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Robert Falcon Scott - Discovery - Crew
British Antarctic Expedition 1901 - 1904
The Discovery Expedition

History: The Heroic Age | Historical timeline | Geological timeline | Ships of the explorers | Explorers quiz Antarctic Expeditions crew lists and biographies
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Ebooks: The South Pole - Amundsen | Home of the Blizzard - Mawson | Last Expedition - Scott | South - Shackleton
Alphabetically

Allan , David S. - Petty officer, 1st class, R.N.
Armitage, Albert B. , Lieutenant R.N.R. - second-in-command and navigator
Baker, John D. - seaman, R.N.
Barne, Michael - Second lieutenant, R.N.
Bernacchi, Louis C. - physicist
Blissett, Arthur Henry - Steward
Bonner - seaman, R.N.
Brett - Cook
Buckridge, Horace Edgar - Laboratory Assistant
Clarke, Charles  - 2nd Cook, R.N.
Clarke - Laboratory Assistant
Crean, Thomas - seaman, R.N.
Cross, Jacob - Petty officer, 1st class, R.N.
Croucher, George Beaver - seaman, R.N.
Dailey, Fred E. - Carpenter, R.N.
Dell, James William - seaman, R.N.
Dellbridge, James H. - Second engineer, R.N.
Dowsett - Steward
Duncan, James - Carpenter's mate, shipwright
Evans - rating, R.N.
Evans, Edgar - Petty officer, 2nd class, R.N.
Feather, Thomas A. - Boatswain (Bosun), R.N.
Ferrar, Hartley T. - geologist
Ford, C. Reginald - Chief Steward / stores officer, R.N.
Handsley, Jesse - seaman R.N.
Hare, Clarence - steward
Heald, William Lofthouse - seaman, R.N.
Hodgson, Thomas Vere - naturalist
Hubert - donkeyman
Joyce, Ernest Edwards Mills - Petty officer, 1st class, R.N.
Kennar, Thomas - Petty officer, 2nd class, R.N.
Koettlitz
, Reginald - Surgeon / doctor
Lashly William - Chief stoker, R.N.
Macfarlane, William - Petty officer, 1st class, R.N.
Mardon - seaman
Masterton - seaman
Miller - sailmaker
Mulock, George F. A. - third lieutenant in charge of holds, stores, provisions and deep sea water analysis.
Page - stoker
Peters - seaman, R.N.
Pilbeam, Arthur - leading seaman, R.N.
Plumley, Frank - stoker
Quartley, Arthur Lester - Leading stoker, R.N.
Roper - Cook
Royds, Charles W. R. - First lieutenant, R.N.
Scott, Gilbert - Steward
Scott, Robert Falcon - Commander, R.N. - Expedition leader
Shackleton, Ernest H. - third lieutenant in charge of holds, stores, provisions and deep sea water analysis.
Sinclair, Robert - seaman
Skelton, Reginald W. - Lieutenant R.N. Chief engineer and photographer,
Smythe, William - Petty officer, 1st class, R.N.
Vince, George T. - seaman, R.N.
Walker - seaman
Waterman - seaman, R.N.
Weller, William Isaac - rating
Whitfield, Thomas - stoker, R.N.
Wild, John R. Frank - seaman
Williamson, Thomas Soulsbury - seaman, R.N.
Wilson, Edward Adrian - Assistant surgeon

Discovery the Ship
Discovery the Expedition


The Discovery in 2005 in Dundee
where she is currently on public display

Photo-Val Vannet - creative commons share and share alike license

Edward Wilson File:ATLNZ 11715.jpeg
Officers of the Discovery: From left: Edward Wilson, Ernest Shackleton, Albert Armitage, Michael Barne, Reginald Koettlitz, Reginald Skelton, Robert Scott, Charles Royds, Louis Bernacchi, Hartley Ferrar, Thomas Hodgson
 - image used courtesy of Alexander Turnbull National Library, New Zealand

Top Right: Plumley.
Back Row: Blissett, Allan, Wild,Croucher, Kennar, Handsley, Lashly, Crean, Dell, Evans, Clarke, Weller.
Middle Row: Pilbeam, Joyce, Williamson, Heald, Cross, Smythe, Scott.
Front Row: Ford, Feather, Armitage, Mulock, Shackleton, Wilson, Skelton, Scott, Royds, Koettlitz, Bernacchi,
Ferrar, Hodgson, Dellbridge, Dailey.
Not shown: Barne, Bonner, Brett, Buckridge, Duncan, Hare, Hubert, McFarlane, Page, Peters, Quartley, Vince,
Walker and Whitfield.

