The Quest

Douglas George Jeffrey (1885-1972)
Biographical notes

Lieutenant commander, Navigator and Magnetician
Shackleton - Rowett Expedition Quest 1921-1922

Born: 23 September 1885
 - son of Pastor R Foster Jeffrey of 'Ardlui', Cyprus Park, Bloomfield, (East) Belfast.
3 brothers: Leonard James, Ernest and Robert.

Douglas Jeffrey had been recruited by Shackleton and was aboard the Endurance in preparation for the Imperial Trans Antarctica Expedition that was shortly to depart when war broke out. In August 1914, the Endurance was at Southend when Shackleton after consulting with all the men offered the services of the ship and its crew to the war effort. A telegram was received very quickly from the British Admiralty that consisted of the single word "Proceed".

Jeffrey however made the difficult decision to leave the Endurance and return to the Royal Navy where he served with distinction for the whole of the wartime period.

He returned to serve with Shackleton again for the Quest expedition from 1921-22 as Navigator and Magnetician.

Postcards of pictures taken on the Endurance in July 1914 prior to sailing in early August, though Douglas Jeffrey chose to go to war rather than sail with Shackleton.
Pictures - courtesy of Scott Pittenger


Sept 1898 - Dec 1899
Attended Campbell College, Belfast.

Mercantile Marine - 6 years in square-rigged sail.
Master's Certificate - served in Passenger, General, Cargo & Tank Steamers.
Commanded merchant ships: SS Strathearn, SS Scottish Borderer, SS Scottish Bard, MS Pamir.

1914 - 1918 - Great War
Served with RN throughout WWI - Lieut-Commander, RNR.
Awarded DSO and Reserve Decoration; Croix de Guerre; Order of White Eagle of Serbia; Order of St George of Russia.

1924 - 1939
Served with New England Oil Corporation of Boston.
Marine Superintendent in USA, Venezuela and West Indies.
Lago Petroleum Corporation, Venezuela - Transportation Superintendent.
Pantepec Oil Company and Paraguana Maritime Company.
Hydrographic Survey of Paraguana Coast and Political Agent in Caracas.
On return from South America in March 1928 newspaper work for New York Times and North American Newspaper Alliance.
Representative of Mohawk Aircraft Corporation for Mid-Western States.
Technical Adviser (Navigation) and lectuirer to Aviation & Transportation Inc, Chicago.
Contributed to American magazine Aeronautics and Air Travel News.
Manager, Border Cities Aero Club and 'Dominion' School of Aeronautics, Windsor, Ontario.
Field Engineer and Toronto representative, Border Properties Ltd.
Editor, Canadian Air Review.
Staff of Canadian Power Boating.
Radio and newspaper freelance, Toronto.
Contributed to Sports Weekly, Toronto Saturday Night.
Radio talks on CBC network.
Columnist, Halifax Chronicle.
Columnist and Assistant Editor, Halifax Herald.
Department of Northern Development (Ontario), Trans-Canada Highway.
Department of National Defence, Canada.
Superintendent of Youth Labour Camps.

Organising Secretary, Lanark Constituency Unionist Association: Damhill Lodge, Corehouse, Lanark

1939 - 1945 - Second World War
Served in Royal Canadian Navy.
Commanded: HM Torpedo Boat 050, HMS Thorn, HMS Chagford (Q ship), HMS Gossamer, HMS Hollyhock, HMS Daffodil, HMCS Renard, HMCS Ville de Quebec, HMCS Hamilton, HMCS Tame, HMCS Lauzon.

1939 - 1947 - Staff appointments
Chief Examination Officer, Halifax, NS.
Deputy Senior Officer, Assault Group 'W.1'.
Assistant to Staff Officer, 'Q' to East Indies.
Naval Control Service Officer, Netherlands East Indies.
Canadian Naval Mission, London.

Placed on Retirement List RCN (R), March 1947.

Died 23 March 1972.

From Jenny Rowney, great niece of Douglas Jeffrey.

Douglas Jeffrey

    My great uncle Douglas actually had three brothers ,Leonard, Ernest and my Grandfather Robert Jeffrey.

    As far as I know only my Grandfather produced a male heir hence my Dad who was named after my Great uncle to became another Douglas Jeffrey. My Grandfather was killed in the second world war so I never knew him. My Dad produced three daughters one being me.

    My Great Uncle Douglas I do remember and the last time we met up was when I was Married and living in Queensferry in Scotland as my husband was on mine sweepers up there. He was very keen to see my son who although not a Jeffrey was the next male in the line as I had taken on my husband's surname. I was very young and did not appreciate the amazing life that he had achieved. Even then (1963 ) he was private secretary to Sir Alex Douglas Hume who was the prime minister then.

    My great uncle had promised that my Dad would inherit his medals but by the time my Dad got to his house someone had already taken them. My Dad did find the miniature ones plus the tin Quest mug (which he kept in the bathroom with toothpaste in so a bit rusty) and the Dolphin bell which my uncle had in his cabin. All three which I now have and pictured in this email. Hopefully my sons or grandchildren will treasure them when I have gone as they mean so much to me. So far I have not managed to find out what all the medals were for that he had awarded to him some quite strange and of cause the polar medal is there.

    Hope these notes are of interest Jenny Rowney (nee Jeffrey)

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