Last updated: 21 August 2008.

Accessed at least many times since 16 April 2007.

Ships and boats have always played an indispensable role in the exploration of the Antarctic; indeed, they have served as the focus and namesake of many Antarctic expeditions particularly during the 'heroic age': Williams, Hero, Resolution & Adventure, Vostok & Mirnyy, Vincennes, Terror & Erebus, Astrolabe & Zélée, Beaufoy & Jane, Belgica, Southern Cross, Gauss, Antarctic, Uruguay, Discovery, Français, Pourquoi-Pas?, Scotia, Fram, Terra Nova, Aurora, Endurance, James Caird, Quest, Wyatt Earp, et al.

Below are ships with Antarctic connections, listed alphabetically. In parentheses appear persons or expeditions associated with the ship. Under description are details on the ship. Under fate is what is known about the ship's demise or, in some happy cases, where it is today.

Sources: Burroughs [Burroughs, Polly. The Great Ice Ship Bear; Eighty-Nine Years in Polar Seas. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1970]; Church [Church, Ian. Last Port to Antartica: Dunedin and Port Chalmers: 100 Years of Polar Service. Dunedin, NZ: Otago Heritage Books, 1997]; Howgego [Howgego, Raymond John. Encyclopedia of Exploration (Parts 2 & 3: 1800 to 1850 and 1850 to 1940, Potts Point, NSW, Australia: Hordern House, 2004 and 2006); Naval Ships [Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Washington, D.C.: Naval History Division, Department of the Navy, 8 volumes 1959-1981]; Riffenburgh [Riffenburgh, Beau. Shackleton's Forgotten Expedition; The Voyage of the Nimrod. New York and London, Bloomsbury, 2004]; State Street Bank [State Street Bank. Ship Figureheads and other wood carving art in the Nautical Collection of the State Street Trust Co. - Boston (Boston: State Street Bank, 1950]; Stewart [Stewart, John. Antarctica An Encyclopedia. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1990].
Thanks also to Antony Bowring, Randy C. Bunney, John Dyer, John Humbert, Valmar Kurol, Charles Lagerbom, Michael Rosove, Richard Paul Smyers, Jennifer Stringer and Bill Wechter.

Active (Dundee Whaling Expedition 1892-93).

Description: Whaler of 340 tons.
Fate: Sank in a storm near Orkney, Scotland, on Christmas day, 1915.
From a letter (13 January 2006) from Jennifer Stringer:
"Regarding the final fate of the ex-whaling ship SS Active: On this voyage [Dundee Whaling Expedition, 1892-93] her captain was Thomas Robertson, the ship was stranded on a reef for 6 hours. This reef Robertson named Active Reef, a nearby island he named Dundee Island and the strait of water between Dundee Island and Joinville Island was named Active Sound. The Active was built by my great grandfather Francis Robertson and he would have been proud to know that two geographical locations were named after one of his ships. . ." NOTE: According to Geographic Names of the Antarctic, the Active ran aground on 10 January 1893. Dundee Island was discovered two days before on 8 January 1893.She included some information from the local newspaper, The Orcadian (January 16, 2003), which tells about two crew members of the Active, Peter Brymer and James Scott Jamieson who are buried side-by-side in the Glebe Kirkyard, Rousay and Egilsay, Orkney, Scotland, UK. "Both men drowned in Orkney seas on Christmas day, when the elderly Dundee whaler SS Active foundered and sank with all hands in a south easterly gale. The vessel-which was managed by the Hudson's Bay company-had been chartered to carry a cargo of war material around the North Cape of Norway to the White Sea in North Russia. The Christmas Day tragedy was only discovered when lifeboats and bodies of her crew were washed up at Deerness, Shapinsay, Stronsay, Papa Stronsay, and, of course, Rousay. . . SS Active, like many vessels used during World War One, was a civilian ship chartered to do whatever was deemed necessary for the war effort. More than 60 years old at the time she sank, she belonged to an earlier era. She was a three masted, 117 foot long, sailing vessel, built in Peterhead in 1852 by Francis Robertson, then updated and refitted several times-including her conversion to a steam screw in 1871. On her maiden voyage from Peterhead to Greenland via Lerwick, on Tuesday, March 1, 1853, she was described as 'the smartest ship in the fleet'. . . . It was from Dundee that the old ship eventually left for the North Sea during Christmas week, with her new crew, which included skipper Willie Leask from Shetland, engineer Peter Brymer, and first mate, James Scott Jamieson. An article, written, it is thought, for a local newspaper in the 1970s by Bobby Jamieson, retells much of the story. Mr Jamieson had been 16 years old at the time of the sinking. Mr Jamieson wrote of the incident: 'They had not been long out of Dundee, when a gale suddenly sprang up from the south-east which soon strengthened to hurricane force, accompanied by blinding snow. 'The old ship soon found the mountainous seas and the gale were too much for her old timbers and she sprung a leak. 'The crew battled to keep her afloat by pumping all they could, but it was of little avail, and they eventually saw she was foundering and would soon be under the waves.' Jamie, he went on to explain, saw all hope was gone, and wrote a letter to his family. It was also his will. The paper was thrust into a bottle which was thrown to the turbulent seas before SS Active and her crew went under. The letter, like the bodies of the men, was washed up on an Orkney beach. . . . Both men were buried in the churchyard close to where they were found. There are only 27 headstones in the yard. Peter Brymer's is a tall obelisk, with Jamie Jamieson's to the right." The inscriptions on the two headstones read: Erected in loving memory of our dear father Peter B. Brymer, engineer "S.S. Active" who was drowned 25th December 1915. To memory ever dear. In loving memory of James Scott Jamieson who was drowned through the foundering of the "s.s. Active" on 25th December 1915 aged 37. Son of Andrew Jamieson, Longhill, Sandwick, Shetland.
Adventure (James Cook)
Description: Formerly the 'Raleigh,' the smaller of Cook's two ships on his Second Voyage. Crossed the Antarctic Circle 1773. 336 tons. Crew of 91. Commanded by Tobias Furneaux. [Source: Stewart, p. 7]

"The Admiralty purchased two near new Whitby-built colliers for Cook's second voyage of discovery, the Marquis of Granby, 402 tons, and the Marquis of Rockingham, 340 tons. They were comissioned under the names of Drake and Raleigh which subsequently became the Resolution and Adventure. . .

The Adventure, which cost the Navy £2,103, was placed under the command of Captain Tobias Furneaux, a Devonshireman who had been Second Lieutenant under Wallis on the Dolphin. Furneaux was an excellent seaman but unfamiliar with Whitby ships.

After refitting, the Adventure sailed at 335 tons with a compliment of 81 men and one civilian. The Board of Longitude sent two astronomers on the second voyage and William Bayly sailed with Furneaux. The Adventure was a smaller edition of the Resolution, a good looking ship but she did not achieve the fame of Cook's choice.

By mid-December 1772 the two ships had reached the Antarctic waters. The first crossing of the Antarctic Circle occurred in January 1773. They became separated in a heavy fog when only about 75 miles from Enderby Land but did not know that land was close. By prearrangement the future rendevouz was to be Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand. . .

Furneaux's Adventure returned to her Whitby owners and sailed on for a further 35 years. In 1811 she was in the St. Lawrence River, the scene of Cook's magnificent charting work, but Cook was not there to guide her through the treacherous reaches. The great river was determined to perpetuate the memory of Cook and claimed the Adventure for all time when she was wrecked there."
Antarctic (Henryk Bull, Carl Larsen, Otto Nordenskjold)
Description: Norwegian ship, formerly the Kap Nor [sometimes Cap Nor]. 226 tons. Made two Antarctic expeditions: 1) Sealing and exploration expedition under Henryk Bull in 1893-95. First vegetation above Antarctic Circle (lichens) discovered at Possession Island. First recorded landing on continent at Cape Adare on 18 Jan 1895 (Carsten Borchegrevink et al). 2) 1901-04 Swedish Expedition under Otto Nordenskjold in the Weddell Sea. Overwintering at Snow Hill Island, Hope Bay and Paulet Island.
Fate: Ship crushed by ice on 12 Feb 1903 and sank at 63 deg 50' S, 57 deg W. [Source: Stewart, p. 29]
Arneb (Deepfreeze I & II [IGY])
Description: US cargo ship. Helped build Hallett Station (1957). [Source: Stewart, p. 41]
Launched 6 July 1943 as Mischief in Oakland, California. Departed Norfolk 14 November 1955 as flagship for Operation Deepfreeze I. Departed Norfolk 28 October 1956 to participate in Operation Deepfreeze II. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 1, p. 63.]

Displacement 6,556 t.(lt) 13,900 t.(fl)
Length 459' 2"
Beam 63'
Draft 26' 4"
Speed 16 kts.
Complement 247
Cargo Capacity 4,450 dwt [Source:] Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.

Fate: Final Disposition, sold, 1 March 1973, for scrapping to Andy International, Houston, TX. [Source:] Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.
Astrolabe (Dumont d'Urville)
Description: Previously the 'Coquille.' Flagship of d'Urville's 1837-40 French expedition. 380 tons. 94 feet long, beam of 29 feet. 17 officers and 85 men. [Source: Stewart, p. 44]

The corvette L'Astrolabe was launched at Toulon in 1811. She was initially designated as horse transport ship named Ecurie. The ship had a displacement of 390 tons and soon after launch, it will be discovered that she had very good nautical qualities.
During 1813 she was refit for logistic purposes (transportation of men and ammunition). The new corvette was named La Coquille.
Because of her qualities, she was again transformed for geographic survey voyages. In 1822, she set out on her first world voyage of exploration under Lieutenant Commander Duperrey. In 1825, she was renamed Astrolabe in memory of an earlier exploration ship (frigate L'Astrolabe) which, under the command of Jean La Perouse was lost after successful surveying California, the west coast of North America, and remote areas of the western Pacific.
Thereafter, Astrolabe participated mostly in exploratory expeditions. She sailed on her second discovery voyage under Capt. Jules Dumont d'Urville, which, in 1837 discovered the continent of Antarctica.
The Astrolabe was sold and scraped in 1851.
Atka (Deepfreeze II, III, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 69)
Description: US icebreaker, launched in 1943. 6000 tons. 269 feet long. Scouted the Antarctic coast for potential US bases of IGY (1954-55). Captain: Cdr. Glen Jacobsen. Name changed to 'Southwind' in 1967. [Source: Stewart, p. 45]

AGB-3. Launched 7 March 1943 at San Pedro, California as the Coast Guard icebreaker 'Southwind.' Commissioned in the Navy as Atka 1 October 1950. Antarctic expedition of 1 December 1954 - 12 April 1955. 1 November 1956 she departed Seattle for the Antarctic as part of Operation Deepfreeze II. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 1, p. 70.]

"Construction began on July 20, 1942 in the Western Pipe and Steel Company shipyards in San Pedro, California, and she was launched on March 8, 1943 by Mrs Ona Jones. On July 15, 1944, she was commissioned as USCGC Southwind (WAGB-280)."

