Lewis Raphael Rickinson
The Endurance Expedition
Endurance Endurance 1914-17
Lewis Rickinson had a particular aversion to the cold,
so it seems rather odd that he should volunteer for a trip to Antarctica,
however, he was a good engineer with a good understanding of the still
relatively new and little used internal combustion engines.
He is known also for a good sense of humour, during
a head shaving event on the Endurance, he agreed to have his own head
shaved on the condition that he could shave Shackleton's head first.
He suffered particularly on the voyage to Elephant
Island with salt-water boils and it is thought to have had a mild heart
attack on landing on Elephant Island. In Shackleton's words:
"The blubber-stove was quickly
alight and the cook began to prepare a hot drink. We were labouring
at the boats when I noticed Rickenson turn white and stagger in
the surf. I pulled him out of reach of the water and sent him up
to the stove, which had been placed in the shelter of some rocks.
McIlroy went to him and found that his heart had been tsemporarily
unequal to the strain placed upon it. He was in a bad way and needed
prompt medical attention. There are some men who will do more than
their share of work and who will attempt more than they are physically
able to accomplish. Rickenson was one of these eager souls. He was
suffering, like many other members of the Expedition, from bad salt-water
boils. Our wrists, arms, and legs were attacked. Apparently this
infliction was due to constant soaking with sea-water, the chafing
of wet clothes, and exposure."
Much of Rickinson's time on Elephant Island was spent
in the makeshift hut, (the snuggery) with Blackborow and Hudson, the
other two injured men in the party.
On return from Antarctica, in the First World War
he served in the Royal Navy. Afterwards becoming a Naval Architect and
He died during the Second World War at the age of
62 as Engineer Commander on H.M.S. Pembroke.
References to Lewis Rickinson in Shackleton's
(Shackleton misspells the surname as Rickenson)
- A path over the shattered floes would
be hard to find, and to get the boats into a position of
peril might be disastrous. Rickenson
and Worsley started back for Dump Camp at 7 a.m. to get
some wood and blubber for the fire, and an hour later we
had hoosh, with one biscuit each. 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.
The first consideration, which was even
more important than that of food, was to provide shelter.
The semi-starvation during the drift on the ice-floe, added
to the exposure in the boats, and the inclemencies of the
weather encountered after our landing on Elephant Island,
had left its mark on a good many of them.
Rickenson, who bore up gamely
to the last, collapsed from heart-failure. Blackborow and
Hudson could not move. All were frost-bitten in varying
degrees and their clothes, which had been worn continuously
for six months, were much the worse for wear. The blizzard
which sprang up the day that we landed at Cape Wild lasted
for a fortnight, often blowing at the rate of seventy to
ninety miles an hour, and occasionally reaching even higher
figures. The tents which had lasted so well and endured
so much were torn to ribbons, with the exception of the
square tent occupied by Hurley, James, and Hudson. Sleeping-bags
and clothes were wringing wet, and the physical discomforts
were tending to produce acute mental depression. The two
remaining boats had been turned upside down with one gunwale
resting on the snow, and the other raised about two feet
on rocks and cases, and under these the sailors and some
of the scientists, with the two invalids,
Rickenson and Blackborow, found
head-cover at least. Shelter from the weather and warmth
to dry their clothes was imperative, so Wild hastened the
excavation of the ice-cave in the slope which had been started
before I left.
Rickenson, who was still very weak and ill, but very cheery, obtained
a place in the boat directly above the stove, and the sailors
having lived under the Stancomb Wills for a few days while
she was upside down on the beach, tacitly claimed it as
their own, and flocked up on to its thwarts as one man.
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.