Today we remember Tom Crean who died on this day, 1938.
Tom Crean, nicknamed "The Irish Giant" was a hardy Irish seaman and Antarctic explorer from County Kerry. After an argument with his Dad he left his family home when he was 15, lied about his age and joined the British Navy. He quickly impressed and took part in major trips in discovery of the Antarctic. During which, Crean traveled 35 statute miles (56 km) solo walk across the Ross Ice Shelf to save the life of Edward Evans.
On another trip, after his ship Endurance became beset in the pack ice and sank, he was a participant in a dramatic series of events including months spent drifting on the ice, a journey in lifeboats to Elephant Island, and an open boat journey of 800 nautical miles (1,500 km) from Elephant Island to South Georgia. Upon reaching South Georgia, Crean was one of the party of three which undertook the first land crossing of the island, without maps or proper mountaineering equipment to get aid.
Crean's contributions to these expeditions sealed his reputation as a tough and dependable polar traveler, and earned him a total of three Polar medals. After the Endurance expedition he returned to the Navy for WW1 and when his naval career ended in 1920 he moved back to County Kerry.
Crean and his wife opened a small pub in Annascaul called the South Pole Inn. He was said to be an extremely modest man - putting his medals away, never talking about his achievements and never giving press interviews. "He put his medals and his sword in a box and that was that," one of his daughters, Eileen, said years later. "He was a very humble man."
After enduring some of the harshest conditions known to man, Crean succumbed to appendicitis on this day, 1938. He was 63. He was buried in the family plot in Ballynacourty. Until recent times, he was almost the forgotten man of the Antarctic expeditions - until recently.
Guinness made this TV ad in his memory - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eXf93CEI4t0 and since then his trademark jumper (like the one he is wearing here) is now being made and branded the Tom Crean jumper.