Builder: Western Pipe and Steel Company, San Pedro, California
Laid down: July 20, 1942
Launched: March 8, 1943
Commissioned: July 15, 1944 as USCGC Southwind (WAGB-280)
Decommissioned: March 25, 1945
Renamed: Admiral Makarov (1945-50), USS Atka (1950-66), USCGC Southwind (1966-76)
Fate: Decommissioned
Displacement: approx 6,500 tons full load
Length: 269ft (82m)
Beam: 63.8ft (19.4m)
Draught: 25.75ft (7.85m)
Propulsion: 3 shaft Diesel Electric drive (1 bow), 13,300shp (9920kW)
Speed: 16
Complement: 254
Armament: 4x 5" in twin mounts, 12x40 mm in quad mounts
Aircraft carried: 1 Grumman J2F Seaplane
[Source:] Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.

Fate: "She remained in service until 1976, when she was decommissioned and sold." [Source:]
Aurora (John King Davis, Douglas Mawson, Ernest Shackleton)
Description: Built in 1876 at Dundee. 600 ton sealer. Used by Mawson 1911-14. Shackleton's Ross Sea Party 1914-17 (broke free from Cape Evans in gale, eventually returning with Shackleton aboard to rescue party). Its anchor is still at Cape Evans. [Source: Stewart. p. 48]
Fate: "In mid-1917 the Aurora sailed from Newcastle, NSW, with a cargo of coal for Chile and was lost without trace..." [Source: Church, p.40]
Balaena (Dundee Whaling Expedition 1892-93)
Description: Dundee whaler of 400 tons. Naturalist on this expedition was William S. Bruce. [Source: Stewart, p. 59]
Fate: "Balaena was sold as a hulk early in 1920s." [Source:] Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.
Bear of Oakland (Richard Byrd)
Description: Originally named the 'Bear.' Square-rigged wood barquentine built in 1858. Renamed the 'Bear of Oakland' (later reverting to the 'Bear' again) and used by Byrd on BAE 1933-35, also on his 1939-41 expedition. [Source: Stewart, p. 75] "Built in Greenock, Scotland as early as 1874. First used as a whaler, then purchased by the U.S. to rescue the Greeley party, she saved many persons each year in the Arctic. Also, she was used to maintain order at Nome at the time of the gold rush in 1899-1900. In 1912 Steffanson was brought out on the Bear and in 1923 Amundsen was carried from Wainwright to Nome; Captain Robert A. Bartlett used her to save Steffanson's vessel in 1914. Bought by the City of Oakland in 1928, she was re-christened Bear of Oakland." [Source: State Street Bank] The ship's figurehead is in the office of the Chairman of Boston's State Street Bank. This is at least the second figurehead. An earlier one is at the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia. The bell of the Bear is on display in the Explorers Club in New York City. The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, has a piece of the figurehead in the Waite Collection; also a brass plate.
Fate: "Sank in the North Atlantic ninety miles south of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, March 19, 1963." [Source: Burroughs, p. 101]
From an e-mail from John Humbert:
"I noted a few minor errors re the Bear. She was built as a seal hunter, not a whaler on the Tay in Scotland in 1873. Also thought I'd pass along a few bits of trivia. She had a double hull made of oak to allow survival even when crushed by ice. While in the custody of the City of Oakland, CA she was used in the Edward G. Robinson film of 'The Sea Wolf' (by Jack London) as the ship "Ghost." After returning from Antarctica, she was put on public display, after an extensive overhaul, refitting and polishing. At that time, a planished iron boiler cover was put in (for show), the jerk-line signal system (between crow's nest and wheel-house, and between wheel-house and engine room) was replaced with a ship's telegraph, and other things done to make her seem a little less spartan than she had been for Richard Byrd. During WW II, she had her masts cut off, and was repowered, and used for coastal patrol in the Atlantic, and captured a German U-boat. She was being towed down the east coast when she ran into weather (being towed to be retrofitted into a floating restaurant), shipped water through the dried-out uncaulked hull, and sank, at the age of 90 (her sister ship, named Seal I believe, sank prior to 1900). The jerk-line signal system used "jingle" bells, classic bell shape with clapper, with integral crank. Line attached to one side of crank and spring to other. I have the jingle bell that was taken out of the engine room during the sprucing-up for public show."
"Bear was built in 1874 by Alexander Stephen and Sons, Ltd., Linthouse, Goven, Scotland, as a sealing vessel; purchased by the Navy at St. John's, Newfoundland, 28 January 1884; and commissioned 17 March 1884, Lieutenant W.H. Emory in command.
Bear was purchased for use in the rescue of Lieutenant A.W. Greeley, USA, and his expedition, who were marooned in the Arctic. Bear and Thetis successfully rescued Greeley and the six other survivors at Cape Sabine, 23 June 1884. In April 1885 Bear was decommissioned and transferred to the Revenue Cutter Service.
She remained with the Revenue Cutter Service and Coast Guard until 1929, making 34 voyages to Alaskan and Arctic waters. Sold by the Coast Guard in 1929 to the City of Oakland, Calif., for use as a museum, she was used (as Bear of Oakland) by Rear Admiral R.E. Byrd during his Antarctic Expedition of 1933-35. Repurchased by the Navy 11 September 1939, she was commissioned the same day as Bear (AG-29). Following two voyages to the Antarctic (22 November 1939 - 5 June 1940 and 10 October 1940 - 18 May 1941), Bear served with the Northeast Greenland Patrol until returning to Boston 15 November 1943. She was decommissioned 17 May 1944 and transferred to the Maritime Commission 13 February 1948." [Source: Naval Ships, vol 1, p. 108.]
Beaufoy (James Weddell, 1819-22, 1822-24, 1824-26 expeditions)
Description: British sloop of 65 tons and a crew of 13. [Source: Stewart, p. 77]
Belgica (Adrien de Gerlache, Belgian Antarctic Expedition 1897-99)
Description: Built as a whaler and named Patria. Length of 110 feet, beam of 26 feet, draft of 15 feet. Crossed the Antarctic Circle on 15 Feb 1898. Trapped in ice on 3 March 1898 in Bellingshausen Sea. Escaped on 15 Feb 1899. First ship to winter-over so far south. Famous crewmembers: Lecointe, Arctowski, Amundsen, Frederick Cook. [Source: Stewart, p. 80]
Built in Norway in 1884. Designed and constructed by Johan Chr. Jakobsen. Sold to Adrien de Gerlache in 1896. Nansen and Amundsen met for the first time on Belgica's deck. [Source: Polar Record, 41: 205-214, 2005]
Fate: "Acquired by N.C. Halvorsen in 1902 and then by the Duc d'Orleans. Used for research in the Kara and Greenland Seas in 1905, remained in service until 1913." [Source:]
In 1916 she was sold to Det Norske Kulsyndikat and renamed Isfjord. She became a freighter carrying coal from Longyearbyen to ports in northern Norway. In 1918 she was sold and her new owner converted her into a floating cod-liver oil refinery and fish-processing plant. In 1940 she was impounded by British forces and used as a floating ammunition depot. On 19 May 1940 she was sunk during a German air raid. Her wreck was re-discovered in 1990. [Source: Polar Record, 41: 205-214, 2005]
Brough (Deepfreeze II)
Description: US ship DE-148, Antarctic service 1956-59. [Source: Stewart, p. 137]
DE-148. Launched 10 April 1943 at Orange, Texas. In September 1956 commenced operations as a unit of Operation Deepfreeze II. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 1, p. 163.]
Brownson (Richard Byrd, Operation Highjump 1946-47)
Description: U.S. destroyer. [Source: Stewart, p. 139]
DD-868. The second ship of that name. Launched 7 July 1945 in Staten Island, New York. She participated in Operation Highjump between November 1946 and April 1947. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 1, p. 164.]
Burton Island (Richard Byrd, Operation Highjump 1946-47, Operation Windmill 1947-48, Operation Deepfreeze III 1957-58, Operation Deepfreeze 60, 62, 64, 66, 68 & 69)
Description: US Navy icebreaker of 6515 tons, launched 1946. Circumnavigated Antarctica. Transferred to US Coast Guard 15 Dec 1966. [Source: Stewart, p. 150]
AGB-1. Launched 30 April 1046 at San Pedro, California. Departed San Diego 17 January 1947 and steamed to the RossSea,, arriving 8 February 1947. Arrived back in San Pedro 31 March 1947. Took part in Second (1947) Antarctic Development Project arriving 1 January 1948. Returned to San Pedro 21 March 1948. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 1, p. 180.]
C. A. Larsen (Richard Byrd) Description: Fate: [see also City of New York.]

Cacapon (Richard Byrd)

Description: AO-52. Launched 12 June 1943 at Sparrows Point, Maryland. 2 December 1946 cleasred San Pedro, California, for 10 weeks in the Antarctic in OPeration Highjump. Returned home 8 April 1947. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 2, p. 5.]
Canisteo (Richard Byrd)
Description: AO-99. Launched 6 July 1945 at Sparrows Point, Maryland. Sailed south from Norfolk 27 November 1946 as a unit of Operation Highjump. Returned to Norfolk 23 April 1947. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 2, p. 25.]
Castor (Larsen) Description: Fate:

Cecilia (John Davis) Description: Fate:

Challenger (Challenger)

Description: First steamship to cross the Antarctic Circle. (February 16, 1874).
Fate: "She was finally broken up for her copper bottom in 1921." [Source:]
Chanticleer (Foster)
Description: Brig-sloop, launched 26 July 1808, wooden hull, 237 tons, 10 guns. [Source:]
The Chanticleer was a British ship commanded by Henry Foster, which conducted an 1828-31 expedition that included the South Shetlands and charted part of the Antarctic Peninsula. In 1829 they landed in Deception Island, and conducted research there. (Source: Stewart, p. 178]
Fate: Unclear. Between 1846 adn 1863 she was on Coast Guard Service on the River Medway in the County of Kent England. (Source: Navy Lists via Jennifer Stringer)
City of New York (Richard Byrd)

From Charles Lagerbom:

Found some information about the City of New York (Byrd's ship) that it had been requested for WWII service in 1942. [Source: The Polar Times 1:15(12/42), 23]. It got me thinking about the fate of the ship and so a little further research yielded the following:
"Upon returning home [from the Antarctic] the City of New York was replaced by the famous Bear. City of New York became a museum of polar exploration, touring the Atlantic coast and the Great Lakes. She ended up at Cleveland, where she was trapped in her berth by a newly constructed bridge. There she remained until World War II brought great need for shipping. To help meet the need City's masts were taken out and she left the Lakes for a return to service along the east coast, sailing from Halifax. She was re-rigged as a three-masted schooner, stripped of her engine, and re-entered service in 1944.
After a few years on the Nova Scotia-West Indies route she was deemed too slow. In 1947 she had her topmasts removed, her bowsprit shortened, and she was fitted with an engine. Thus she became a motor schooner, carrying only two jibs and her foresail and mainsail.
Late in 1962 City of New York was sold for use in the Prince Edward Island potato trade. On 30 December 1962, before she entered her new service, she broke her tow and drifted onto Chebogue Ledge outside Yarmouth Harbor, Nova Scotia. A stove overturned, starting a fire; the ship quickly filled and sank. Storms later broke her up and washed parts of her hull ashore."
Source: The site has some pretty good pictures of her.
From Richard Paul Smyers:
"...the City of New York was a stoutly built ex-whaling vessel that had been finished by K. Larsen of Arendal, Norway, in 1885. She was purchased by Byrd at the suggestion of Roald Amundsen first man to reach the South Pole. Under the command of Captain Frederick C. Melville, the City of New York had departed Hoboken, New Jersey, on 25 August 1928, with 200 ton's of supplies and a crew of 20 aboard. A second expedition vessel, the 800-ton steel-hulled cargo ship Eleanor Bolling, followed, reaching Panama on October 6th. In addition, two whaling ships, the James Clark and C.A. Larsen, were assisting the expedition. The City of New York departed Balboa for Dunedin, New Zealand, on September 18th, but returned for repairs to auxiliary coal-burning engine the next day. The vessel eventually reached Bay of Whales, Antarctica, on 28 December 1928. On 1 July, 1930, the City of New York returned to Panama from Antarctica and after taking on supplies and water, departed for New York under tow of the U.S. Navy tug Sciota. The little ship sailed on for many more years, until a fire destroyed the vessel following a grounding off Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on 30 December 1953."
Source: Ships of the Panama Canal by James L. Shaw. (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1985), p. 241.

