expedition in 1901 from Cape Town. He left the Navy in December 1905 to rejoin again in August 1906 before leaving again by purchase order to join the Nimrod expedition in May 1907.

Born 1875, Bognor, Sussex - died 2nd May 1940

Mackintosh, Aeneas - Commander

second officer Nimrod 1907-09

Single. Born in Bengal, India in 1881 and educated at the Bedford Modern School in England. He went to sea in 1894 in the merchant navy joining the Peninsula and Oriental Steam Navigation Company in 1899. He was lent from this company to Shackleton's Nimrod expedition in 1907 and received a commission in the Royal Naval Reserve in July 1908. He lost an eye in an accident while unloading ship in 1908 and had to return to New Zealand though rejoined the expedition again in 1909. His perseverance after this injury impressed Shackleton enough to invite him to join his next expedition.

Mackintosh led the Ross Sea Party continuing what he thought was vital depot laying work after the ship Aurora had been swept from her moorings stranding ten men ashore. He was close to death after one depot laying task and less than two months afterwards was lost on sea-ice along with Hayward after undertaking a journey their companions advised strongly against.

Born 1st July 1879, Tirhut, India - died 8th May 1916, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

Ninnis, Aubrey Howard - Motor Tractor Specialist

Intended for the shore party but was stranded aboard when the Aurora broke adrift.

On return from Antarctica, Ninnis settled in Dunedin, New Zealand and joined the Royal Naval Reserve, he later became a radio broadcaster. Aubrey Ninnis was cousin to Belgrave Ninnis who had previously sailed with Douglas Mawson also on the Aurora and was killed after falling into a crevasse in December 1912.

Born 1883 - died 1st August 1956, Dunedin, New Zealand

Richards, Richard W - Physicist

Often known as Dick Richards, he was just 20 years old having recently completed a degree at the University of Melbourne when he joined the expedition. Despite his young age he helped lead a depot laying sledge party back to safety through blizzards when all of the men were suffering from scurvy, of which Spencer-Smith would die on the way back. He was not only the last of the expedition to die, but also the last of the "Heroic Age" of Antarctic exploration aged 91 in 1986.

Born 14th November 1894, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia - died 1986

Spencer-Smith, Reverend Arnold - Chaplain and Photographer Died during the expedition

Spencer-Smith became ill with scurvy on a depot laying journey in preparation for Shackleton's anticipated team continuing to the Ross Sea after reaching the pole. He was left alone in a tent for ten days while the others in his party completed the depot laying, he was then pulled on a sledge back to Cape Evans though died before they arrived.

Born 17th March 1883 - died 9th March 1916

Stevens, Alexander O. - Chief Scientist

A graduate of Glasgow University in 1907 with an arts degree, Stevens became a teacher in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides before returning to Glasgow to study geology where he graduated in 1913 then joining the Aurora as chief scientist. He joined the British armed forces on his return and served on the Western Front in 1918 after which he returned to the University of Glasgow and became the first Professor of Geography there in 1947.

Born Kilmarnock, Scotland 11th January 1886 - died 20th December 1965

Wild, Ernest - Storekeeper

Younger brother of Frank Wild, Ernest followed his older brother into the navy where he had been for 20 years until joining the Aurora. He suffered severe frostbite in the first depot laying journey from McMurdo Sound needing to have part of a toe and the top of one ear amputated. He was popular figure known for good humour and ability. On his return to Britain in 1917 he returned to the navy, in early 1918 he contracted typhoid and died in the naval hospital in Malta. He was posthumously awarded the Albert Medal in 1923 for his part in rescuing his scurvy stricken companions during the return from a depot laying journey to the Beardmore Glacier.

