Endurance 1914-17- Known as "Ernie"
The Endurance Expedition
It is thought that Walter How was chosen for the
expedition not only for his abilities as an Able Seaman, but also
for his artistic talents. There was an official expedition artist in
Marston, but How also had a natural artistic flair which would have
been attractive to the publicity-minded Shackleton. How was no
newcomer to polar conditions having worked in the sub-Arctic with
the Canadian Auxiliary Survey Ship.
How was responsible along with Bakewell for
smuggling aboard Perce Blackborow, and hiding him on the Endurance.
Ernie How was born in the Bermondsey district of
London, England on Christmas Day 1885. He went to sea at the age of
12 serving on many sailing ships. He had married Helen Varey in
1913, his first daughter was only six weeks old when How set sail on
On return to England after the expedition, How
joined the Merchant Navy, he was blinded in one eye when his ship
hit a German mine. He was awarded two War Medals. After the war
returned to London where by necessity he took on a number of varied
jobs from making lampshades to painting and decorating. He had a
particular skill for making models of sailing ships and ships in
Like many other of the Endurance men, he was due to take part in
Shackleton's last expedition aboard the "Quest" though withdrew on
the death of his father just before the Quest sailed from Plymouth.
While his pictures never featured in earlier accounts of the voyage,
How did provide some illustrations for Margery and James Fishers
book "Shackleton" first published in 1957.
How regularly attended the Antarctic dinners and reunions of his
Endurance comrades and was particularly friendly with Bakewell and
Greenstreet. On the 2nd of October 1968 along with Greenstreet and
Green who formed the last 3 surviving Endurance he went to
Portsmouth to celebrate the commissioning of the Royal Navy's latest
Antarctic survey ship H.M.S. Endurance. He was present again in
October 1970 to welcome the ship back from its long visit to
Antarctica. The ship had a compliment of 12 officers, 106 men and
two helicopters, rather different to the 28 men of Shackleton's
Shackleton described How: "He was a man among men". He died of
cancer on the 5th of August 1972 aged 86.
Some of the crew of the Endurance
photographed in Buenos Aries 1917
Robin Mackenzie -
Stornoway Historical Society
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.