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William H. Stephenson (1889 - 1953) - Biographical Notes

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William H. Stephenson

Fireman Endurance 1914-17

 

 

The Endurance Expedition

William Stephenson was the senior stoker on board the Endurance (fireman in the days of steam engines meant someone who kept fires going rather than someone who put them out), his task was to to tend the engine boiler and ensure there was enough steam to power the engines. When the Endurance was crushed therefore, his job as well as that of his mate Holness, came to an end.

It is somewhat unclear why Stephenson and Holness were not recommended for Polar Medals by Shackleton on return to England. Only four of the crew were not given Polar Medals, the other two being McNish and Vincent for whom there were reasons of a lack of loyalty and breaches of discipline that are understandable. It is generally thought that for whatever reason, Shackleton decided that Stephenson and Holness did not come up to the standards that he expected. It does seem intriguing though that they happened to be the two men whose direct jobs quite clearly ended with the Endurance, perhaps it was unclear as to what their roles were following that event?

 

Biography

William Stephenson was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England, he had been a trawlerman on the fishing boats sailing out of Hull, Grimsby and Bridlington.

There is little known about him, either prior to, or after the Endurance expedition. He had been a Royal marine in the Chatham division, and had been an officers servant.

After the expedition, he is assumed to have returned to Hull and carried on his previous job working on trawlers. The next record of him is that he died of cancer, in a Hull hospital aged 64 in 1953.

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

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

 
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.
What are the chances that my ancestor was an unsung part of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration?
 
Recommended Books DVD's and VHS

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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The Quest for Frank Wild
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The Endurance : Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
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Mrs. Chippy's Last Expedition:
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Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, The True Story of the Endurance Expedition
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Movies / Documentaries
South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition
South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition (1919)
original footage
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Shackleton - The Greatest Survival Story of All Time (3-Disc Collector's Edition)
Shackleton
dramatization
Kenneth Branagh (2002)
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Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (Large Format)
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (2001)
IMAX dramatization
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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
 


Cool Antarctica Store - Pictures, Shirts, Calendars, Cards etc.



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Lonely Planet travel guide Antarctica
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Frozen Planet
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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


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