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Timeline of Tom Crean

Tom Crean Was Born On This Day

February 16, 1877

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

At Gortacurraun, a townland close to Annascaul, Catherine Crean, nee Courtney, gave birth to a child on 16th February 1877. Church records reveal that the priest, who will have written up numerous church entries at the end of each month, would enter the wrong Christian name for the child born…

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Annascaul when Tom Crean was a child

February 1, 1886

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

The early years of Tom Crean’s life in Annascaul will have mirrored that of other children across Ireland. He attended the local Brackluin School in Annascaul which he would have walked to barefoot – shoes were a luxury for children from more affluent families. Children of tenant farmers like Tom…

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Tom Crean signs up to join the Royal Navy

July 10, 1893

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On this day, 16-yr-old Tom Crean travelled to the pebbled beach of Minard near his home and signed up to join the Royal Navy at the Coastguard Station that saw many other young Kerrymen do the same . HMS Impregnable, the depot ship to which he was first assigned, was…

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Tom Crean aboard HMS Royal Arthur – Blockade of Corinto

April 27, 1895

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On this day, 18 yr-old Tom Crean, who, on his first seagoing assignment was serving on HMS Royal Arthur, the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, entered the port of Corinto along with 300 other Naval ratings. A task force of three ships, HMS Wild Swan, HMS Satellite berthed alongside HMS…

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Tom Crean joins crew of HMS Ringarooma

February 15, 1900

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On February 15th 1900, serving as a Petty Officer 2nd Class, Tom Crean was assigned to HMS Ringarooma. Ringarooma was a ship assigned to the Australia Station He would serve on Ringarooma for almost two years before being recruited to Captain Scott’s ship RSS Discovery on December 10th 1901. The…

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RRS Discovery Tom Crean’s first expedition to Antarctica

December 10, 1901

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On December 10th 1901, Tom Crean carried his holdall aboard RRS Discovery. It would become his first expedition to Antarctica under the leadership of Commander Robert Falcon Scott. He had, by this time, been demoted to the rating Able Seaman after a period that appeared to have been a miserable…

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Discovery Expedition – Tom Crean enters the record books

November 11, 1902

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On 11th November 1902, while serving on the Discovery Expedition, Tom Crean, part of a depot-laying group under the command of Lieutenant Michael Barne achieved the prized record  of reaching ‘farthest south.” The sledging team passed the 78°50’S latitude previously reached by the Norwegian explorer, Carsten Borchgrevink, on 16th February…

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Terra Nova Expedition

June 15, 1910

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

In the years since his return from his first Antarctica Expedition aboard Discovery, Tom Crean was so valued by his commander, Robert Falcon Scott, that he accompanied his Captain on all of his seagoing Naval assignments between September 1906 and March 1909. On June 15th, 1910, he departed Cardiff aboard…

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Tom Crean Rescue – Floe-Hopping Lifesaver

March 1, 1911

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

Tom Crean’s first documented case of life-saving heroics came when he navigated his way between ice floes jumping from one to another whilst surrounded by hungry Killer Whales before scaling mountain glaciers to rescue Apsley Cherry-Gerrard and Bowers, whilst on the Terra Nova expedition with Scott. When he and his…

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Tom Crean’s Lifesaving Solo Trek

February 18, 1912

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On 19th February 1912, at 3:30am, an exhausted, shivering, lone figure entered Hut Point in Antarctica. After undertaking a solo trek through soft snow without skis in a journey he’d commenced the previous day, the man had just completed a 35-mile journey on meagre rations of two biscuits and a…

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Shackleton’s rival for Tom Crean’s services

October 23, 1913

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton had a rival for Tom Crean’s services on the ice as the leader of another proposed expedition to Antarctica had plans to commence at the same time as Shackleton’s Endurance expedition. Staking his claim for Crean, Joseph Foster Stackhouse, who’d announced his plans in October…

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Tom Crean and Winston Churchill

January 23, 1914

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On the 23rd of January 1914, Tom Crean was assigned to HMS Enchantress, the Admiralty yacht often used by Winston Churchill. It would be his last naval posting before he would embark on his third expedition to Antarctica with Shackleton aboard SS Endurance. The luxury yacht was purchased by the…

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Tom Crean sets off to Antarctica aboard Endurance

August 1, 1914

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

Endurance left her berth at the West India Dock on 1st August 1914 and headed for Plymouth before sailing on to South America. Shackleton was at the helm and the Manchester Guardian reported that “alongside the skipper and at the wheel was a hero – Petty Officer Crean, the man…

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Tom Crean Iconic photos taken by Frank Hurley

February 1, 1915

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

The most iconic photos of Tom Crean are the two featured below The images, both taken by Frank Hurley early in 1915, tell stories of their own. Taken in his birth month of February, the image of Crean in his twin peaked hat depicts a man of determination, a tough,…

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Endurance – Lost to the Ice

November 21, 1915

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

Although the order to abandon Endurance was given by Shackleton on 27th October 1915, the ship sunk to her icy grave on the 21st November but not before all necessary supplies had been retrieved by the men who were now camping on the ice. Frequent forays back to Endurance, the…

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Stancombe Wills the boat Tom Crean skippered

April 9, 1916

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On 9th April 1916, Crean took control of the Stancombe Wills on a perilous journey to Elephant Island. It was the smallest of the three lifeboats that were launched and was, subsequently, the most difficult to navigate. The task of skippering the smallest lifeboat had originally fell to Hubert Hudson…

