Tom Crean - Public domain

Thomas Crean

Tom Crean - Public domain

Thomas Crean (20 July 1877 – 27 July 1938) is one of the greatest Irish explorers in history! Known for his courage and physical exploits, he is more precisely an explorer of the Antarctic. A true adventurer in short, which earned him 3 polar medals, as well as an unfailing reputation!

Biography of Thomas Crean

An adventurer in search of the great white thrill!

Tom Crean is a child of the Irish country. Born in Annascaul in County Kerry, he had high ambitions at a very young age. His dearest wish? Escape, travel… Everything is a pretext to escape from his daily life.

He joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15. Lying about his age to facilitate his admission, he was finally selected to take part in 3 of the 4 great British expeditions to Antarctica during this period :

  • The first two (from 1901 to 1904 on the Discovery and from 1911 to 1913 on the Terra Nova) were led by Robert Scott, whose objective was to reach the South Pole and observe the local ecosystem. During these expeditions, Crean showed great courage by travelling alone more than 56 km across the ice barrier to rescue Edward Evans. This courage earned him the Albert Medal.
  • The third expedition lasted from 1914 to 1916. It was led by Ernest Shackleton on Endurance, and Crean was his second. Unfortunately, the expedition was very difficult, and the crew suffered setbacks. Thus, the Endurance was encircled by the ice pack, drifting for months in the ice, trying to reach Elephant Island, and finally totaling a journey of more than 1500 km in slow motion.

A figure of courage and righteousness, Thomas Crean was rewarded with 3 polar medals. At the end of these expeditions, he returned to the Royal Navy, but interrupted his career in 1920 to return to Annascaul in County Kerry, Ireland.

He then opens a tavern called “South Pole Inn”, which he runs with his wife Ellen Crean. He even decided to create his own beer, Crean’s, which is still served in local Irish pubs in Kerry!

Appeased, and now able to live a calmer life, Thomas Crean will sink happy days in Annascaul until his death in 1938.

He leaves behind the image of a colourful, passionate and courageous adventurer, capable of surpassing his limits for the love of science!



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