Born 10th August 1879, Skelton, North Yorkshire - died 10th March 1918 in active service


Aboard the Aurora

Atkin, Sydney - Able Seaman

d'Anglade, Emile - Steward

Donolly, C. Adrian - 2nd Engineer

Downing, Arthur - Able Seaman

Glidden, Charles - Ordinary Seaman

1894 - died 3rd September 1957

Grade, S - Fireman

Kavanagh, William - Able Seaman

Born New South Wales, Australia 10th November 1885

Larkman, Alfred - Chief Engineer

1890 - died Wanganui, New Zealand 15th July 1962

Mauger, Clarence, Charles - Carpenter


Mugridge, William - Fireman

Born Devonport, England

Paton, James - Boatswain

seaman Morning 1902-04,
leading seaman Nimrod 1907-09
able seaman Terra Nova 1910-13

Known as "Scotty". The Morning was a relief ship for Scott's Discovery expedition, voyaging twice to Antarctica from New Zealand. During the first trip and while the ship was not moving between Cape Bird and Beaufort Island, Paton left the ship and jumped from one ice floe to the next to reach Beaufort Island about a mile away. In doing so he became the first person to set foot on the island, earned himself a reprimand and the later distinction of having Paton Peak on Beaufort Island named after him.

Following the return of the Aurora to New Zealand, Paton signed on as boatswain when the ship was sold as a coal carrier. The ship and her crew including Paton were lost in late 1917 or early 1918 after loading with coal in Newcastle, New South Wales in June 1917 bound for Chile. It is thought that she was most likely sunk after hitting a mine laid by the German raider Wolf.

Born Glasgow 1869 - died 1917 or 18, lost with the Aurora

Shaw, Harold - Fireman

Harold Shaw suffered from nocturnal seizures followed by confused wanderings as a result of epilepsy. Initially hailed as an Antarctic hero alongside his Aurora shipmates, he was later unceremoniously expelled from New Zealand and listed as a prohibited immigrant.

Stenhouse, Joseph - 1st Officer (subsequently Captain)

Working on merchant ships, Stenhouse was a last-minute appointment to the expedition and joined the Aurora in Australia. Though inexperienced, he took command of the ship in McMurdo Sound when Captain Mackintosh was ashore to take charge of laying depots. On the 6th of May 1915 the ship was wrenched from what had been her winter moorings and so began a drift trapped by ice that would last for 312 days before she was released again. He was made an OBE in 1920 for his service aboard Aurora. On his return to Britain he served on Q boats during the war. Following this he joined Shackleton on an operation to Murmansk to equip and train Russian Bolsheviks. He married Captain Mackintosh's widow Gladys in 1923. He retired from the navy in 1931 though signed up for active service again in WW2, he was missing presumed killed when a ship he was travelling on hit a mine and sunk in the Red Sea.

Born Dumbarton, Scotland on the 15th of November 1887 - died Red Sea, 12th September 1941, killed in action

Thompson, Leslie, G.F. - 2nd Officer

Warren, A. "Shorty" - Able Seaman

Wise, Edwin Thomas - Cook


Some of the crew of the Aurora after her drift

Biographical information - I am concentrating on the Polar experiences of the men involved. Any further information or pictures visitors may have will be gratefully received. Please email  - Paul Ward, webmaster.

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  Ernest Shackleton Books and Video

South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition
South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition (1919)
original footage - DVD

Shackleton - The Greatest Survival Story of All Time (3-Disc Collector's Edition)
Kenneth Branagh (2002) - DVD

Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (Large Format)
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (2001)
IMAX dramatization - DVD

The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Expedition (2000)
PBS NOVA, dramatization with original footage - DVD
Endurance, The Greatest Adventure Story Ever Told, book
Endurance : Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
Alfred Lansing (Preface) - Book

South with Endurance:
Frank Hurley - official photographer

South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition, 1914-17
South! Ernest Shackleton
Shackleton's own words

 Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer

Shackleton's Boat Journey: The narrative of Frank Worsley


biography by Roland

The Quest for Frank Wild, biography by Angie Butler

The Endurance : Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
by Caroline Alexander

Mrs. Chippy's Last Expedition:
The Remarkable Journal of Shackleton's Polar-Bound Cat

Shackleton's Forgotten Men
Lennard Bickel

Elephant Island and Beyond: The Life and Diaries of Thomas Orde Lees Book
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, The True Story of the Endurance Expedition
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World -
Jennifer Armstrong
for ages 12 and up