In more detail

bullet denotes other Arctic or Antarctic expeditionary experience, prior to, or following this expedition
number in brackets is age at the start of this expedition - not always completely accurate.

David S. Allan (31) - Petty officer, 1st class, R.N.
Albert Borlace Armitage, Lieutenant R.N.R. - second-in-command and navigator

Navigator - Jackson-Harmsworth Arctic expedition 1894

Known as "The Pilot". His position in the Discovery expedition was a condition imposed by Sir Alfred Harmsworth, who donated the very large sum of 5,000 toward the expedition, Koettlitz (also of the Jackson-Harmworth Expedition) was also included as a member of the expedition in the same manner.

"Armitage was an excellent practical navigator, and of the value of his Polar experience I shall speak late on"
- Scott "The Voyage of the Discovery"

Born 1864 in the Braes of Balquhidder, Perthshire - died 31st October 1943.

John D. Baker (23) - seaman, R.N.

Deserted ship at Port Chalmers, N.Z.

Michael Barne - Second lieutenant, R.N.

Barne was responsible for magnetometry and depth soundings also participating in several sledge journeys making copious notes throughout his three years with the expedition. He was awarded the Polar Medal for his contributions and efforts to the expedition.

Born 15th October 1877 at Sotterly Park, Suffolk - died 31st may 1961, the last surviving member of the Discovery expedition.
Bonner (23) - seaman, R.N.

Joined at Captown, lost his life after Port Chalmers N.Z. on the 21st of December 1901.

Louis C. Bernacchi - physicist

Borchgrevink / Southern Cross expedition over wintering in the hut at Cape Adare.

Only member with Antarctic experience on the Discovery expedition. Bernacchi joined the Discovery at New Zealand as a late replacement for the previous physicist who had left on grounds of ill health.

Born 1876 in Tasmania - died 24th April 1942 in London.

Arthur Henry Blissett (23) - Steward
Brett (35) - Cook

Joined the ship at Port Chalmers, N.Z. as a replacement for Roper, was returned to Lyttelton on board the Morning in 1903.

Buckridge, Horace Edgar - Laboratory Assistant

J
oined at Capetown, returned to Lyttleton on the Morning in March 1903.
Clarke - Laboratory Assistant
Charles Clarke (24) - 2nd Cook, R.N.
Thomas Crean (24) - seaman, R.N.

Able seaman Discovery 1901-04
Petty officer Terra Nova 1910-13
Second officer Endurance 1914-17

Joined the Discovery at Port Chalmers N.Z. from H.M.S. Ringarooma.

Born 20th July 1877 near Annascaul, Ireland - died 27th July 1938, in Cork.

Jacob Cross (26) - Petty officer, 1st class, R.N.

George Beaver Croucher (20) - seaman, R.N.

Joined at Cowes.

Frederick E. Dailey (28) - Carpenter, R.N.

Joined the expedition from H.M.S. Ganges. Apprentice in a wooden shipyard at a time when wooden ships were being replaced by iron and then steel hulled ships. In Antarctica he was responsible for building the Discovery Hut which still stands. A member of Scott's Western Attempt, the Southern Support Party and the Western Depot Party, manhauling and laying depots for others.

Born in Portsmouth.

James William Dell (23)  - seaman, R.N.
James H. Dellbridge (29) - Second engineer, R.N.
Dowsett (23) - Steward

Discharged at Port Chalmers, N.Z. by "mutual consent" ( a less severe form of dismissal) and replaced by Hare.

James Duncan (31) - Carpenter's mate, shipwright

Duncan returned to Lyttelton on board the Morning in 1903

Edgar Evans - Petty officer, 2nd class, R.N.

petty officer Terra Nova 1910-13

Born 1876 at Middleton, Wales - died 17th Feb 1912 with Scott on the return from the South Pole.
Evans (26) - rating, R.N.
Thomas A. Feather (31) - Boatswain (Bosun), R.N.
Hartley Travers Ferrar - geologist

Following graduation in June 1901, Ferrar was appointed geologist to the Discovery Expedition a just month later in July setting sail for Antarctica in the August. He was not an experienced geologist and was not at all well prepared for the work he would encounter in the South though spent much time applying himself to bookwork and study to learn all he could in the time available.

