Tom Crean Crean's Historic Adventure with Shackleton
Crean’s 3rd Antarctic Expedition • On his return from the Terra Nova expedition, Crean resumed his Naval duties at Chatham, Kent until Shackleton began to recruit for his ‘Endurance Expedition’ to cross the continent of Antarctica • Crean was selected to be one of the party of 6 to make the crossing • This expedition, like Scott’s was bound for the South Pole and set out from London on the 1st Aug 1914 • However, unknown to Crean he would not step foot on Antarctica again
Endurance became trapped in the ice of Weddell Sea in Jan 1915 • It was abandoned in Oct and it sunk in Nov
The men made the safety of elephant island in April 1916, with Crean being in charge of the Stancomb Willis lifeboat which took them there
In order to get rescue Crean, Shackleton and four companions began an 800 mile voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia in the largest of the open lifeboats, the James Caird. • They landed in South Georgia in May of that year • A Norwegian whaling station was located on one side of the Island but they landed on the uninhabited southern side and with a broken rudder had no way of sailing around. • They took on the daunting task of crossing South Georgia's frozen mountains to reach the whaling station and safety. • They succeeded and over four months after they had set out, Crean and Shackleton finally returned to Elephant Island and all 22 castaways from Endurance were rescued.
A quiet return to Kerry • In Sept 1917 Crean married his childhood sweetheart Eileen Herlihy at home in Anascaul • They had 3 children together however 1 died at the age of four • In 1920, after 27 years of service Crean retired from the Royal Navy • In 1927 he opened a pub in his home town called the South Pole Inn. • He lived a quiet life until his death from a burst appendix in 1938