Irishmen on the Terra Nova and Nimrod

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 3 (May/Jun 2006), Letters, Letters, Volume 14


—Your issue of Jan./Feb. 2006 contained a letter from A. J. Lenehanin which he discussed the number of Irishmen serving with Capt. R. F.Scott’s 1910 Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic. He stated thatthere were four in all and named two. For your information the othertwo were Titus Oates, who walked out to his death on the way back fromthe Pole, and Mortimer McCarthy, a seaman on the Terra Nova. McCarthysubsequently emigrated to Lyttleton, New Zealand, and lived there forthe rest of his life. I went to school with his sons. It is of interestto compare Capt. Scott’s expedition with Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1907Nimrod expedition, on which there were also four Irishmen: D. Donovanfrom Cork; H. J. L. Dunlop from Belfast; Sir Ernest himself fromKilkea; and H. McGowan from Seago, Co. Armagh. On this expedition therewere 24 Englishmen, six Scots, five New Zealanders, four Australians,two Welsh, two Indians, and one each from Canada and the ChannelIslands. The same small number of Irishmen in each expedition isinteresting and could be for some other reason than likes ordislikes.

—Yours etc.,

PS: My father was one of the six Scots on the Nimrod, and his uncle was one of the four Irishmen.


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