After Shackleton's departure from the expedition he also took over his role of sea-water analysis in addition to being a geologist.

C. Reginald Ford (23) - Chief Steward / stores officer, R.N.
Handsley, Jesse - seaman R.N.

Joined at Port Chalmers
Clarence Hare (21) - steward

Joined the ship at Port Chalmers, N.Z. as a replacement for Dowsett, was returned to Lyttelton on board the Morning in 1903 and re-engaged on June 8th 1904 for the voyage home to England.

Hare was a part of the group that tried to return to the Discovery after getting caught in a blizzard and led to Vince losing his life. He fell asleep and lay covered by snow for around thirty-six hours. Despite this he didn't suffer from frostbite also enduring forty hours without food and sixty without any warm food.

William Lofthouse Heald (25) - Able Seaman, R.N.

Saved Ferrar's life in 1902 when he was in danger of dying of scurvy during a sledge journey.

Born in York.
Thomas Vere Hodgson - naturalist

Thomas Vere Hodgson born in Birmingham, England started his life in business through necessity rather than design. His desire was to qualify in medicine and natural science, though circumstances did not allow this for many years during which he devoted his spare time to scientific study.

At 37 years old when he joined the Discovery expedition Hodgson was one of the oldest members.

Born Birmingham in 1864 - died in 1926
Hubert (35) - donkeyman

The "donkeyman" is the crew member whose job is to deal with the operation and maintenance of any and all assorted machinery other than the main ship's engines. Hubert returned to Lyttelton on board the Morning in 1903

Ernest Edwards Mills Joyce (26)  - Petty officer, 1st class, R.N.

general storeman, dogs, sledges, zoological collections Nimrod 1907-09
member of the Ross Sea party during the Endurance expedition 1914-17

Joined the Discovery at Capetown from H.M.S. Gibraltar

Born 1875 - died 2nd May 1940.

Thomas Kennar (25) - Petty officer, 2nd class, R.N.
Reginald Koettlitz - Surgeon / doctor / botanist

doctor - Jackson-Harmsworth Arctic expedition 1894

The oldest member of the Discovery Expedition, 40 at the time. This was Koettlitz's second polar journey after being the doctor on an earlier Arctic journey. His position in the Discovery expedition was a condition imposed by Sir Alfred Harmsworth, who donated the very large sum of 5000 toward the expedition, Armitage (also of the Jackson-Harmworth Expedition) was also included as a member of the expedition in the same manner.

Born in 1861 in Ostend, Belgium - died, Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1916.

William Lashly (33) - Chief stoker, R.N.

Chief stoker Terra Nova 1910-13, his diary of the expedition was published in 1938-39 by the University of Reading.

Joined the expedition from H.M.S. Duke of Wellington.

Born Hambledon, Hampshire died 12th June 1940 at Hambledon.
Mardon (25) - seaman

Discharged at Cape of Good Hope by "mutual consent" ( a less severe form of dismissal) and replaced by Vince.

Masterton (33) - seaman

Discharged at Cape of Good Hope at his own request, replaced by Sinclair.

William Macfarlane (27) - Petty officer, 1st class, R.N.

Invalided and returned to Lyttelton on board the Morning in 1903.

Miller (36) - sailmaker

Invalided off the ship at Port Chalmers N.Z. before reaching Antarctica

George Francis Arthur Mulock - third lieutenant in charge of holds, stores, provisions and deep sea water analysis.

Replacement for Shackleton in 1903, reached Antarctica on the Morning from New Zealand.

Born February 1882 - died in Gibraltar on 26th December 1963

Page (25) - stoker

Page returned to Lyttelton on board the Morning in 1903

Peters (22) - seaman, R.N.

Peters returned to Lyttelton on board the Morning in 1903

Arthur Pilbeam (23) - leading seaman, R.N.
Frank Plumley (26) - stoker

Plumley joined the Discovery at Cape Town

Arthur Lester Quartley (28) - Leading stoker, R.N.
Roper (23) - Cook

Discharged at Port Chalmers, N.Z. by "mutual consent" (a less severe form of dismissal) and replaced by Brett.

Charles W. R. Royds - First lieutenant, R.N.

Charles Royds was the first lieutenant on the Discovery Expedition, his duties were do with every day running of the ship, dealing with the crew, ensuring they knew what their work was and that they did it correctly.