Currituck (Richard Byrd)

Description: The second ship of that name. Launched 11 September 1943 at Philadelphia. No mention of Antarctic service. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 2, p. 219.]
Curtiss (Deepfreeze II)
Description: AV-4 (seaplane tender). Launched 20 April 1940 at Camden, New Jersey. Departed San Diego on 27 December 1956 for Operation Deepfreeeze II. Returned to San Diego 25 March 1956. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 2, p. 220. Photo of ship on p. 221.]
Deutschland (Filchner)
Fate: "The DEUTSCHLAND was subsequently sold to Austria."
[Source:] Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.

Diana (Dundee Expedition) Description: Fate:

Discovery (Robert Scott, BANZARE)

Fate: At Discovery Point, Dundee, Scotland.
Dudley Docker (Ernest Shackleton)
Description: 22 feet long, 6 foot beam, draught 3 feet.

Eagle (Operation Tabarin)

Description: "S.S. Eagle, a Newfoundland wooden sealer with Newfoundland crew, that was used in 1944-45 by the British Admiralty/FIDS in its secret Operation Tabarin to relieve small bases at Deception Island and Port Lockroy and establish one at Hope Bay. This expedition was written up in a 1992 book by Harold Squires, the last surviving member, in a book called S. S. Eagle - The Secret Mission - 1944-45. It's one of the few "Canadian" stories of earlier days, although Newfoundland was not a part of Canada until 1949."
--Thanks to Valmar Kurol.
Eastwind (Deepfreeze I) Description: Fate:

Edisto (Deepfreeze I)

Description: CVE-41 (escort aircraft carrier). Launched 29 May 1946 at San Pedro, California. Reclassified AGB-2 (icebreaker). Assigned to TF39 for the Second Antarctic Development Project. Sailed 1 November 1947. Returned to Boston 31 March 1948. From 1949 through 1960 Edisto continued her support of exploration in both the arctic and antarctic. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 2, p. 324. Photo of ship on p. 325.]
Eleanor Bolling (Richard Byrd) [see also City of New York.]
Description: Built in 1919 by Smiths Dock Company of Middleboro, England. Originally christened Kilmarnock, the ship was built for the British Admiralty as part of the Kil class of patrol gun boats. Recorded dimensions were 170 feet in length, 30 feet in beam, a depth of hold of 16 feet, and 598 gross tons. The hull was of iron construction with triple expansion steam engines for propulsion. In the 1920s Kilmarnock was sold to a private firm and renamed Chelsea.
In July 1928, Rear-Admiral Richard E. Byrd, USN, acquired Chelsea as one of two support vessels that would carry his first expedition to Antarctica. Byrd planned to construct a polar base from which he hoped to make the first aerial fly-over of the South Pole. He purchased the small freighter for $34,000 from the government's "rumrunner's row" of vessels confiscated for smuggling liquor. Byrd chose Chelsea because she was cheap and available; otherwise, he confessed, she had little to recommend her. The primary expedition ship, City of New York, was a sailing ship with a wooden hull ideal for advancing through polar ice packs; however, her hold was too small for the crates containing the airplanes that were to fly over the South Pole. Chelsea's hold, on the other hand, contained two large cargo areas with a combined capacity of 800 tons. Byrd renamed the steamer Eleanor Bolling after his mother, Eleanor Bolling Byrd. The vessel underwent some $76,000 in repairs and upgrades at the Todd Shipyard in England. One of the most important upgrades was reinforcement of the bow area to withstand Antarctic ice; Bolling subsequently became the first metal-hulled vessel to be used in Antarctic waters. The ship proved to be sturdy but not especially stable; her crew, after encountering rough waves in the southern ocean, nicknamed her "Evermore Rolling." Eleanor Bolling made several voyages between Antarctica and New Zealand before the expedition was completed in 1930. On June 19, 1930, she and City of New York sailed into New York harbor amid enormous fanfare. Later that year, Byrd sold the vessel to an Arctic sealing company for $15,000, considering her unseaworthy for a second Antarctic expedition.

Fate: In 1933, the ship was purchased by Vamar Shipping Company and renamed Vamar. By 1942, Vamar was owned by Bolivar-Atlantic Navigation Company under Panamanian registry and used as a tramp freighter. Various Coast Guard reports indicate the steamer was falling into disrepair, with her equipment in poor condition and no radio operator onboard. On March 19, 1942, Vamar entered Port St. Joe with a crew of 18 (Yugoslavian, Cuban, and Spanish) to take on a load of lumber for Cuba. On March 21, Vamar left the dock and headed through the channel toward the Gulf of Mexico. According to an incident report given by Harbor Pilot J. Melvin Beck, who was aboard the ship when it sank, the steamer was overloaded and seemed to be top-heavy from too much cargo stowed on the deck. As Mr. Beck guided Vamar through the channel, she listed to port and began to go down by the stern. After managing to get the sinking freighter out of the channel, Mr. Beck and all the crew abandoned the ship and returned safely to Port St. Joe.
For several weeks, Vamar's captain and crew remained in Port St. Joe and apparently aroused the townspeople's suspicion by their conduct. The crew's behavior together with war-time concerns for security caused the Coast Guard to initiate an investigation into the sinking. Two Coast Guard investigators were sent to Port St. Joe in May. The investigators questioned salvage divers working to raise the wreck, as well as many people in the town who had knowledge of the sinking incident and the crew's subsequent activities. Some of those who were questioned suggested that the ship had intentionally been sunk by saboteurs to block the channel and provided information about the dubious circumstances surrounding the sinking. For example, when Vamar went down she had already navigated two sharp turns in the channel and was on a straightaway in calm water. Additionally, Mr. Beck told Vamar's captain she was overloaded and top-heavy but his advice to shift her cargo was ignored.
Although the investigators noted the concerns of the local people and followed leads on the questionable behavior of the crew and rumors of holes in Vamar's hull, they could not find enough evidence to substantiate the suspicions. The exact reason why Vamar sank has never been determined, although overloading and shifting cargo generally are blamed. Nevertheless, the specter of foreign war-time sabotage still looms over the shipwreck.
Eliza Scott (Balleny) Description: Fate:

Endurance (Ernest Shackleton)

Fate: Crushed and sank in Weddell Sea.
HMS Endurance
Description: "A Class 1 Icebreaker she was originally built in Norway in 1990 as MV Polar Circle. The RN chartered her in 1991 before she commissioned as HMS Polar Circle on 21 Nov 91. She was subsequently renamed HMS Endurance. Her Mission is "To patrol and survey the Antarctic and South Atlantic, maintaining Sovereign Presence with Defence Diplomacy and supporting the global community of Antarctica". This involves close links with the Foreign Office, United Kingdom Hydrographic Office and the British Antarctic Survey. She deploys annually to the Antarctic, her operating area for 7 months of the year. Her base port is Portsmouth, which is also the ship's affiliated town. The Ship's motto is " Fortitudine Vincimus" ~ 'By Endurance We Conquer' The motto originates from that of the great Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton who made history in his ship, Endurance' in his expedition south in 1914-15." [Source:]
&#8212Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.
Fate: Crushed and sank in Weddell Sea.
Erebus (James Ross) Description: Fate: Along with Terror, last seen in Disko Bay, west coast of Greenland, 26 July 1845. It was deserted on 22 April 1848 "having been beset by ice since 12 September 1846." (Howgego)

Express (Fanning-Pendleton) Description: Fate:

Flying Fish (Charles Wilkes)

Description: According to Alan Gurney (The Race to the White Continent, p. 180): "At Singapore the Flying Fish . . . was sold to an Englishman who thought it would make a beautiful yacht. (She ended up as the Spec, a notorius smuggler, running opium in China.)"
"The first Flying Fish, a schooner, was formerly the New York pilot boat Independence; purchased at New York 3 August 1838; and upon joining her squadron at Hampton Roads 12 August 1838 was placed under the command of Passed Midshipman S.R. Knox.

Assigned as a t ender in the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-42 commanded by Lieutenant C. Wilkes, Flying Fish sailed with her squadron 19 August 1838 to visit Madeira and Rio de Janeiro while bound for Tierra del Fuego, where the squadron arrived early in 1839. From this jumping-off point, the squadron made its first cruises toward the Antarctic Continent, which it was to discover later the same year after surveys among Pacific islands and a visit to Australia.

After the second penetration of the Antarctic, the squadron rendezvoused in New Zealand in April 1840 to survey Pacific islands northward toward the Hawaiians, where the ships were repaired late in the year. Flying Fish sailed with Peacock to resurvey some of the Samoan, Ellice, Kingsmill, and Pescadore Islands before joining the main body of the squadron on the northwest coast of America in July 1841. Flying Fish made surveys in the Columbia River and around Vancouver, then proceeded to San Francisco, from which the squadron sailed 1 November for the south Pacific. Arriving in the Philippines in mid-January 1842, Flying Fish and the other ships separated to cruise the Sulu Seas, then made a planned redezvous at Singapore in February. Found unfit for further service, Flying Fish was sold there before the squadron sailed for home 26 February."
[Source: Naval Ships, vol 2, p. 423.]

