The Crew

Shackleton washing Query on deck. Quest had two mascots, Query the dog and Questie the cat
Image ©SPRI

Eight shipmates from the Endurance Expedition signed up, keen to return to polar waters, forming the core of the expedition. There were thousands of applicants for the remaining places; such was Shackleton’s fame by now.

Very rough weather was experienced in the Bay of Biscay along with a ’nasty knock’ in the engine, forcing a detour to Lisbon then Madeira. Here photographer John Mason and Scout Mooney, who had been overcome by seasickness, had to leave the expedition.

Back at sea conditions did not improve, James Marr wrote,

‘…the waves were averaging between 30 and 40ft high. Many were over 40ft. The boss told me that he had been at sea nearly thirty years and had never seen a gale maintained so long and with such intensity.’
Sir Ernest Shackleton with the crew of the Quest
Image ©National Portrait Gallery
  • Argles, Harold Arthur:  Stoker, joined at Rio de Janeiro
  • Carr, C. Roderick, Major: Pilot, assisted with scientific work as the sea-plane was unserviceable
  • Dell, James William: Electrician, Boatswain
  • Douglas, George Vibert: Geologist
  • Eriksen A.: Harpoon Expert, left at Rio de Janeiro
  • Green, Charles John Cook: (ex Endurance)
  • Hussey, Leonard Duncan Albert: Meteorologist, Assistant Surgeon (ex Endurance)
  • Jeffrey, Douglas George: Lieutenant Commander, Navigator and Magnetician
  • Kerr, Alexander John, Henry: Chief Engineer (ex Endurance)
  • Macklin, Dr. Alexander”: Hepburne Surgeon, stores and equipment (ex Endurance)
  • Mason, John, Charles “Bee”: Photographer, left at Madeira after chronic seasickness
  • Marr, James William Slessor: Boy Scout and Cabin Boy
  • McIlroy, Dr. James A.: Surgeon (ex Endurance)
  • McLeod, Thomas Frank: Able Seaman (ex Endurance)
  • Mooney, Norman Erland: Boy Scout and Cabin Boy, left at Madeira after chronic seasickness
  • Naisbitt, Christopher: Cook’s Assistant, joined at Rio de Janeiro
  • Ross, G. H.: Stoker, joined after the death of Shackleton
  • Shackleton, Sir Ernest H.: Expedition Leader
  • Smith, C. E.: Second Engineer
  • Watts, Harold: Wireless Operator
  • Wild, Frank: Second-in-command, led the expedition following Shackleton’s death (ex Endurance)
  • Wilkins, George, Hubert: Natural Historian and Photographer, joined at Montevideo
  • Worsley, Frank Arthur: Hydrography, Sailing Master (ex Endurance)
  • Young, S. S.: Stoker, joined at Rio de Janeiro

Scouts of the Quest Expedition

Shackleton needed a cabin boy and so persuaded the newspaper Daily Mail to run a competition to find a youngster to go south. Shackleton wrote,

‘For many years, I have been an admirer of the Boy Scout Movement, which I may say appeals to me particularly because it seems to give every boy grounding in the practice of exploration.’

Applications from Boy Scouts were invited, and of 1700 received, Shackleton interviewed ten. He could not distinguish between the top two, Patrol Leader Norman Mooney, aged seventeen, from Orkney and James Marr, eighteen, ‘a bluff, big-hearted fellow from Aberdeen,’ so he decided to take them both.

Stamp Issue: South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, 15 October 2007 South Georgia Museum.2021.4
Scouts of the Quest Expedition. Stamp Issue: South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, 15 October 2007
South Georgia Museum: 2021.4
Photo album showing scouts Marr and Mooney aboard the Quest at dock
Image courtesy of Rowett-Chojecki Family Collection
Scouts Marr and Mooney raising the Union Jack that was presented to the Quest Expedition by King George V
Image courtesy of James Dell