Alfred Buchanan Cheetham
(left) with Tom Crean on the Endurance,
Morning - relief ship for the Discovery 1902
Third officer and boatswain
Nova 1910 - 13
Third officer Endurance
The Endurance Expedition
Alf Cheetham was an old
hand on Antarctic expeditions when he joined the Endurance
at the age of 47, he was well known for his positive
attitude and was a popular member of crews on which
While on the Terra Nova
expedition, he had volunteered to help search for Scott
and his missing south pole party, but had been turned
down as he was a married man with children.
Alfred Cheetham was born
in Liverpool, and the family moved to Hull around 1877.
Hull was a great fishing port and he ran away to sea
as a teenager working in the fishing fleet of the North
Sea. He became a merchant navy boatswain working out
of Hull and a Royal Naval Reservist. Alf married Eliza
Sawyer and they produced 13 children.
On return from the Antarctic
he enlisted in the Mercantile Marine and while serving
as second Officer on the S.S. Prunelle on Thursday 22nd
August 1918, at the age of 51, his ship was torpedoed
in the North Sea by a German U-Boat . Alf went down
with the ship.
to in Shackleton's book "South!"
Three emperor penguins
made their appearance in a lead west of the ship
on May 3. They pushed their heads through the young
ice while two of the men were standing by the lead.
The men imitated the emperor's call and walked
slowly, penguin fashion, away from the lead. The
birds in succession made a magnificent leap 3 ft.
clear from the water on to the young ice. Thence
they tobogganed to the bank and followed the men
away from the lead. Their retreat was soon cut off
by a line of men.
"We walk up to them,
talking loudly and assuming a threatening aspect.
Notwithstanding our bad manners, the three birds
turn towards us, bowing ceremoniously. Then, after
a closer inspection, they conclude that we are undesirable
acquaintances and make off across the floe. We head
them off and finally shepherd them close to the
ship, where the frenzied barking of the dogs so
frightens them that they make a determined effort
to break through the line. We seize them. One bird
of philosophic mien goes quietly, led by one flipper.
The others show fight, but all are imprisoned in
an igloo for the night. . . . In the afternoon we
see five emperors in the western lead and capture
one. Kerr and Cheetham
fight a valiant action with two large birds. Kerr
rushes at one, seizes it, and is promptly knocked
down by the angered penguin, which jumps on his
chest before retiring.
Cheetham comes to Kerr's assistance;
and between them they seize another penguin, bind
his bill and lead him, muttering muffled protests,
to the ship like an inebriated old man between two
policemen. He weighs 85 lbs., or 5 lbs. less than
the heaviest emperor captured previously. Kerr and
that he is nothing to the big fellow who escaped
My anxiety, as a
matter of fact, was groundless. I will quote Worsley's
own account of what happened to the Dudley Docker:
"About midnight we lost sight of the
James Caird with the Stancomb Wills in tow, but
not long after saw the light of the James Caird's
compass-lamp, which Sir Ernest was flashing on their
sail as a guide to us. We answered by lighting our
candle under the tent and letting the light shine
through. At the same time we got the direction of
the wind and how we were hauling from my little
pocket-compass, the boat's compass being smashed.
With this candle our poor fellows lit their pipes,
their only solace, as our raging thirst prevented
us from eating anything. By this time we had got
into a bad tide-rip, which, combined with the heavy,
lumpy sea, made it almost impossible to keep the
Dudley Docker from swamping. As it was we shipped
several bad seas over the stern as well as abeam
and over the bows, although we were ‘on a wind.'
Lees, who owned himself to be a rotten oarsman,
made good here by strenuous baling, in which he
was well seconded by Cheetham.
Greenstreet, a splendid fellow, relieved me at the
tiller and helped generally. He and Macklin were
my right and left bowers as stroke-oars throughout.
McLeod and Cheetham
were two good sailors and oars, the former a typical
old deep-sea salt and growler, the latter a pirate
to his finger-tips. In the height of the gale that
was buying matches from me for bottles of champagne,
one bottle per match (too cheap; I should have charged
him two bottles). The champagne is to be paid when
he opens his pub in Hull and I am able to call that
way. . . . We had now had one hundred and eight
hours of toil, tumbling, freezing, and soaking,
with little or no sleep. I think Sir Ernest, Wild,
Greenstreet, and I could say that we had no sleep
at all. Although it was sixteen months since we
had been in a rough sea, only four men were actually
seasick, but several others were off colour. "
A strong south-westerly
wind was blowing on October 20 and the pack was
working. The Endurance was imprisoned securely in
the pool, but our chance might come at any time.
Watches were set so as to be ready for working ship.
Wild and Hudson, Greenstreet and
and Crean, took the deck watches, and the Chief
Engineer and Second Engineer kept watch and watch
with three of the A.B.'s for stokers.
named after Alfred Cheetham
Feature Type: glacier
Description: A small ice tongue
on the E coast of Victoria Land between Lamplugh
Island and Whitmer Peninsula. It projects eastward
into Ross Sea. The tongue appears to be nourished
in part by Davis Glacier and partly by ice draining
from Lamplugh Island and Whitmer Peninsula. First
charted by the BrAE, 1907-09, under Shackleton -
Variant Name(s) - Cheetham
Glacier Tongue, Cheetham Ice Barrier Tongue.
Feature Type: cape
An ice-covered cape forming the NE extremity
of Stuhlinger Ice Piedmont. First charted by members
of the BrAE, 1910-13, who explored this coast in
the location assigned on maps of the ANARE (Thala
Clark, Robert S.
Green, Charles J.
Hudson, Hubert T.
Hurley, James F. (Frank)
Hussey, Leonard D. A.
James, Reginald W.
Kerr, A. J.
Macklin, Dr. Alexander H.
Marston, George E.
McIlroy, Dr. James A.
Motor Expert and Storekeeper
Shackleton, Ernest H.
Second in Command
Wordie, James M.