Fram (Roald Amundsen)
Fate: On dry land at the Fram Museum, Oslo, Norway
Franç (Charcot)
Description: Three-masted schooner built specifically for polar work by Gauthier, Senior, at the Saint-Malo shipyards, at a cost of 450,000 gold francs. 150 feet long, 25 foot beam. [Source: Stewart. p. 354]
Fate: It was later sold to Argentina and renamed Austral. It was finally lost on the Rio de la Plata in 1907. [Source: Stewart. p. 354]

Frederick (Fanning-Pendleton) Description: Fate:

Freegift (Fanning-Pendleton) Description: Fate:

Gauss (Von Drygalski)

Description: Named for Prof. Karl F. Gauss, the German mathematician who predicted the position of hte South Magnetic Pole. 164 feet long, 37 feet wide, 650 ton capacity, 1,442 ton displacement. [Source: Stewart, p. 374]
Fate: Sold to Canada. [Source: Stewart, p. 374]
Glacier (Deepfreeze I & II)
Description: Fourth ship of that name. AGB-4. Launched 27 August 1954 at Pascagoula, Mississippi. Maiden voyage Operation Deepfreeze I. December 1955 broke through Ross Sea icepack. Returned to Boston 6 May 1956. Returned to McMurdo 28 October 1956 on Deepfreeze II. January 1947 led two cargo ships into Vincennes Bay (IGY). Deepfreeze 60 (1959-60) to McMurdo. Departed Boston 13 October 1960 on her 6th Antarctic voyage. Departed 8 October 1961 for Deepfreeze 62. Returned to Boston 5 May 1962. Departed Boston 17 September 1962 for Deepfreeze 63. Struck from Navy list 1 July 1966 and transferred to Coast Guard. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 3, p. 102. Photo of ship on p. 103.]
Greenville Victory (Deepfreeze I & II)
Description: T-AK-237 (tanker cargo ship). Launched 28 May 1944 at Los Angeles. Departed Newport, Rhode Island on 16 January 1956 to provision ships of Task Force 43. Replenished TF43 on three other Antarctic deployments 56-57, 57-58 and 60-61. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 3, p. 150.]
Gronland (Dallmann) Description: Fate:

Henderson (Richard Byrd)

Description: DD-785. Second ship of that name. Launched 28 May 1945 at Seattle. Departed 2 December 1946 for Operation High Jump. Returned to San Diego 6 April 1947. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 3, p. 296.]
Hero (Nathaniel Brown Palmer) Description: Fate:

Hersilia (Fanning-Pendleton) Description: Fate:

Hertha (C.A. Larsen)

Description: "1884 Built as sealer/bark HERTHA by Rødsverven (later A/S Framæs mek.Værksted), Sandefjord for Christen Christensen.
1886 Sold to A.J.Freberg (?)
1889 Sold/taken over by A/S Oceana (Chr.Christensen as manager), Sandefjord
1893 Participated in Captain C.A. Larsen's second expedition for finding right whales in the Antarctic. Participants in the expedition beside C.A. Larsen on JASON, was captain Carl Julius Evensen on HERTHA, as well as Captain Morten Pedersen on CASTOR and the supply ship ØRNEN, under command of Captain Carl Englund. Totally abt.100 men. They discovered some new islands and new land such as Foyn Land, Chr. Christensen Island and King Oscar II Land. C.A. Larsen and Søren Andersen did the first skiing on the Antarctic. They found more fossils, but they didn't find any right whales this time either.
1898 Chr.Christensen's son-in-law shipowner Johan Bryde took over as manager of A/S Oceana.
1905 Jean B. Linaae took over the A/S Oceana as manager and HERTHA was upgraded
1909 A/S Oceana liquidated 20/12-1909. The 6 remaining ships: ARIES, CITO, FRANKLIN, FORTUNA, FREMAD and HERTHA, including Gonvig Trankogeri were taken over for kr. 215 000 by a new A/S Oceana with Haldor Virik as manager. The new company did not succeed in making the company profitable, and was liquidated just before the first World War broke out. HERTHA was sold to Russian owners.
Dimensions: L: 117,8' Ð B: 25,3' Ð D: 13,1' (ft)" [Source:] Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.


Huntress (John Davis) Description: Fate:

Huron (John Davis) Description: Fate:

Jacob Rupert (Richard Byrd) Description: Fate:

From Richard Paul Smyers:

"The ship was the 5,645-ton Jacob Rupert, which was transporting supplies and equipment for the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition. The 13-year-old freighter had been leased by Byrd from the United States Shipping Board for one dollar per year and after having been reconditioned at Boston, had left that port on October 11th. The cargo vessel was proceeding to Antarctica in company with the 1874-built Bear of Oakland, a 705-ton ex-U.S. government cutter that was to be Byrd's main exploration vessel. The Jacob Rupert was under the command of Lieutenant W.F. Verleger, USNR. Visible on the ship's after deck is the expedition's largest aircraft, a partially disassembled Curtiss-Wright Condor, which Byrd had named the "William Horlick." The Jacob Rupert was also transporting three smaller aircraft, two Ford snowmobiles, a Cletrac Tractor, and three Citroen vehicles, as well as a sizable yacht for use as a tender. Built in 1920 by Western Pipe & Steel Company, San Francisco, as the West Cabokia, the freighter had spent most of her life transporting lumber. Though not designed for Arctic use, the old steamer proved her worth by successfully delivering Byrd's exploration equipment to the ice and returning through the canal in April of 1935 with most of the machinery still intact. In 1941 the Jacob Rupert was sold to the North Atlantic Transport Company and renamed Cocle. Under this name the vessel was torpedoed and sunk on 12 May 1942 by German submarine U-94, north of the Azore Islands."
Source: Ships of the Panama Canal by James L. Shaw. (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1985), p. 249.

James Caird (Ernest Shackleton)

Fate: On dry land at Dulwich College, London.
James Clark [see also City of New York.]

Jane (James Weddell)

Fate: "In 1829 he was still master of the Jane, but on a passage from Buenos Aires to Gibraltar the Jane leaked so badly that on arrival at Horta, in the Azores, she was condemned and allowed to founder. Weddell and his cargo were transferred to another ship for the passage to England, but this ran aground on the island of Pico, and Weddell survived only by lashing himself to a rock." [Source: Howgego]
&#8212Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.
Jason (Larsen)
Description: "Norwegian whaling vessel laid down in Rødsverven, Norway in 1881. The ship, financed by Norwegian entrepeneur Christen Christensen from Sandefjord, Norway, was noted for its participation in a 1892-1893 Antarctic expedition led by Carl Anton Larsen. Additionally, the vessel was noted for reaching 68°10'S, setting a new record for distance traveled south."
Fate: "The Jason was sold to an Italian company in 1899 and renamed the Stella Polaris."
[Source: Wikipedia]
—Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.

Kainan-Maru (Shirase) Description: Fate:

Koonya (Ernest Shackleton)

Description: Steel steamship, 1093/663 tons. #109641. Built at Grangemouth, UK, as the Yukon. Owned by Union Steamship Co. Lbd 225.0 x 34.2 x 13.2 ft. In 1908, she had towed Sir Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod 1,510 miles from Lyttleton, NZ to the Antarctic Circle and was the first steamer in the Antarctic. [Not so. See entry for Challenger.] She was then employed in the New Zealand and Tasmanian coastal trades. Captain Francis Warner Jackson.
Fate: Sailed from Strahan for Burnie on 3 June 1919 but failed to arrive; wrecked on Sandy Cape, Tasmania, 6 June 1919. Vessel Taviuni sent to search and found her wrecked on Sandy Cape, north west coast Tasmania. All saved. Source: [NH],[#TS2],[DG] (I'm not sure what these indicate. This was provided by Jennifer Stringer.)

Maud (Dundee Whaling Fleet)

Description: "Originally built by T. Tunbull and Sons of Whitby as a sailing ship (a wooden barque), the "Maud" was bought by William Adams of Broughty Ferry in 1883 and converted into a whaling steamer in 1886. She measured 116.7 feet and had a gross tonnage of 298. The "Maud" was a whaler and three successful voyages are recorded in the Dundee Yearbooks for 1889, 1890 and 1891." [Source:]
Fate: "In 1892, she was wrecked at Coutts' Inlet, Davis Strait, a popular whaling area between Greenland and Baffin Island." [Source:]
—Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.

Merrell (Deepfreeze II) Description: Fate:

Merrick (Richard Byrd)

Description: AKA-97. Launched 28 January 1945 at Kearney, New Jersey. Sailed in October 1946 with TG68.1 for Port Hueneme, California, to load cargo for Operation Highjump. Went south 5 December 1946, reached Bay of Whales 15 January 1946, established Little America IV. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 4, p. 335.]
Mirnyy (Bellingshausen) Description: Fate:

Morning (Robert Scott, Ernest Shackleton) Description: Norwegian whaler (barque) built by Svend Foyn and originally named Morgenen. 140 feet in length, 31.4 feet in beam, 16.5 feet in draft. Either 444 or 452 gross tons, depending on source. It was the relief ship, captained by William Colbeck, for Scott's Discovery expedition in 1903. Among those sent back on her was Ernest Shackleton. The ship returned the following year in company with the Terra Nova. It entered service in 1876 in the Arctic whale fishery. After Discovery it was bought by R. Kinnes of Dundee and returned to the Arctic whale fishery. Fate: Foundered off the Faroes/Orkneys enroute to R ussia, 24 December 1915. Only Captain Smith and his second mate survived. [Source: Stewart, p. 670, among others]

Mount Olympus (Richard Byrd)

Description: AGC-8. Launched 3 October 1943 as Eclipse. Renamed Mount Olympus 27 December 1943. Flagship for Operation High Jump. Sailed from Norfolk 2 December 1946. Reached Bay of Whales 16 January 1947. Returned to Norfolk 17 April 1947. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 4, p. 447.]
Nespelen (Deepfreeze I & II)
Description: AOG-55 (gasoline tanker). Launched 10 April 1945 at Savage, Minnesota. Fall-winter 55-56 participated in Operation Deepfreeze. (No mention of other Antarctic cruises.] [Source: Naval Ships, vol 5, p. 48.]

Nimrod (Ernest Shackleton)

"He [Shackleton] looked instead for something he could afford. This turned out to be a grimy, mean little sealer sailing off of Newfoundland, which he could purchase for £5,000. Her name was Nimrod.
Built in Dundee in 1866 of oak, green heart and ironbark, by the firm A. Stephens & Son, Nimrod was a schooner of 334 gross tons and 136 feet. Her boiler and compound engines had been replaced in 1889, but she was under-powered and it was uncertain if she would be able to withstand the pounding fury and incessant storms of the Southern Ocean, not to mention the heavy ice in the Ross Sea. Never the less, Shackleton received a satisfactory inspection report, and bought her in early May [1907].
Source: Riffenburgh, p 122.

Nimrod -- valiant, strong...a tyrant...A great hunter. (O.E.D.)

"The ship [Nimrod] that these three men captained had an even shorter career following the expedition. After serving as a travelling exhibition, Nimrod was sold and began a dreary existence shipping coal. Early on the morning Of 30 January 1919, under the command of a Captain Doran and with a crew of twelve, she was en route from Blyth to Calais when a gale blew her on to the Barber Sands off the Norfolk coast. Her distress signals were seen, but tugs from Yarmouth and lifeboats from Caister could not reach her in the winter darkness and an everincreasing snowstorm. All efforts to get her refloated were prevented by the easterly squalls, and soon, with heavy seas breaking over the top of her, the engine-room was flooded to the tops of the cylinders and the fires in the boilers were doused. One lifeboat was destroyed, but the crew gathered at the other, waiting for a safe opportunity to launch it. But it did not come.
Unable to move to quieter waters, Nimrod continued to be battered and pounded by the heavy seas and violent winds until her back broke and she began to disintegrate. With waves bursting over the decks, the men were unable to launch the boat, and suddenly it was swept off the ship with most of the crew. For the next six hours the mate and boatswain hung on to the keel of the capsized lifeboat before being washed ashore as dawn was breaking, the only two to survive. The rising sun revealed that the noble little hunter of the seas had finally gone to her watery grave.
Source: Riffenburgh, pp 306-07.

Norsel (Giaever) Description: Fate:

North Star (Richard Byrd)

Description: WPG-59. Built 1932 in Seattle for the Department of Interior. Commissioned as a Coast Guard Cutter 15 May 1941. Struck from Navy List 11 July 1945. No mention of Antarctic service. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 5, p. 111.]

