An extraordinary Irishman who didn’t like to boast of his extraordinary feats, it is perhaps no surprise that there are many facts about Tom Crean that you may not know.
Want to know some facts about Tom Crean? As a member of three major expeditions to Antarctica which occurred through what was referred to as the ‘Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration’, Tom Crean built his legend through his heroic actions and the extraordinary feats that he completed on them.
Tom Crean became famous in particular for his roles in the Terra Nova and Discovery expeditions which were led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole and also on Ernest Shackleton’s mission onboard the ship Endurance.
The most famous expedition of the three that Tom Crean was involved in was the infamous Terra Nova Expedition (1911-1913) which was led by Robert Falcon Scott. In this article, we will list 10 facts about Tom Crean that you most likely didn’t know.
10. The Albert Medal for Lifesaving – for his role in extraordinary expeditions
Thanks to the miraculous and heroic feats completed by Tom Crean on the three major expeditions he took part in, he was awarded the Albert Medal for Lifesaving.
9. He was a Kerryman – from the Kingdom and proud
Tom Crean was born in Annascaul in County Kerry, the earliest documented date of his birth is 16th February 1877.
8. He was an avid animal lover – one of the best facts about Tom Crean
Tom Crean was an avid animal lover, there is a famous picture of him on one of his expeditions with a clutch of husky pups in his hands and a smile on his face. He even snuck in a pet rabbit with him on the Terra Nova expedition.
7. He spent a whopping 27 years in the navy – he was surely committed
Tom Crean had a long, successful, and distinguished career in the British Royal Navy that lasted for 27 years, until he officially retired in 1920.
6. He had a huge family – coming from good stock
Tom Crean had a big family! He was one of ten children born to a poor farming couple who lived in the small village of Annascaul.
5. He later owned a pub in Kerry – pouring pints for fellow Kerry men and women
In 1927, Tom Crean opened a pub in his native Annascaul called South Pole Inn as a playful nod to his Antarctic exploring days. The pub can still be visited to this day and is full of cool memorabilia.
4. Crean climbed the ranks easily – he had quite the career in the navy
Tom Crean had a distinguished career in the British Royal Navy as he managed to climb the ranks from the lowest level, Boy 2nd class to Chief Petty Officer, and finally to the very well regarded and respected position of Warrant Officer.
3. He passed away aged 61 – a long and eventful life
Tom Crean died on 27th July 1938 at the age of 61 years old. His cause of death was an infection which developed as a result of an operation a week earlier. He was buried in his family’s tomb at the cemetery in Ballynacourty, Corkaguiney, County Kerry.
2. He spent more time in the ice and snow than his more famous explorers – he also outlived them
Tom Crean spent time with both world-famous explorers Captain Robert Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton during his Antarctic expeditions and while not being remembered as famous as them he did spend more time in the ice and snow than either of them, he also went on to outlive both of them.
1. The greatest act of bravery in the history of Antarctic exploration – a legendary Irish explorer
Number one on our list of facts about Tom Crean is that he performed what many say was the greatest single-handed act of bravery in the history of Antarctic exploration when one of his companions, Lt Evans, collapsed 35 miles from safety.
In search of help, Crean courageously volunteered to undertake a hazardous journey across treacherous terrain in sub-zero temperatures with virtually no food and no sleeping bag or tent. His trek for help lasted over 18 hours but was successful and Lt Evans was saved.
That concludes our list of 10 facts about Tom Crean that you most likely didn’t know. Did you happen to know any of them already?
We’d like to give a big thanks to the following excellent resources for their information about Tom Crean:
- Tom Crean – Ice Man: The Adventures of an Irish Antarctic Hero by Michael Smith
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