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Tom Crean and Winston Churchill

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 Royal Navy for members of the Admiralty Board and the First Lord.

No First Lord took to the luxurious steam yacht like Winston Churchill did and in February 1914 just 5 months before the outbreak of the first world war, Churchill was onboard inspecting the vessel’s recent refit, 11 years after its 1903 launch.

Dated 8th February 1914, in an excerpt from a letter written to his wife whilst aboard the ship, he wrote:

“The Enchantress has been very well refitted. The forecastle deck is finished and makes her a much better sea boat. The fore and aft bridge gives a splendid promenade of 49 paces…..everything is spotless.”

Among its compliment of 196 crew members on the day Churchill wrote the above correspondence, was Chief Petty Officer Tom Crean. It was to be Crean’s last home waters Naval posting before being ledgered to HMS President. 

Thereafter, he embarked on the Imperial Antarctic Expedition as Shackleton’s second officer aboard Endurance which left Plymouth on August 8th 1914.

You can read more about HMS Enchantress here

To read Tom Crean’s full story, the book can be purchased at the following link.

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