"Richard Byrd took the North Star to the Antarctic in 1939 for the U.S. Antarctic Service Expedition. He went to Little America and delivered supplies which included the famous "Snow Cruiser." I believe that he also used the ship to evacuate staff in 1941 when the breakout of war caused the evacuation of both East & West Bases. (Source: Personal Journal of James Glenn Dyer, member of the 1939 U.S. Antarctic Service Expedition 1939-1941 . . . my father)"
—Thanks to John Dyer (e-mail, 16 August 2007)

Northwind (Richard Byrd) Description: Fate:

Northwind (Deepfreeze II) Description: Fate:

Norvegia (Larsen) Description: Fate:

Peacock (Charles Wilkes)

Description: "The second Peacock was laid down at the New York Navy Yard by the government in 1828 and was completed and ready for service 1 November 1828
Departing New York, Peacock sailed to the West Indies on her maiden voyage. From 26 September 1829 to 25 April 1831, the sloop operated with Commodore Elliott's squadron, protecting American ships and encouraging the nation's caribbean [sic] trade.
Returning to Boston 25 April 1831, Peacock departed again 8 March 1832 for the Brazil station, from which she departed some months later with Boxer, on a diplomatic mission to the Far East. Onboard Peacock was Hon. Edmund Roberts, who negotiated a treaty with Siam, the first formal agreement between the United States and an oriental power. The ships then proceeded to Arabia, where Roberts negotiated a treaty with the Sultan of Muscat. Returning to the United States Peacock was laid up at New York 31 May 1834.
The sloop departed New York 25 April 1835 with Enterprise, on her second voyage to the Far East. The squadron delivered the ratified treaties to Siam and Muscat, then visited various ports along the coast of Asia, in efforts to protect American commerce in these waters. Returning to the United States, Peacock was nearly wrecked on a coral reef in the mouth of the Persian Gulf, but pulled free after 61 perilous hours and sailed into Norfolk 2 November 1837 for overhaul.
Peacock next participated in the Wilkes' Exploring Expedition, which departed Hampton Roads 18 August 1838 to explore the south Atlantic and south Pacific oceans. Sailing south until ominous ice forced her withdrawal, Peacock rejoined theexpedition at Valparaiso, Chile. The sloop visited various Pacific islands and then proceeded to the Columbia River, where she struck a shoal 18 July 1841; during the night, heavy tides battered the sloop to pieces." [Source: Naval Ships, vol 5, p. 241.]
Fate: See above.
Penola (Rymill)
Description: A 130-ton Brittany fishing schooner with twin auxiliary screws, it was built in 1905, and bought by Rymill for £3,000. He renamed it Penola, for his home town in Australia. Its rig was altered in the Falklands to one more suited to the ice, but its engine mounting was misalighned. It sailed to the Antarctic from te Falklands.
[Source: Stewart, p. 760]
Fate: The locaton below puts this wreck off the Isle of Bute in western Scotland.
Wreck Name PENOLA
Area Toward point
Location Cowel peninsula. Clyde
Lat (N) 55 51' 43
Long (W) 04 59' 40
Max Depth 1.00
Vessel Type Wooden aux.Schooner
Tonnage 138.00
Length (ft) 106
Beam (ft) 24.1
Draught (ft) 11.6
Year Sank 1940.00
How Sank Collision
Info 1 Shallow but not found
Philippine Sea (Richard Byrd)
Description: CV-47 (Aircraft Carrier). Launched 5 September 1945 at Quincy, Massachusetts. Participated in Operation Highjump 1946-47. [Source: Naval Ships, vol 5, p. 287. Photo of ship on p. 288]

Pine Island (Richard Byrd) Description: Fate:

Polar Star (Dundee Expedition) Description: Fate:

Porpoise (Charles Wilkes)

Fate: Wrecked in the vicinity of the Columbia River. October 1840.

Port of Beaumont (Finn Ronne) Description: Fate:

Pourquoi-Pas? (Charcot) Description: Launched on May 18, 1908.
Fate: Went down during a storm on the night of September 15, 1936, off the coast of Iceland.

Quest (Ernest Shackleton)

Description: The original name of the Quest was Foca I. It was built in 1917 by Erik Lindstöl at Pisor, Norway. Hull constructed of pine and oak. Engine built at Tønsberg, Norway. Source: Geographical Journal, vol 61, no 3, page 227.

". . . a little Norwegian sealer named the Foca I. only 111 feet long, with 24 feet beam and 12 feet depth of hold, schooner rigged, with auxiliary engines and a tonnage considerably less than 200. She was purchased before the end of the year, and renamed the Quest." —Mill, The Life of Sir Ernest Shackleton, pp 269-70.

Rektoria (Hubert Wilkins) Description: Fate:

Relief (Lt Charles Wilkes)

Description: "Relief was laid down in 1835 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and launched 14 September 1836. Designed by Samuel Humphreys, she was built along merchant vessel lines and included trysail mast and gaffsail on all three masts to enable her to work to windward in strong winds. Her hull was pierced for 16 small guns, but she usually carried only four to six 18-pounder and two 12-pounders. In early December 1836, Relief, commanded by Lieutenant Thomas A. Dornin, left Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for Norfolk, Virginia to join the ships assigned to the United States South Sea Surveying and Exploring Expedition. However, that expedition, held up by lack of money, ships, equipment, and trained personnel - and by administrative feuding since its first authorization in 1828 - continued to be delayed until the summer of 1838. During her 19-month wait, Relief remained at Norfolk or engaged in runs along the east coast. On 19 August 1838, the squadron, commanded by Lt. Charles Wilkes, cleared Hampton Roads and set a course for Rio de Janeiro."

Fate: Sold, 27 September 1883.

[Source:] Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.

Resolution (James Cook)

Description: Lower deck length: 110 ft 8 in (33.73 m). Keel: 93 ft 6 in (28.50 m). Maximum beam: 35 ft (11 m). Draft: 13 ft (4.0 m)
Fate: The Resolution was last seen on June 5, 1783 in the Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra.

"The Resolution impressed Cook greatly and he called her "the ship of my choice", the fittest for service of any I have seen". She was 14 months old and her tonnage of 462 . . .

Her dimensions were:—
Lower deck length 110 ft 8 inches;
Keel 93 ft 6 inches;
Maximum beam 35 ft 3-1/2 inches and depth 13 ft l-1/2 inches.

She was fitted out at Deptford with the most advanced navigational aids of the day. . .

The Resolution cost the Admiralty £4,151. It was originally planned that Joseph Banks with an appropriate entourage would sail again with Cook. A heightened waist, an additional upper deck and a raised poop or round house were built to suit Banks, but the ship was found to be top heavy in short sea trials. Under Admiralty instructions, the offending structures were removed. Banks refused to travel under "adverse conditions" and was replaced by Johann Forster and his son, George. The conversion bill had cost a further £6565.

Her complement when she sailed from Plymouth on 13 July 1772 was 112, and this included 20 volunteers from the Endeavour. . .

The Resolution was responsible for some remarkable feats and-was to prove one of the great ships of history. She was the first ship to cross the Antarctic Circle (17 January 1773) and crossed twice more on the voyage. The third crossing on 3 February 1774, was the deepest penetration - Latitude 71° 10' South, Longitude 106° 54' W. As a consequence the Resolution was instrumental in proving Dalrymples Terra Australis Incognita (Southern Continent) to be a myth. On his third voyage, Cook in the Resolution crossed the Arctic Circle on 17 August 1778. Charles Clerke, who took over the command after Cook's tragic death again crossed it on 19 July 1779.

The Resolution was back in England in 1780. She was converted into an armed transport and sailed for the East Indies in March 1781. She was captured by De Suffrens squadron on June 9, 1782. His journal states he was joined by the Sylphide and her prize the Resolution, a ship made famous by the voyages of Captain Cook. After the action at Negapostam, the Resolution was sent to Manila for wood, biscuit and rigging, and to enter any seaman she found there. She sailed on July 22, 1782 and on June 5, 1783 De Suffren expressed a notion that she had either foundered or fallen into the hands of the English and was last seen in the Straits of Sunda. An extract from the Melbourne Argus, February 25, 1879 says that the Resolution ended her days as a Portuguese coal-hulk at Rio de Janeiro, but this is unconfirmed. In the possession of Viscount Galway, a Governor-General of New Zealand, is a ship's figurehead described as that of the Resolution. A photograph of it does not agree with the figurehead depicted in Holmans watercolour."

Sabrina (Balleny)

Description: "...a cutter, the `Sabrina' of fifty-four tons...
[Source:] Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.

Fate: "In a violent storm, the Sabrina is lost with all hands. 1833-34." [Source:] Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.

Schwabenland (Ritscher):

From Richard Paul Smyers:

An 8,188-ton Diesel twin-screw motor ship built as the Schwartzenfels for the shipping company Deutsche Dampfschiffahrts Gesellschaft (known as "Hansa") in 1925. Bought by the German airline Deutsche Luft Hansa, renamed, equipped with a powerful catapult and fitted out as a floating base for the flying boats Luft Hansa used for airmail service across the South Atlantic Ocean. Entered service with the airline in 1934.

In 1936 the Schwabenland served as the floating base for an experimental airmail service across the North Atlantic, from Lisbon, Portugal, to New York City, via the Azores islands. Ten Atlantic crossings were made during this trial period, starting on September 9, 1936, using Dornier Do 18 twin-engined flying boats.

In 1937, together with the newly-built catapult ship Friesentand, the Schwabenland again served as a base ship on the North Atlantic airmail service. From August 8th to November 11, 1937, fourteen flights were made using Dornier Do 18 aircraft, and a new four-engined seaplane, the Blohm & Voss Ha 139.

In 1938 the Schwabenland, along with the Friesenland, again served on the North Atlantic airmail service, using Blohm & Voss Ha 139 aircraft. Twenty-eight flights were made between July 21st and October 10, 1938.

The Schwabenland left Hamburg for the Antarctic on December 17, 1938, with two twin-engined Dornier J II "Wal" (10-Ton) flying boats on board. These two aircraft had previously been used on the South Atlantic mail service. The first shelf ice was sighted on January 19, 1939, when the first of seven photographic and nine exploration flights was made. The ship began its homeward journey on February 15, 1939.

In October 1939 the Schwabenland was turned over to the Luftwaffe, for service in Luftzeuggruppe See at Kiel. In August 1942 the ship was transferred to Tromso, Norway. On March 24, 1944, the Schwabenland was torpedoed near Egersund, Norway, by the British submarine H.M.S. Terrapin, and had to be run aground in Flekkefjord. After being salvaged in May/June 1944, the Schwabenland was damaged on October 4, 1944, during a bombing raid on the German submarine pens at Bergen, Norway, by aircraft of Number 6 Group and Number 8 Group, Royal Air Force Bomber Command.

The ship was never fully repaired, and in February 1945 she became a stores hulk at Oslofjord, then in January 1946 became an accommodation hulk at Oslo-Sandvika. The Schwabenland was scuttled in the Skagerrak on December 31, 1946, with a load of gas munftions.


"Atlantic Mail Pioneers [Part Two]," by Hans Amtmann Aeroplane Monthly, June 1995, Volume 23, Number 6 Pages 36-39.

Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945; The Naval History of World War Two, by Jürgen Rohwer. Third revised English-language edition. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, © 2005. Pages 311 & 363.

"The Interesting History of the Lufthansa Catapult Ships," by Paul Jacobs Article on Internet at:

Lufthansa: An Airline and Its Aircraft, by R. E. G. Davies; illustrated by Mike Machat Paladwr Press, McLean, Virginia, © 1991 Pages 36-39.

