Pictures of Antarctica
Antarctica Picture | Antarctica Cruise | Facts | History | Boots | Store | Clothes | Whales  | Books | Video | Schools | Forum | Site Map | FIDS / OAE's

Alexander John Henry Kerr (1892-1964) - Biographical notes

History: The Heroic Age | Historical timeline | Geological timeline | Ships of the explorers | Explorers quiz Antarctic Expeditions crew lists and biographies
Explorers: Amundsen Fram pictures | von Bellingshausen - Vostok and Mirny | Borschgrevink - Southern Cross | Bruce - Scotia | Charcot Français Pourquoi-Pas? | Dumont D'Urville - Astrolabe and Zéléé | von Drygalski - Gauss | de Gerlache - Belgica | Mawson Aurora | Nordenskjöld - Antarctic | Ross - Erebus and Terror | Scott: Discovery South Pole The journey to the pole Pictures | Shackleton: Nimrod Endurance Quest
Ebooks: The South Pole - Amundsen | Home of the Blizzard - Mawson | Last Expedition - Scott | South - Shackleton
 
Alexander John Henry Kerr
Engineer Alexander Kerr examines the Lucas deep-sea sounding machine (Shackleton-Rowett Expedition)
from: Frank Wild, Shackletons Last Voyage, William Heinemann, London 1923. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Alexander John Henry Kerr

Second engineer Endurance 1914-17

Chief Engineer Quest- Ernest Shackleton 1921 - 1922

The Endurance Expedition

Alexander Kerr was a quiet man, capable and dependable in his job. Until the stowaway Blackborow was discovered, was the youngest member of the Endurance crew, being just 21 years old on leaving England.

He got on particularly well with the 1st Engineer Rickinson, the two being similar in height, temperament and interests, the two men shared a cubicle on the ship.

Biography

He was born in Ilford, Essex, the son of a ship's master and joined the Royal navy directly from school. He passed his engineering exams and had worked on oil tank steam ships before joining Shackleton's expedition.

On return to England, like several of the other men, Kerr married his sweetheart Lillian within a few months and they settled in East Ham, London. He re-joined the Royal Navy and worked on mine-sweepers in Northern Russia for the duration of the war, afterwards moving with Lillian to his birthplace of Ilford, Essex. They had two children, Jack in 1918 and Eileen in 1920.

He was invited by Shackleton like many on the Endurance expedition to go South once again on the Quest. Kerr accepted the position of First Engineer, though the expedition ended with the death of Shackleton at South Georgia.

On return to England, he joined the Merchant Navy and worked on tug boats in and around the Port of London which avoided the long periods away from home of deep sea voyages. He retired from the sea in 1934 setting himself up in business in Ilford as a wholesaler. He was a founder member of the British Antarctic Club.

Kerr died on Friday 4th December 1964 in hospital in London. It was the year of the 50th reunion of the expedition.

 

References to Robert Clark in Shackleton's book "South!" buy USA   buy UK

  • 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 Cheetham insist that he is nothing to the big fellow who escaped them.

  • At 10 a.m. Hurley and Hudson left for the old camp in order to bring some additional dog-pemmican, since there were no seals to be found near us. Then, as the weather cleared, Worsley and I made a prospect to the west and tried to find a practicable road. A large floe offered a fairly good road for at least another mile to the north-west, and we went back prepared for another move. The weather cleared a little, and after lunch we struck camp. I took Rickenson, Kerr, Wordie, and Hudson as a breakdown gang to pioneer a path among the pressure-ridges. Five dog teams followed. Wild's and Hurley's teams were hitched on to the cutter and they started off in splendid style. They needed to be helped only once; indeed fourteen dogs did as well or even better than eighteen men. The ice was moving beneath and around us as we worked towards the big floe, and where this floe met the smaller ones there was a mass of pressed-up ice, still in motion, with water between the ridges. But it is wonderful what a dozen men can do with picks and shovels. We could cut a road through a pressure-ridge about 14 ft. high in ten minutes and leave a smooth, or comparatively smooth, path for the sledges and teams.

