Capt. Frank Arthur Worsley, DSO OBE RD, Polar Navigator

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Frank Arthur Worsley

Birthplace: Akaroa, New Zealand
Death: Died in Claygate, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry Theophilus Worsley and Georgiana Priscilla Worsley
Husband of Margaret Jane Worsley
Ex-husband of Theodora Cayley Worsley
Brother of Henry "Harry" Worsley

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About Capt. Frank Arthur Worsley, DSO OBE RD, Polar Navigator

The voyage of the James Caird was a small-boat journey from Elephant Island in the South Shetland Islands to South Georgia in the southern Atlantic/Antarctic Ocean, a distance of 800 nautical miles (1,500 km; 920 mi). Undertaken by Sir Ernest Shackleton and five companions, its objective was to obtain rescue for the main body of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–17, stranded on Elephant Island after the loss of its ship Endurance. Polar historians regard the voyage as one of the greatest small-boat journeys ever undertaken.

In October 1915, Endurance had been sunk by the pack ice in the Weddell Sea, leaving Shackleton and his companions adrift on a precarious ice surface. Throughout the duration of their survival, the group drifted northward until April 1916, when the floe on which they had encamped, broke up. They then made their way in the ship's lifeboats to Elephant Island, where Shackleton decided that the most effective means of obtaining rescue would be to sail one of the lifeboats to South Georgia.

Of the three lifeboats, the James Caird was deemed the strongest and most likely to survive the journey. It had been named by Shackleton after Sir James Key Caird, a Dundee jute manufacturer and philanthropist, whose sponsorship had helped finance the expedition. Before its voyage, the boat was strengthened and adapted by ship's carpenter Harry McNish, to withstand the mighty seas of the Southern Ocean. Surviving a series of dangers, including a near capsizing, the boat reached the southern coast of South Georgia after a voyage lasting 16 days. Shackleton and two companions then crossed the island's mountainous interior to reach a whaling station on the northern side. Here he was able to organise the relief of the Elephant Island party, and to return his men home without loss of life. After the end of the First World War, the James Caird was brought back from South Georgia to England, and is now on permanent display at Shackleton's old school, Dulwich College.

Frank Arthur Worsley DSO OBE RD (22 February 1872 – 1 February 1943) was a New Zealand sailor and explorer who served on Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–1916, as captain of the Endurance. He also served in the Royal Navy Reserve during the First World War.

Born in Akaroa, New Zealand, on 22 February 1872, Worsley joined the New Zealand Shipping Company in 1888. He served aboard several vessels running trade routes between New Zealand, England and the South Pacific. While on South Pacific service, he became renowned for his ability to navigate to tiny, remote islands. He joined the Royal Navy Reserve in 1902 and served on HMS Swiftsure for a year before returning to the Merchant Navy. In 1914, he joined the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which aimed to cross the Antarctic continent.

After the expedition's ship Endurance was trapped in ice and wrecked, he and the rest of the expedition sailed three lifeboats to Elephant Island, off the Antarctic Peninsula. From here, he, along with Shackleton and four others, sailed the 22-foot (6.7 m) lifeboat James Caird some 800 miles (1,300 km) across the stormy South Atlantic Ocean, eventually arriving at their intended destination, South Georgia. His navigation skills were crucial to the safe arrival of the James Caird. Shackleton, Worsley and seaman Tom Crean then walked across South Georgia in a 36-hour march to fetch help from Stromness whaling station. He and Shackleton returned to Elephant Island aboard a whaling ship to rescue the remaining members of the expedition.

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Capt. Frank Arthur Worsley, DSO OBE RD, Polar Navigator's Timeline

Akaroa, New Zealand
Age 71
Claygate, Surrey, England, United Kingdom