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Reaching Elephant Island

April 19, 1916

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On 17th April 1916, the three lifeboats that proved vital to the survival of the crew of Shackleton’s failed expedition to traverse Antarctica, reached the relative safety of Elephant Island. It would become home for 22 of the 28 men crew for the next four and a half months. Two…

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Journey of the James Caird lifeboat

April 24, 1916

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

One of the most astonishing feats in history got underway this day when Ernest Shackleton, Tom Crean, Frank Worsley, Tim McCarthy, Harry McNish and John Vincent, set off in the adapted lifeboat, the James Caird, in an attempt to rescue their colleagues who can be seen below waving them off…

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The Crossing of South Georgia

May 19, 1916

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On this day Crean, Shackleton, and Worsley set out on a desperate mission to reach civilisation and with it, they hoped, an opportunity to rescue their 25 colleagues, 22 of them stranded on Elephant Island. Ahead of them the crossing of South Georgia was a daunting task and for good…

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South Georgia – Crean, Shackleton and Worsley reach Stromness

May 20, 1916

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

After a gruelling, energy-sapping, thirty-six hour trek over the perilous mountains of South Georgia, the heavily-bearded, raggedy, weather-beaten trio staggered into Stromness, where they encountered two young children, later revealed to be the daughters of the whaling station manager. The children immediately turned and fled as if they’d just happened…

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The Rescue – Tom Crean at the Falkland Islands

May 31, 1916

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On this day at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, after the first failed attempt to rescue the stranded men from Elephant Island, Tom Crean was met and greeted by a fellow Kerryman, Tralee-born Daniel John O’Sullivan, as he disembarked the whaler, the Southern Sky. The Southern Sky wasn’t able to…

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Failure of the second and third rescue attempts

June 17, 1916

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

After an offer had been received and accepted from the Uruguayan government to provide a trawler, Instituto De Pesca No.1, the second rescue attempt got underway on 17th June, a week after her arrival in the Falklands on 10th June. Again, within twenty miles of reaching the island, the trawler had…

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Tom Crean and the Final Act of Rescue on Yelcho

August 30, 1916

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On this day, the culmination of the greatest tale of rescue and survival you could ever imagine was being played out on the Southern Ocean as the Chilean ship, Yelcho, approached Elephant Island, watched by the 22 men who’d undergone 126 days of unimaginable hardships and deprivation. Onboard the rescue…

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Tom Crean and the mystery of Sierra Leone

February 14, 1917

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

Shortly after his return from Endurance, Crean was specially promoted to Acting Boatswain on 27th December 1916 for his services on the TransAntarctic Expedition with Shackleton. Naval records confirm that, after the New Year, he was aboard the flagship of the North Atlantic cruiser fleet, HMS King Alfred, and left…

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Tom Crean’s marriage

May 9, 1917

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On 5th September Tom Crean’s marriage to Ellen Herlihy, daughter of Patrick Herlihy, a former Annascaul publican, took place in Annascaul. Their wedding at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Annascaul, was well attended by family and friends and among the wedding gifts was a silver tea set sent…

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German High Seas Fleet – Tom Crean present at the surrender

November 14, 1918

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

Tom Crean joined the crew of HMS Inflexible on 14th November 1918 as she headed out to meet the German High Seas Fleet It was three days after the end of the First World War and Crean, now promoted to a Warrant Officer, was in charge of quarterdeck duties as…

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Tom Crean in the Arctic

September 27, 1919

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On 27th September 1919, Tom Crean was returning home from Russia on HMS Fox. It’s perhaps strange to think of Tom Crean in the Arctic after earning his reputation as an Antarctic veteran but the well-travelled Kerryman did indeed serve in the cold climes of the Northern Hemisphere. He is…

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Retired – Tom Crean leaves the Royal Navy

March 24, 1920

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

Taken in February 1920, a month before Tom Crean retired, this image, unseen by the current generation until I rediscovered it in a news clipping and included it in the book, shows Tom Crean at the beginning of an eventful two months that began with his admission to hospital just…

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1924 – A devastating year for Tom Crean

December 8, 1924

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

The years since Tom Crean’s retirement had not been kind to him yet 1924 was one that would bring about devastating losses from which true recovery would never be possible even for a man famed for overcoming difficulties and barriers.. The hardships Tom Crean overcame over the course of three…

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South Pole Inn

September 20, 1929

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

In 1929, Tom Crean built upon the foundations of the existing licensed premises he’d operated since receiving his license to sell wines, beers, cider and spirits in 1917. It became the South Pole Inn, a two-storey building which today welcomes visitors from all over the world to the former home…

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Tom Crean’s breakfast “I’d have eaten a slice of your arse too where I’d been”

September 26, 1933

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

On days when the mood took him, Crean would sit chatting with patrons for hours. His presence and the thrill of being in his good company must have been a draw for those stepping through the doors of the South Pole Inn. One insight into the humour and wit of…

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Tom Crean’s death – The loss of a legend

July 27, 1938

Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

This image you see below is the last known photograph taken of Tom Crean. 80 years ago to this day, Ireland’s forgotten Hero passed away. In a sad twist of fate, when his own hour of need arrived, there was no one available with the life-saving skills he himself had…

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Timeline of Tom Crean Tom Crean Book

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