The reason Tom Crean Discovery exists, is simply to introduce those that do not know of the man and his exploits, to the wonderful story of Irelands Antarctic warrior. Among the main aims of the website, is for it to be an introduction to the Tom Crean story, and for it to act as a hub for all available information and materials relating to him, and to duly feature or link to this data.
The story of Tom Crean’s heroics is merely glossed over on the website, with the omission of much of the finer details. It is highly recommended that anyone who wants to know the full story of Tom Crean, should read Michael Smith’s excellent biography – An Unsung Hero, Tom Crean – Antarctic Survivor.
On first reading this book I was astounded that I had never before heard of the heroics of the man, despite having read about both Scott’s and Shackleton’s expeditions. Even more remarkable was the scale of Crean’s heroic saga.
Had the book been a tome of fiction, it could easily have been dismissed as too far fetched, and so highly improbable, as to border upon the ridiculous. But it is a true story of a real man, who’s tale was almost lost to history, were it not for the ambition, and excellent research of Michael Smith, who plucked the story from obscurity, and preserved it for us. For this we owe Michael Smith a debt of gratitude.
The Tom Crean story is a story of courage and compassion. It is a story of a man who happened to be from Ireland, a man who would put his own life on the line, on several occasions, in the most unforgiving and impossible of circumstances, whilst serving in the British Navy, to save his comrades and friends. It is a story of a man, who would embark upon a voyage of over 800 miles, across the worlds most violent waters, the Weddell Sea, in a lifeboat, with five other men, in an effort to save their 22 companions, on the same day that thousands of miles away, his fellow countrymen took up arms against their British oppressors.
The names of the men of the 1916 rebellion are rightly amongst the most prominent in the annals of Irish history, but the battle fought by Irish men on the Weddell Sea, on the same day – Tom Crean, Ernest Shackleton and Timothy McCarthy, have long been shamefully been ignored.
Robert Falcon Scott is a British hero, for his endeavour in Antarctic exploration, despite the fact that he tragically died with four of his companions, on the Terra Nova expedition. Tom Crean is a little known Irishman who would not only survive the expedition, but had accompanied Scott to within 150 miles of the Pole, before Scott chose not to select Crean for the final leg of the gruelling trek.
On the return trip Tom Crean would volunteer to march alone into the Antarctic whiteness, on a solo trek of 35 miles to save his dying friend, Teddy Evans. This effort came at the end of a 1,500 mile return march, hauling a sledge in harness, in the unforgiving and brutal Antarctic climate. Crean somehow completed the course in 18 hours, and saved the life of Evans, and that of Lashly who stayed behind to care for him.
In Greece they named the Marathon in honour of a 26.2 mile dash. In Ireland we somehow chose not to remember the exploits of Tom Crean.
So if you use this site, please share its content and help spread the wonderful story of Ireland’s Antarctic Hero – Tom Crean.