Merchant Ships 1944, founded, compiled, drawn and edited by Eric Charles Talbot-Booth; assisted by Sub-Lieutenant E. B. R. Sargent, R.N.V.R. The Macmillan Company, New York, © 1945.

"New Maps of the Antarctic" The Geographical Review, January 1940, Volume XXX, Number 1 Pages 160-162.

Perhaps I should mention that in 1933 the German national airline's name was three words: "Deutsche Luft Hansa." Later the name became just two words: "Deutsche Lufthansa." Also, the Dornier company built several versions of the "Wal" flying boat. Each had a different designation, which sometimes included the weight of the aircraft. For example, three types were: J "Wal", J II "Wal" (8-Ton), J II "Wal" (1O-Ton)"

Scotia (Bruce) Description: Norwegian whaler (named Hekla) bought by William Speirs Bruce in 1901 for use in the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition. Following the expedition, Bruce sold the Scotia in 1905 and she returned to whaling. Fate: The Scotia caught fire and was run aground on Sully Island west of Cardiff during World War I. [Sources: Stewart and]

Sea Gull (Charles Wilkes) Description: Fate:

Sennett (Richard Byrd):

From Richard Paul Smyers:

"The Sennet has the hull number SS-408, which identifies it as the 408th submarine commissioned in the U. S. Navy. The ship's displacement is 1,525 tons when it is on the surface, and 2,415 tons when submerged. It is 311 feet 8 inches long, has a beam of 27 feet 3 inches, and a draft of 15 feet 3 inches. Maximum speed is 20-plus knots on the surface and 8.75 knots submerged. Total complement is 81 officers and men, and the ship's armament is ten 21 inch torpedo tubes, one 5 inch deck gun and one 40mm anti-aircraft gun. The Sennet is a member of the Balao class of submarines."

There is extensive information on the Sennet in two sources: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval History Division, Department of the Navy, 1976 (vol VI, pp 441-442) and Submarines under the Ice by Marion D. Williams (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1998) pp.52-65.

Among the information in these two sources:

Commissioned: 22 August 1944.
From 10 December 1946 to 13 March 1947, Sennet participated in Operation "Highjump," the third Byrd Antarctic Expedition.
Sennet was struck froim the Navy list on 2 December 1968. On 18 May 1973, her hulk was sold to Southern Scrap Material Co. Ltd., New Orlenas, La.
Sir James Clark Ross (Richard Byrd) Description: Fate:

Southern Cross (Borchegrevink) Description: Fate:

USCGC Southwind (WAGB-280) (see Atka)

USNS Southern Cross (Deepfreeze) Description: "This break-bulk freighter re-supplied McMurdo Station during a variety of voyages in the late 1970s and early 1980s as part of the United States Military Sealift Command's fleet. Captain Bjorn Werring, great nephew to the Roald Amundsen, first to the pole in 1911 was the master of the Southern Cross. The classic stick and boom freighter made the first known non-stop voyage from Port Hueneme, Calif (for that matter, likely the first non-stop from the U.S.) to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. See:"

"See also the following citation about a fatal cargo accident aboard the Southern Cross at McMurdo Station, Antarctica:
This marble monument, just below Our Lady of the Snows Shrine, commemorates Boatswain's Mate First Class Raymond Thomas Smith (1944-1982), US Navy Cargo Handling and Port Group, who was fatally injured in a cargo handling accident 6 February 1982 on board USNS Southern Cross at McMurdo."
Fate: Retired in 1984.
--Thanks to Randy C. Bunney

Stancomb Wills (Ernest Shackleton)

Description: 20 feetlong, beam 6feet, draught 2 feet, 3-1/2 inches.

Tancey (Richard Byrd) Description: Fate:

Terra Nova (Robert Scott)

Description: [SEE BELOW]
Fate: "In 1914 Bowring Brothers bought the ship back again for work in Newfoundland and Labrador waters where she continued until 12th September 1943 when she sprang a leak 38 miles off Hollander Island, Greenland and sank without loss of life."

Terror (James Ross)

Fate: Along with Erebus, last seen in Disko Bay, west coast of Greenland, 26 July 1845. It was deserted on 22 April 1848 "having been beset by ice since 12 September 1846." (Howgego)

Towle (Deepfreeze II) Description: Fate:

Tula (Biscoe) Description: Fate:

Uruguay (Otto Nordenskjöld)

Description: A few comments about the Uruguay itself are in order. The corvette and its twin vessel the Paraná were built for the Argentinean navy in 1874 at the famous British shipyard of Laird Bros. of Birkenhead. The Uruguay was 45 meters long with a maximum displacement of 550 tons; the ship was powered by sail and an auxiliary 475-horsepower steam engine. The ship had an illustrious Antarctic career. After the relief of the Nordenskjöld expedition, the Uruguay returned the following season under Captain Ismael Galindez. The Argentineans relieved R. C. Mossman's five-man contingent of William Bruce's Scottish expedition at Laurie Island in the South Orkney Islands as pre-arranged, on 31 December 1904. After relieving Mossman, the ship's party headed south to search for evidence of Jean-Baptiste Charcot's Français expedition. The Uruguay went as far as Wiencke Island, reaching it on 10 January 1905, but missed Charcot's party, which arrived there twenty days later. Bruce's Laurie Island base, a low-lying isthmus flanked by Scotia Bay and Uruguay Cove, became a perpetual meteorological station now named Orcadas under Argentinean sponsorship; beginning in 1906-7 and under the command of Hermelo, the Uruguay served as a store and relief ship for the Laurie Island station.
Fate: One hundred years after the Uruguay's construction, the aging vessel was repaired and restored under the joint auspices of the Armada Argentina and the Departamento de Estudios Hist&aocute;ricos. The ship is now a museum in the port of Buenos Aires.
--Thanks to Michael Rosove.

Vincennes (Lt. Charles Wilkes)

Description: "USS Vincennes (1826) was a 703-ton Boston-class sloop of war in the United States Navy from 1826 to 1865. During her service, Vincennes patrolled the Pacific, explored the Antarctic, and blockaded the Confederate Gulf coast in the Civil War. Named for the Revolutionary War Battle of Vincennes, she was the first U.S. warship to circumnavigate the globe.
Decommissioned once again in 1836, while she underwent remodeling, she was refitted with a light spar deck and declared the flagship of the South Sea Surveying and Exploring Expedition to the Antarctic region. Commanded by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, the expedition sailed from Hampton Roads in August, 1838, and made surveys along the South American coast before making a brief survey of Antarctica in early 1839. Entering into the South Pacific in August and September 1839, her cartographers drafted charts of that area that are still used today.
Following survey operations and other scientific work along the west coast of South America and in the South Pacific during the rest of the year, in late 1839 Vincennes arrived at Sydney, Australia, her base for a pioneering cruise to Antarctica. Between mid-January and mid-February 1840, she operated along the icy coast of the southernmost continent. The coast along which the ship sailed is today known as Wilkes Land, a name given on maps as early as 1841. The remainder of her deployment included visits to the islands of the South Pacific, Hawaii, the Columbia River area, California, Wake Island, the Philippines and South Africa. This third voyage around the world ended at New York in June 1842."

Fate: "Sold, 5 October 1867, at Boston, Massachusetts."

[Source:] Thanks to Jennifer Stringer.

Vostok (Bellingshausen) Description: Fate:

William Scoresby (Hubert Wilkins) Description: Fate:

Williams (Smith, Edward Bransfield) Description: Fate:

Wyandot (Deepfreeze I) Description: Fate:

Wyatt Earp (Lincoln Ellsworth):

Antarctic Ship Wyatt Earp

A vessel of 400 tonnes, built in 1919 as the Fanefjord at Molde, Norway, for the herring fleet. She was built of Norwegian pine and oak, with a length of 135 feet, a width of 29.2 feet and a draft of 14.3 feet. Driven by sails and a Bolinder semi-diesel engine, the ship was capable of seven knots, perhaps reaching nine knots with the sails unfurled, and had a cruising range of 11,000 miles. After the ship was purchased in Norway by Hubert Wilkins for Lincoln Ellsworth's expedition, the accommodations were rebuilt, the rigging moved and metal sheathing and oak planking fitted from the stem to amidships to withstand the Antarctic pack ice. The ship was also given its new name of Wyatt Earp, and sailed under the command of Captain Baard Holth from Bergen, Norway, on Saturday, July 29, 1933, bound for Dunedin, New Zealand, via the Canary Islands and Cape Town, South Africa.

The Wyatt Earp entered Las Palmas in the Canary Islands at 6:30 AM, on Sunday, August 13, 1933, and sailed again at 7:45 PM on Monday, August 14th. She arrived at Cape Town on Tuesday, September 19th, and left there, headed for Dunedin, on Thursday, September 28th. The ship arrived at Dunedin on Friday, November 10th, and sailed for the Bay of Whales in Antarctica on Tuesday, December 5, 1933. The Wyatt Earp entered in the Bay of Whales at mid-day on Sunday, January 7, 1934. The Northrop "Gamma 2B" aircraft Polar Star was landed on the bay ice in the Bay of Whales, assembled and made ready for flight by Wednesday, January 10th. Three test flights were made on January 10th, but the bay ice broke on Friday, January 12th and the Polar Star was seriously damaged. After recovering the aircraft from the broken ice, the Wyatt Earp left the bay for Dunedin on Wednesday, January 17th, arriving there on Sunday, January 28th. The Polar Star was shipped back to the Northrop factory in California on the tanker Texaco South Africa for major repairs. While the aircraft was being rebuilt by Northrop, the Wyatt Earp remained in New Zealand until August, getting overhauled and made ready for the next season.

On Saturday, August 18, 1934, after making a brief stop at Wellington, New Zealand, to take the Polar Star on board, the Wyatt Earp sailed for Dunedin. The ship left Dunedin on Wednesday, September 19th for the Antarctic Peninsula, and a second attempt for a trans-Antarctic flight by the Northrop. The ship arrived at Deception Island at 2:00 PM on Sunday, October 14th. When a connecting rod in the Pratt & Whitney engine of the Polar Star failed, and no spare was available on board, the Wyatt Earp had to sail north to Magallanes, Chile, to pick up a replacement part flown down from the United States. The ship left Deception Island at noon on Wednesday, October 31st and returned with the new connecting rod at 10:00 AM on Saturday, November 17th. Due to the melting of the snow surface at Deception Island, the Northrop had to be moved to a more suitable place for a take-off, so the plane was reloaded on the Wyatt Earp on Tuesday, November 27th. The ship left Deception Island at 1:00 PM on Wednesday, November 28th and moored to the ice shelf at Snow Hill Island on Monday, December 3, 1934. The flight attempt on Thursday, January 3, 1935, turned back due to weather conditions, and at 3:00 PM on Monday, January 21st, the Wyatt Earp left Deception Island and took the Northrop to Montevideo, Uruguay, arriving Saturday, February 2nd. Here the aircraft was stored away and the ship was laid up.

