Walter Ernest How - (1885-1972)
 - Biographical notes

Able seaman Endurance 1914-17 - 29 at the start of the expedition- 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.

 

Biography

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 The Endurance.

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 bottles.

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 Endurance.

Shackleton described How: "He was a man among men". He died of cancer on the 5th of August 1972 aged 86.

Buenos Aries 1917

Some of the crew of the Endurance photographed in Buenos Aries 1917
picture courtesy Robin Mackenzie- Stornoway Historical Society

 

Other Crew of the Endurance Expedition

Bakewell, William - Able Seaman
Blackborow, Percy - Stowaway (later steward)
Cheetham, Alfred - Third Officer
Clark, Robert S. - Biologist
Crean, Thomas - Second Officer
Green, Charles J. - Cook
Greenstreet, Lionel - First Officer
Holness, Ernest - Fireman/stoker
How, Walter E. - Able Seaman
Hudson, Hubert T. - Navigator
Hurley, James Francis (Frank) - Official Photographer
Hussey, Leonard D. A. - Meteorologist
James, Reginald W. - Physicist
Kerr, A. J. - Second Engineer

Macklin, Dr. Alexander H. - Surgeon
Marston, George E. - Official Artist
McCarthy, Timothy - Able Seaman
McIlroy, Dr. James A. - Surgeon
McLeod, Thomas - Able Seaman
McNish, Henry - Carpenter
Orde-Lees, Thomas  - Motor Expert and Storekeeper
Rickinson, Lewis - First Engineer
Shackleton, Ernest H. - Expedition Leader
Stephenson, William - Fireman/stoker
Vincent, John - Able Seaman
Wild, Frank - Second in Command
Wordie, James M. - Geologist
Worsley, Frank - Captain



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.
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Ernest Shackleton Books and Video

South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition
South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition(1919)
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Shackleton - The Greatest Survival Story of All Time (3-Disc Collector's Edition)
Shackleton
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Kenneth Branagh (2002)
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Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (Large Format)
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (2001)
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The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Expedition (2000)
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Endurance, The Greatest Adventure Story Ever Told, book
Endurance : Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
Alfred Lansing (Preface)
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South with Endurance:
Frank Hurley - official photographer
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South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition, 1914-17
South! Ernest Shackleton
Shackleton's own words
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 Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
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Shackleton's Boat Journey: The narrative of Frank Worsley
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Shackleton
biography by Roland
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The Quest for Frank Wild
biography by Angie Butler
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The Endurance : Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
by Caroline Alexander
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Mrs. Chippy's Last Expedition:
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Shackleton's Forgotten Men
Lennard Bickel
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 Tom Crean an Illustrated Life: Unsung Hero of the Scott & Shackleton Expeditions
Tom Crean: Unsung Hero
biography by Michael Smith
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Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, The True Story of the Endurance Expedition
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Jennifer Armstrong
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