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Tom Crean’s death – The loss of a legend

This image you see below is the last known photograph taken of Tom Crean.

Tom Crean's death - The loss of a legend Tom Crean Book

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 displayed on many occasions.

Tom Crean was suffering from a burst appendix and if treated quickly, it would have been a routine procedure that patients could recover from relatively quickly without any long-term effects, however, the danger of contracting peritonitis, if a burst appendix isn’t attended to quickly, can prove fatal.

No doctor capable of undertaking the operation was available in the Tralee hospital he attended and so he was transferred, via ambulance, in a 70-mile journey to Cork’s Bon Secour hospital where finally his appendix was removed.

Because the operation had been delayed, an infection had developed, and after a week in the hospital, the unheralded hero of three major Antarctic expeditions passed away.
Sadly, he’d contracted peritonitis.

His funeral was the largest Annascaul had ever witnessed as his family, neighbours, friends and no doubt, a number of former colleagues bade farewell to the Irish Giant.

He was laid to rest in Ballinacourty cemetery, not far from his Gortacurraun birthplace, in a family tomb he’d built with his own hands. The inscription on the side of his tomb read
“Home is the Sailor, Home from the Sea” and atop of the tomb lay a ceramic bowl of flowers which arrived via a white Rolls Royce sent by the man whose life he’d saved some 26 years earlier. Evans, who was unable to attend, had arranged by telegraph upon hearing the sad news, for the floral tribute to be sent through Crean’s former Terra Nova colleague, Robert Forde.

It sits there still today, a timeless reminder of the debt of gratitude owed to a man who, on a number of documented occasions, had put the lives of others above his own.

Lieutenant Teddy Evans, who by the time of Crean’s death had been promoted to Admiral Mountevans, owed his life to the Kerryman and he never forgot the historic solo march Crean undertook to save his life, expressing a love for the Irish giant.

Tom Crean's death - The loss of a legend Tom Crean BookTom Crean, who covered more miles on Antarctica than either of his expedition commanders, Scott and Shackleton, had toiled long hours to build his family tomb that lies close to his Annascaul birthplace and he was laid to rest still wearing, around his neck, the holy scapular that he’d worn throughout his life.

His strong faith, it seems, had seen him through a host of perilous and historic journeys most ordinary humans could not have survived.

Read Tom Crean’s full story. You can buy the book at the following link.

Biography of Tom Crean – Crean – The Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero