Great Grandfather Smith

11th October 2009, 16:45
My Aunt tells me my Gt Grandfather was "lost at sea" in 1916. Family legend is that he was on a Merchant ship sent down to Antartica to rescue either Scott or Shackleton? Only other details are, John George Smith born 1882, lived in Sunderland area. Anyone got any ideas how to find out about Gt Grandad?

12th October 2009, 05:36
The Scott rescue would appear to early 1901 - 1904 for the first expedition and 1910 - 1912 for the second one.

Shackleton led the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-16), Shackleton and a few others went over 800 miles for help in a life boat, and eventually returned with various ships to rescued the others.
The ships used for the rescue are Southern Sky, Instituto Pesca and Emma which got stuck in pack ice and returned with out getting through. The Yelcho was the ship that finally made the rescue.

I would look for the crew list for the Southern Sky, Emma and Yelcho. The Instituto Pesca I believe was the Chilean Tug.

24th September 2010, 02:18
As Surfaceblow stated, it was actually the Chilean Navy cutter Yelcho which rescued the whole Endurance crew from Elephant island in South Shetlands, Antarctica. She was under command of 2nd Pilot Luis Pardo and they could get to the place in mid winter, without any navigation aids except for dead reckoning. As far as I know, no man was lost during the transit to and from the island, so i'm afraid your Gt Grandfather was not in that party.

24th September 2010, 16:23

Welcome to the site and thank you for the additional information on the Yelcho I did not know that 2 nd Pilot Luis Pardo was in command of the Chilean Navy Cutter Yelcho.


3rd October 2010, 08:55
Hi Corky.

I wonder if two episodes of your great grandfather's life have gradually become merged over the years and that the Antartica rescue was an earlier episode.

There is a Royal Navy casualty on CWGC that ticks some of the boxes:

Shipwright 2nd Class, RN
Age 34
Died 20/07/1916 (b.1882)
Son of William Edward and Elizabeth Smith, of Sunderland; husband of Elizabeth Ann Smith, of 89, Low Quay, Sunderland.

Here is this man's RN service record:

Born 02 May 1882 in Sunderland.



3rd October 2010, 09:26
Actually, ignore what I said about the two episodes merging. According to the following reference, HMS Glasgow was in the vicinity (Port Stanley) at the time of the rescue of Shackleton's men from Elephant Island.

"South: the Endurance expedition"
Chapter XI - The Rescue

Shipwright John Smith died 20 July 1916. Shackleton's men were rescued 30 August 1916.