RV TOM CREAN
Not sure what my grandfather would make of all this continuing media exposure of him. My Mam (his youngest daughter, Eileen) always spoke of her fondest memories of him as a loving father and a quiet West Kerryman who, despite all his adventures and achievements shied away from publicity. The Irish Institute of the Marine have deemed it appropriate to name their latest research vessel after him, an honour which I think he would be incredibly pleased with. Most Irish people will be familiar with his three expeditions to Antarctica at the beginning years of the 20th century – twice with Scott and once with Shackleton. However, many people will not
be aware of the enormous scientific element of each expedition. Whilst the expeditions were publicly about the fame and glory of the British Empire it is a fact the expeditions contained a large number of scientists. Teams of scientists were an integral part of each expedition and a substantial part of the expedition funding came from sources for scientific research.Though not a scientist Tom was always eager to be part of and to learn about the scientific studies being undertaken. As an example, the Discovery Expedition records show that in Feb. 1902 Tom was chosen to support the scientists Bernacchi and Armitage on the first
scientific sledging journey to determine where the Ice Barrier meets the land. Later, Tom and the five other members of this team were the first recorded party to spend Christmas day on the Antarctic land mass. To mark the occasion the six men crowded into a three-man tent and had a “concert” fuelled by a bottle of port. It is recorded that Tom was happy to contribute several songs on this occasion. It is also recorded that he was chosen for other scientific and exploratory work throughout all three expeditions. As always, we his family are continually awed by him and his achievements. We hold him in the highest esteem and while none of us will ever come even close to what he achieved we are content to remain in his shadow and memory. We are delighted that the Irish Marine Institute has bestowed this honour on him.
Aileen Crean D’Arcy
RV TOM CREAN