Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, October 10, 1915: “Tom Crean is a fine character. . .”

–from Thomas Orde Lees’ diary—

“10 October. Temperature +29 deg maximum. The remarkable higt temperature is maintained and there is a general thaw on board; everything is slushy. Animal life is returning all around us and even though we are drifting southwards just at present, it seems that our release is at hand, for there are now very large areas of open water visible in every direction. I was out sledging today with Tom Crean. He had only five dogs and with a full load of 16 gallons of petrol besides the two passengers the pace was anything but thrilling.

“Tom Crean is a fine character, one of the most reliable men on the expedition. As his name suggests, he is an Irishman and a giant at that. He started as an ordinary sailor in the navy and was in Scott’s expedition when by walking 30 miles alone to fetch help, and thereby saving the life of Commander Evans dangerously ill with scurvy, he gained the Albert Medal for conspicuous bravery. His staunch loyalty to the expedition is worth a lot.

“I again got into rather serious trouble for crossing the frozen ‘lead’ just ahead of the ship. I was quite safe, but Sir Ernest considered that not to be so.”

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