On Friday, October 18, 1935, the Wyatt Earp left Montevideo for Magallanes, Chile. On Monday, October 28th, the ship left Magallanes for the Antarctic where, on Tuesday, November 12th, the Northrop was unloaded at Dundee Island, off the north-east tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. After Lincoln Ellsworth and his pilot, Herbert Hollick-Kenyon, left on the trans-Antarctic flight, radio contact with the aircraft was lost and the Wyatt Earp sailed from Deception Island north to Magallanes, arriving on Thursday, December 5th, to collect a Northrop "Gamma 2D" aircraft loaned by the Texaco Oil Company for a search for the Polar Star. After loading the "Gamma 2D" the ship left Magallanes on Sunday, December 22, 1935, for Charcot Island, where Ellsworth had ordered supplies to be placed, in case the Polar Star was forced down and he and Hollick-Kenyon had to walk out. Thick pack ice slowed the ship on its course to the Bay of Whales, but the Wyatt Earp arrived at the bay on Sunday, January 19, 1936, three days before the ship was supposed to get there, according to Ellsworth's original plans.

As the Polar Star had landed a few miles short of the Bay of Whales, gasoline was flown to the plane by the Northrop "Gamma 2D." Once the Polar Star had been refueled, it was flown the last few miles to the bay and loaded aboard the Wyatt Earp, along with the "Gamma 2D." The ship left the bay on Thursday, January 30, 1936, and steamed to Valparaiso, Chile, arriving there on Monday, March 2, 1936. After a short layover, the Wyatt Earp then went on to the United States, arriving in New York harbor on Sunday, April 19, 1936. On Wednesday, June 17th, the ship sailed from New York, headed for Europe, and arrived at Barrow, England, on Wednesday, July 8th.

In 1938 the Wyatt Earp sailed from Europe to the United States, arriving at the Floyd Bennett Field seaplane base in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday, August 12th. There the ship took on supplies, including two aircraft: a Northrop "Delta 1D" and an Aeronca Model K. At 12:30 PM on Tuesday, August 16th, the ship sailed from the seaplane base, headed for Cape Town, South Africa. The ship put in at Pernambuco, Brazil, on Tuesday, September 13th, for supplies, and then sailed on, arriving at Cape Town on Sunday, October 9th. On Saturday, October 29, 1938, the Wyatt Earp sailed from Cape Town headed for the Antarctic, via the Kerguelen Islands, where the ship arrived on Monday, November 14th. The Wyatt Earp spent three days anchored in Royal Sound while the cylinders of the ship's engine were cleaned. At the same time the ship took on fresh water, while wild rabbits and seals were hunted to add to the fresh meat supply. On Thursday, November 17th, the ship left the Kerguelens for the Antarctic.

Ice was first met on the midnight of Monday, November 21st, and 45 days were spent getting through the thick, unyielding pack ice. The Aeronca floatplane made flights from two isolated patches of open water to scout for the best way through the pack. At one point, while the Wyatt Earp was under way, a spark from the ship's engine set fire to the fabric on the upper surface of the Aeronca's wing. The blaze was quickly put out, but not before a large hole had been burned in the wing. Fortunately this damage was repairable.

On New Year's Day, 1939, Antarctica was sighted, near the outer edge of the Amery Ice Shelf. By Saturday, January 7th, the "Delta" aircraft was assembled and ready for flight, but ice conditions forced the ship to move to a new anchorage on Tuesday, January 10th. The "Delta" made an exploration flight on Wednesday, January 11th, but ice conditions forced the Wyatt Earp to move again. On Saturday, January 14th, Chief Officer Liavaag had his right knee crushed between two pieces of ice, and it was necessary to take him to a proper hospital. Therefore, the Wyatt Earp sailed for Australia and arrived at Hobart, Tasmania, on Saturday, February 4, 1939.

After returning from Ellsworth's last expedition in 1939 the Wyatt Earp was sold to the Australian government. Plans for using the ship for an Australian Antarctic expedition were dropped when World War Two broke out, so the Wyatt Earp was inducted into the Royal Australian Navy and renamed H.M.A.S. Wongala. The Wongala spent the war patrolling Gulf St. Vincent in South Australia, and for two years after the war served as a Sea Scout training ship at Port Adelaide, South Australia. Recommissioned on Monday, November 17, 1947, and again named Wyatt Earp, the ship was scheduled to carry Australia's first postwar Antarctic expedition in December 1947, but owing to a breakdown, departure was delayed until February 1948. In the meantime the ship was refitted with a new Crossley 450-horsepower diesel engine, accomodations were enlarged, radar was installed and a Royal Australian Air Force Vought-Sikorsky Kingfisher floatplane was taken on board.

The Wyatt Earp proved to be too small and slow for the growing needs of the expedition, and again faced retirement. Sold into commercial service, the ship was again named the Wongala. When sold again to other interests, the ship became the Natone and sailed in the east coast potato trade. In January 1959 the Fanefjord / Wyatt Earp / Wongala / Natone struck a rock off Double Island Point, close to Queensland's Fraser Island, and sank. That is where the ship's remains still lie.


Moments of Terror: The Story of Antarctic Aviation, by David Burke New South Wales University Press, Kensington, New South Wales, ©1994 ISBN 0 86840 157 9. Pages 111-114, 116-117, 124, 135, 139-140, 157-164

"My Flight Across Antarctica," by Lincoln Ellsworth. The National Geographic Magazine, July 1936, Volume LXX, Number 1, Pages 1, 2, 6

The Northrop Story 1929-1939, by Richard Sanders Allen. Orion Books, a division of Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, New York, ©1990. ISBN 0-517-56677-X. Pages 51, 52

Polar Extremes: The World of Lincoln Ellsworth, by Beekman H. Pool. University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks, Alaska, © 2002. ISBN 1-889963-43-7. Page 174

The New York Times. Articles in various issues of this newspaper, from July 1933 to February 1939.

--Thanks to Richard Paul Smyers.

Yelcho (Ernest Shackleton)

Description and Fate: THE S.S. YELCHO
DISPLACEMENT: 467 tonnes.

Once Shackleton had arrived back at South Georgia he immediately set about trying to organize the rescue of the 22 men left stranded behind on Elephant Island.
Between 23rd May 1916 and 31st August 1916 he made four attempts to return to Elephant Island and secure their rescue:
Southern Sky (Loaned by English Whaling Co.) 23rd-31st May 1916
Instituto de Pesco No 1 (loaned by the Government of Equador) 10th-16th June 1916
Emma (Sealer, funded by the British Club. Punta Arenas) 12th July-8th August 1916
Yelcho (loaned by the Government of Chile) 25th August-3rd September 1916

Shackleton's first three attempts had failed due to bad weather and adverse ice conditions. By early August 1916 he was desperate to reach his men and was offered a small steam tug by the Chilean Government, the S.S Yelcho. Captained by one Luis Alberto Pardo Villalon.
The Yelcho was totally unsuited for the job in hand, having no Radio, no proper heating system, no electric lighting and no double hull.
This time luck was with Shackleton, as the Yelcho some how managed to find a safe passage through the ice and arrived at a mist covered Elephant Island at around 1:10pm. on August 30th 1916. Shackleton would not risk landing on the island himself and instead stayed on one of the landing boats close enough to the shore to be able to throw packets of cigarettes to the men massed on the shoreline. He insisted that all were evacuated immediately before the ice started to close in again. By 2:10pm all 22 men were safely on board the Yelcho. Once on board food was arranged and many of the men happily chain-smoked having been without any real tobacco for some considerable time. The 23 crew of the Yelcho that fateful day was:
Captain: Luis Alberto Pardo Villalon.
2nd in Command: Leon Aguirre Romero.
Chief Engineer: Jorge L. Valenzuela Mesa.
2nd Engineer: Jose Beltran Gamarra.
Engineers: Nicolas Munoz Molina and Manuel Blackwood.
Firemen: Herbito Cariz Caramo. Juan Vera Jara. Pedro Chaura. Pedro Soto Nunez. Luis Contreras Castro.
Guard: Manuel Ojeda. Ladislao Gallego Trujillo. Hopolito Aries. Jose Leiva Chacon. Antonio Colin Parada.
Foreman: Jose Munoz Tellez.
Blacksmith: Froilan Cabana Rodriguez,
Seamen: Pedro Pairo. Jose del C. Galindo. Florentino Gonzalez Estay. Clodomiro Aguero Soto.
Cabin Boy: Bautista Ibarra Carvajal. So it was that the Yelcho with her crew of 23 and cargo of 25 men from Shackleton's expedition ( McNish, Vincent and McCarthy were already on their way home to England) , headed back to Chile and on 3rd September 1916 stood off Rio Seco whilst Shackleton , always the one to seek publicity, telephoned the Governor of Punta Arenas to forewarn him of their imminent arrival. Shackleton made sure that none of the men shaved or cut their hair ,and that they wore their tattered soot covered clothing . Presumably he wanted the outside world to appreciate just what these men had been through. The welcome they received on arriving at Punta Arenas was unbelievable. Almost the entire population had turned out to welcome them. This was to be nothing compared to the reception they received when the Yelcho arrived at Valparaiso on 27th September. At least 30,000 people thronged around the harbour and nearby streets. Shackleton wrote "Everything that could swim in the way of a boat was out to meet us". The Captain of the Yelcho, Luis Pardo had played a great part in the rescue and was quite rightly honoured in his home country of Chile and also by the British Government. Luis, it seems was a modest man and it is believed that he declined a reward of £25000 (an absolute fortune at the time) from the British Government. He said that he had "simply done his duty". He became a friend of Shackleton, and between 1930-1934 was the Chilean Consul to Liverpool. Quite an honour as at that time Liverpool was the greatest sea-port in Europe if not the world. The Yelcho was retired from active Navy duty in 1945, but was still used as a ship's tender at the Chilean School for Cabin Boys until 1958. In 1962 she was sold off, presumably for scrap. All that remains of the Yelcho today. Her bow rests as a monument at Puerto William, the most Southerly town in Chile. (photo courtesy of Grace Garrett. The plaque below the Yelcho's bow translated from Spanish reads: "Bow of Chilean Navy tugboat "Yelcho" that commanded by 2nd Pilot Don Luis Pardo Villalon, rescued the members of Sir Ernest Shackleton from the H.M.S. Endurance in Elephant Island, Chilean Antarctica. The 30th of August 1916. Donated by the Navy to the city of Punta Arenas 21st May, 1970."
With Thanks to Roy Cockram, Nephew of Charles Green. Captain Ben Garrett and Grace Garrett.


Zéé (Dumont D'Urville) Description: Fate:


From an E-mail received from Antony Bowring, 26 Apr 1997:
Subject: Scott's Ship Terra Nova and other stories!

". . . you ask for further information regarding the fate of the ship after the second Scott Antarctic expedition. The following might therefore be of interest.

SS Terra Nova was a 3 masted wooden sealer of 744 tons gross and 187 feet in length. She had an auxiliary steam engine. Built in 1884 by Alexander Stephen & Sons at their Dundee shipyard in Scotland, she was said to be the last whaler to be built in the port.

From 1885--1893 she was operated by William Stephen & Co. of St John's Newfoundland and worked in the Labrador seal fisheries under the command of Captain Alex Fairweather.

In 1893 she was sold to David Bruce who, the following year sold her on to the Dundee Seal & Whale Fishing Company.

On 5th January 1898 she was sold to Bowring Brothers Limited of Newfoundland who were themselves engaged in the Labrador seal fisheries.

