Walter Ernest How - (1885-1972)
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.
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
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.
Other Crew of the Endurance Expedition
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
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
- I am concentrating on the Polar experiences of the men involved.
Any further information or pictures visitors may have will be gratefully received.
- Paul Ward, webmaster.
What are the chances that my ancestor was an unsung part of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration?
Ernest Shackleton Books and Video
South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition (1919)
original footage - DVD
Kenneth Branagh (2002) - DVD
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (2001)
IMAX dramatization - DVD
The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Expedition (2000)
PBS NOVA, dramatization with original footage - DVD
Endurance : Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
Alfred Lansing (Preface) - Book
South with Endurance: Frank Hurley - official photographer
South! Ernest Shackleton Shackleton's own words
Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
Shackleton's Boat Journey: The narrative of Frank Worsley
biography by Roland
The Quest for Frank Wild, biography by Angie Butler
The Endurance : Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
by Caroline Alexander