Born 1876 in Rochdale, Lancashire - died London, 1931
Gilbert Scott (25) - Steward

Scott (not the leader of the expedition) joined the Discovery at Cape Town

Robert Falcon Scott - Commander, R.N. - Expedition leader

expedition leader Terra Nova 1910-13, second expedition to reach the South Pole 1912, perished on the return journey.

The Discovery Expedition was the first encounter with polar exploring that Scott had. He had been in the navy for 18 years and was somewhat restless. A meeting with Clements Markham an advocate of Antarctic exploration and a man who was impressed with Scott is what led to Scott applying for and being given the position of Expedition Leader.

The Discovery Expedition was widely praised for the value of the science that was carried out, though no exploration particularly memorable to the general public took place. On his next trip, Scott was to make a successful bid for the South Pole, though die along with all of his companions on the way back.

Ernest H. Shackleton - third lieutenant in charge of holds, stores, provisions and deep sea water analysis.

expedition leader Nimrod 1907-09
expedition leader Endurance 1914-17
expedition leader Quest 1920-21

Born in County Clare Ireland , Shackleton had a career in the merchant navy in the Pacific before joining the Discovery. He was invalided back to England in the relief ship Morning though went on to organize three trips of his own and become one of the most famous Antarctic explorers. Knighted in 1909.

Sinclair (31) - seaman

Deserted the ship on return to N.Z., his shipmates believed that Sinclair held himself responsible for the death of Bonner.

Reginald W. Skelton - Lieutenant R.N. Chief engineer and photographer

Reginald Skelton had served with Scott aboard the Majestic, Scott's posting immediately prior to the Discovery Expedition when the two men grew to know each other well. Like several others of the officers and crew who joined the Antarctic journey from this ship, Scott was impressed with his manner and abilities. He was hoping to accompany Scott on his 1910-1913 Terra Nova Expedition but was unable to. He returned to the Royal Navy and became an Admiral. He was knighted in 1931.

Born 3rd June 1872 at Long Sutton, Lincolnshire - died 5th September 1956
William Smythe (24) - Petty officer, 1st class, R.N.

Smythe had been demoted to able seaman at Christchurch after going awol (absent without leave) from the ship. He was re-instated to petty officer after the season on Scott's recommendation.

George T. Vince (22) - seaman, R.N.

Joined the Discovery at Cape of Good Hope. Vince lost his life on 11th March 1902 after sliding down a snow slope into McMurdo Sound, his body was never discovered.

Walker (25) - seaman

Walker was returned to Lyttelton on board the Morning in 1903.

Waterman (21) - seaman, R.N.

Invalided off the ship at Port Chalmers N.Z. before reaching Antarctica, replaced by Croucher.

William Isaac Weller (23)  - rating

Joined the Discovery at Lyttleton N.Z.

John R. Frank Wild - seaman

in charge of provisions Nimrod 1907-09
Sledge-master Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-13
second in command Endurance 1914-17

Wild was a direct descendent of Captain Cook through his mother, one uncle had been three times on expeditions to the Arctic. He entered the merchant navy in 1889 and joined the Royal Navy in 1900. He had received a polar medal and clasp for his work on the Discovery expedition and the Royal Geographical Society's silver medal.

Born 10th April 1873, Skelton, Yorkshire - died 20th Aug 1939

Thomas Soulsbury Williamson (24) - Able seaman, R.N.

Petty officer Terra Nova 1910-13.

Joined the Discovery from H.M.S. Pactolus.

Born 1877 Sunderland - died January 1940.
Edward Adrian Wilson - Assistant surgeon

chief of scientific staff and biologist Terra Nova 1910-13

Wilson was by nature more of a field naturalist, but turned to medicine more through necessity. He was regarded as the life and soul of the party during the Discovery expedition. The source of amusements and recreation, always even tempered and cheerful. He was highly regarded by all, possibly best summed by Scott:

"Words must always fail me when I talk of Bill Wilson. I believe he really is the finest character I ever met." - Scott

Born Cheltenham 23rd July 1872 - died with Scott and Bowers in a tent on the way back from the South Pole in March 1912.

Thomas Whitfield (32) - stoker, R.N.


Biographical information - This is a difficult area to research, I am concentrating on the Polar experiences of the men involved. Any further information or pictures visitors may have is gratefully received. Please email  - Paul Ward, webmaster.
What are the chances that my ancestor was an unsung part of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration?


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