  • A chimney was soon fitted, made by Kerr out of the tin lining of one of the biscuit-cases, and passed through a close-fitting tin grummet sewn into the canvas of the roof just between the keels of the two boats, and the smoke nuisance was soon a thing of the past. Later on, another old oil-drum was made to surround this chimney, so that two pots could be cooked at once on the one stove. Those whose billets were near the stove suffered from the effects of the local thaw caused by its heat, but they were repaid by being able to warm up portions of steak and hooshes left over from previous meals, and even to warm up those of the less fortunate ones, for a consideration. This consisted generally of part of the hoosh or one or two pieces of sugar.

  • Again, later on, one writes: "Now that Wild's window allows a shaft of light to enter our hut, one can begin to ‘see' things inside. Previously one relied upon one's sense of touch, assisted by the remarks from those whose faces were inadvertently trodden on, to guide one to the door. Looking down in the semi-darkness to the far end, one observes two very small smoky flares that dimly illuminate a row of five, endeavouring to make time pass by reading or argument. These are Macklin, Kerr, Wordie, Hudson, and Blackborow—the last two being invalids.

Endurance
Personnel

Summary

Bakewell, William
Able Seaman

Blackborow, Percy
Steward (stowaway)

Cheetham, Alfred
Third Officer

Clark, Robert S.
Biologist

Crean, Thomas
Second Officer

Green, Charles J.
Cook

Greenstreet, Lionel
First Officer

Holness, Ernest
Fireman

How, Walter E.
Able Seaman

Hudson, Hubert T.
Navigator

Hurley, James F. (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

Vincent, John
Able Seaman

Wild, Frank
Second in Command

Wordie, James M.
Geologist

Worsley, Frank
Captain

 
Recommended Books DVD's and VHS

Endurance, The Greatest Adventure Story Ever Told, book
Endurance : Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
Alfred Lansing (Preface)
Buy USA   Buy UK
Free world delivery


South with Endurance:
Frank Hurley - official photographer
Buy USA   Buy UK
Free world delivery

South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition, 1914-17
South! Ernest Shackleton
Shackleton's own words
Buy USA   Buy UK
Free world delivery
Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
Buy USA   Buy UK
Free world delivery

Shackleton's Boat Journey: The narrative of Frank Worsley
Buy USA  Buy UK
Free world delivery

Shackleton
biography by Roland
Huntford
Buy USA   Buy UK
Free world delivery

The Quest for Frank Wild
biography by Angie Butler
USA  UK
Free world delivery

The Endurance : Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
by Caroline Alexander
Buy USA   Buy UK
Free world delivery

Mrs. Chippy's Last Expedition:
The Remarkable Journal of Shackleton's Polar-Bound Cat
Buy USA   Buy UK
Free world delivery

Shackleton's Forgotten Men
Lennard Bickel
Buy USA
   Buy UK
Free world delivery
Tom Crean an Illustrated Life: Unsung Hero of the Scott & Shackleton Expeditions
Tom Crean: Unsung Hero
biography by Michael Smith

Buy USA  Buy UK
Free world delivery
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, The True Story of the Endurance Expedition
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World -
Jennifer Armstrong
for ages 12 and up
Buy USA    Buy UK
Free world delivery
Movies / Documentaries
South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition
South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition (1919)
original footage
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  Buy from Amazon UK DVD
Shackleton - The Greatest Survival Story of All Time (3-Disc Collector's Edition)
Shackleton
dramatization
Kenneth Branagh (2002)
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  Buy from Amazon UK DVD
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (Large Format)
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (2001)
IMAX dramatization
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  Buy from Amazon UK DVD
The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Expedition (2000)
PBS NOVA, dramatization with original footage
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  Buy from Amazon UK DVD
 


Shackleton's 1914-17 Trans-Antarctica Expedition on Twitter - follow us now to get the story 100 years to the day later.  @danthewhaler



Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository


Lonely Planet travel guide Antarctica
Buy from Amazon USA USA  |  Buy from Amazon UK UK
Free world delivery


Frozen Planet
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  |  Buy from Amazon UK DVD


Shackleton
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  |  Buy from Amazon UK DVD


The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Expedition
Dramatization with original footage

Buy from Amazon USA DVD  |  Buy from Amazon UK DVD


Custom Search

Home | Site Map | Pictures | Antarctica Stock Photos | Facts | History | Antarctica Travel | Antarctic Clothing | Video | Books | Calendars
FIDS | Feedback | Buy pictures | Find a trip to Antarctica | Whales | Photography | Women's Winter Boots Sale | Schools | Jewelry

Copyright  ©  2001 Paul Ward  |  copyright issues  |  privacy policy  |