In 1903 the Terra Nova was leased to the British Admiralty to sail with the Morning to McMurdo Sound, Antarctica in order to relieve Scott's Discovery expedition.

From 1906--1909 Terra Nova returned to sealing with Bowring Brothers and in November 1909 she was sold to the Admiralty for Scott's second, ill-fated, Antarctic expedition. She was re-registered as a yacht and flew the White Ensign as Scott was a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. Bowring Brothers gave a donation to the expedition of £500.

In 1914 Bowring Brothers bought the ship back again for work in Newfoundland and Labrador waters where she continued until 12th September 1943 when she sprang a leak 38 miles off Hollander Island, Greenland and sank without loss of life.

Apart from her well recorded history with Scott, Terra Nova was also one of the finest seal fishery vessels in Newfoundland. In 51 seasons she brought in over 850,000 pelts--the third largest number of any sealer. I have to confess, as a member of the Bowring family, I am not particularly proud of the sealing trade. But, in its day, it was considered rather more respectable.

Interestingly, Bowring Brothers of Newfoundland and their British based company C. T. Bowring & Company Limited, owned a number of historic ships.

The Aurora (which took the Australian explorer Douglas Mawson to Antarctica in 1911 and Shackleton to Ross Island in 1914) was also a Bowring ship. Similar to Terra Nova but a bit bigger she was also built by Alexander Stephen of Dundee in 1876. She was lost in 1918 having sailed from Sydney to Iquique, Chile with a cargo of coal.

Viking, also a wooden, steam whaler was built in 1881 at Christiania, Norway by Nylands. In 1882 she was used by Fridtjof Nansen for his first Arctic expedition and was sold to Bowring Brothers in 1904. In 1931 Viking starred in a documentary film called 'The Viking' by the famous early film maker--Varik Frissell. At the completion of filming the ship was torn apart by an explosion 12 miles from Horse Island, White Bay, and sank with the loss of 24 men including Frissell. I believe that the film survived although I have never seen it.

Kite, an auxiliary barque-rigged sealer of 117 feet in length and 280 tons, was built in 1873 in Germany by P. Oltmann and originally named Norwegen. She was owned by Bowring Brothers from 1878--1914. In 1891 Kite sailed from New York with Robert Peary, the American explorer, on board, bound for northern Greenland. In 1918 Kite was wrecked at Cape Rosie with a cargo of codfish.

In 1894 the Falcon (built in Bremerhaven as Gronland in 1872--160 feet long and 458 tons) took Peary again to Greenland with eight Mexican donkeys, two St Bernards, several teams of Eskimo dogs and a number of homing pidgeons! Falcon arrived in Bowdoin Bay, Greenland on 3rd August and anchored in a small natural harbour which Peary named Falcon Bay. The Cliff above the harbour he named Mount Bartlett after Captain Bartlett (one of Bowring Brothers sealing captains and Skipper of the Falcon). Later that same year, Falcon was lost whilst on passage to St John's from Philadelphia with a cargo of coal. She was owned by Bowring Brothers from 1878--1894.

One hundred years later (in 1978), when I was 28 years old, I joined the young British explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, in the planning of the first-ever expedition to circumnavigate the world along a polar axis--by surface travel. The 60,000 mile expedition had need of a ship and I, having spent a number of years at sea on small craft (delivering them for new owners around the world), applied to join the crew. Ranulph explained that, if I could help the expedition find a ship and plan its routing as well as find sponsors so that neither the ship, its crew nor any supplies, dues or other costs would be a burden on the non-existent expedition funds, then I could join the crew myself!

With a family history so closely linked to polar expeditions, I approached the company C. T. Bowring in London. By then it was a massive insurance broking business with just a few ships (all modern bulk carriers). Although it was no longer a family business (it being publicly quoted on the stock exchange) a very few members of the family were still employed by the firm including my father, Peter Bowring, who at about the same time as my involvement with Ranulph Fiennes, became Chairman.

It took nearly two years to persuade the Board of Directors that to embark on a new polar expedition was a worthwhile project for them to become involved in but, in the summer of 1979, I found a 30 year old ship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which was ideal for our 3 year expedition. By chance, she had just finished work on the Labrador seal fisheries--a modern day eqivalent of the Terra Nova, Aurora, etc. The company agreed to buy her on behalf of our Transglobe Expedition. She had been built in 1952 for the shipping company J. Lauritzen who were modern day operators of a fleet of pioneering polar vessels. She was an ice-strengthened motorship of 1,200 tons and 212 feet in length. She had originally been named Kista Dan and was very well known for a history of exploration including a number of voyages with the leader of the first Trans Antarctic expedition in 1956, Sir Vivian Fuchs (who, incidentally, was on the Executive Committee of our expedition). The Kista Dan had also starred in the film 'Hell below Zero' with Alan Ladd.

When I found her in 1979, she had become the Martin Karlsen and was owned by the Karlsen Shipping Company in Halifax. My major written presentation to the Bowring Board was made, coincidentally on the occasion of my father's first Board meeting as Chairman! To avoid nepotism, he withdrew from the meeting when my bid for sponsorship was discussed! Once C.T.Bowring had re-registered her, the name had changed again, this time to Benjamin Bowring (after my great-geat-great-great grandfather) who, as a clock and watchmaker in Exeter, had set off for Newfoundland in 1811 (at the age of 33) on board the 44 ton schooner Charlotte (named after his wife). The Charlotte was the first of the Bowring fleet and, as it turned out, the Benjamin Bowring became thelast. For, while we were at sea during our expedition, C. T. Bowring & Company Limited was taken over by the American company Marsh & Mclennan who sold all the ships except the Benjamin Bowring until after the expedition was over.

At the conclusion of the Transglobe Expedition, in August 1982, the Benjamin Bowring sailed up the Thames to Greenwich with HRH Prince Charles (our Patron) at the helm having completed over 100,000 sea miles!

Ranulph Fiennes and his colleague Charlie Burton, were the first people ever to circumnavigate the world on land, sea, and ice via both Poles. They completed the first ever crossing of the Antarctic in a single season and also of the Arctic Ocean in a single season. They made the first ever transit of the North-West passage in an open (whaler) boat. Ranulph's wife (who was responsible for all the expedition's communications links and ran the mobile base camps) was the first woman ever to visit both Poles and their Jack Russell dog 'Bothy' was the first animal to visit both Poles.

We on the ship had our own adventures and sailed to the southermost navigable waters in Antarctica (the Bay of Whales) and further north than any British ship had previously been (to the north of Spitsbergen). We undertook an extensive scientific programme in all polar waters and played host the NZ government scientists as well as researchers from the University of Southampton.

The story is written up in Ranulph's book 'To the Ends of the Earth' and was filmed (also 'To the Ends of the Earth') by Armand Hammer Productions with an introduction and narration by Richard Burton...."


There were two ships named Hero. One was Palmer's 47 foot sloop and the other is the 125 foot research vessel built by Gamage shipyard in South Bristol, Maine in 1968. This Hero was designed and built from the keel up for Antarctic research. Funded and operated by the National Science Foundation the Hero operated out of Palmer Station from 1968-1984. Hero is located afloat in Newport, Oregon. The ship is privately owned and continues to educate the public about Antarctica . You can take a virtual tour of the ship and read the history at [This website doesn't appear to have anything on the Hero. And the situation of the Hero since receipt of this e-mail has, I believe, changed. --R. Stephenson.]
(14 May 2001)


Charles Lagerbom e-mails to say: "I am currently in the process of compiling an index for The Polar Times and saw your category of Antarctic Ships. Here are some not on your list that I have come across from the pages of The Polar Times (although I have only gotten to the late 1940s at this point)."

Antarctic Maru (renamed from Tonan Maru: Japanese Whaling Ship)
Bahia Aguirre (Argentine Transport that recovered Charcot's lost boat in the Antarctic)
Barkeley Grow (BAE III Seaplane)
NOTE: The Eleanor Bolling was later named the Vamar
HMNZS Endeavour (icebreaker)
Firern (Norwegian whaler)
Frango (Whaling Factory)
Fuji (Japanese Icebreaker)
Gudrun (Norwegian Sealer)
Gribb (Norwegian Whaler)
Irigoyen (Argentine)
Isbjorn (Norwehian Sealer)
Kista Dan (Australian)
Kosmos (Whaling Ship)
Les Eclaireurs (Argentine Antarctic Tour Ship)
Lively (Biscoe Ship)
Magga Dan (Australian)
Neela Dan (Australian)
Odd (Norwegian Whaler)
Ob (Soviet Supply Ship)
Ole Wegger (Norwegian Floating Factory)
RSA (South African Polar Vessel)
Samson (BAE I)
Taranaki (NZ Frigate)
Thala Dan (Australian)
Tordonn (Norwegian Whaler)
Thorshavn (Norwegian Christensen Expedition)
Ulysses (Whaling factory)
Venus (Whaler that made it to 72° South Latitude)
William Horlick (BAE II)
Windward (Whaler)
Yapeyu (Argentine Polar Tourist Ship)
(3 July 2004)

Here is some more Antarctic ship information for you from the pages of the Polar Times. These ships were from an article by Arnt Vikestad entitled "Dodging a German Raider" Polar Times Vol 1 No 14 (June 1942), page 19:

GLOBE OTTE (Norwegian whale catcher; 250-35 gross tonnage; 1400 hp; 13-15 knots) Outran a German raider in the Antarctic during the whaling season of 1941.

OLE WEGGER (Norwegian whale factory ship; 16000 tons dead weight) Captured by a German raider in the Antarctic 1941.

PELAGOS (Norwegian whale factory ship; 16000 tons dead weight) Outran a German raider in the Antarctic 1941.

POL 7 (Norwegian whale catcher; 250-35 gross tonnage; 1400 hp; 13-15 knots) Outran a German raider in the Antarctic during the whaling season of 1941.

SOLGLIMT (Norwegian whale factory ship; 16000 tons dead weight) Captured by a German raider in the Antarctic 1941.

THORARIN (Norwegian whale catcher; 250-35 gross tonnage; 1400 hp; 13-15 knots) Outran a German raider in the Antarctic during the whaling season of 1941.

THORSHAMMER (Norwegian whale catcher; 250-35 gross tonnage; 1400 hp; 13-15 knots) Outran a German raider in the Antarctic during the whaling season of 1941.

(8 December 2004)

Here's some more ship info for you from an article by William Herbert Hobbs "American Antarctic Discoveries, 1819-1940" in the Polar Times Vol 1 No 17 (December 1943) pages 20-22.

WILLIAMS (British brig) commanded by William Smith on an 1820 sealing voyage that discovered the South Shetland Islands.

ESPIRITO SANTO (Argentine sealer) chartered and manned by the British, also in the South Shetland Islands contemporaneous with Williams.

HERSILIA (American big) commanded by Captain J. Sheffield on an 1819 sealing voyage to the South Shetland Islands (Nathaniel Palmer was second-in-command and is credited with making the landfall).

HERO (sloop) commanded by Nathaniel Palmer on the 1820 sealing voyage. 47'3" length; 16'10" breadth; 6'9" depth; 44 + 40/95 tonnage with a mainsail height of 50' (slight depth and high mainsail made it susceptible to being capsized which is a testament to Palmer's sailing abilities).

JAMES MONROE (Surveying sloop) used by Palmer on an 1821 sealing voyage.

(14 March 2005)