Worsley, Frank Arthur, 1872-1943

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Joint leader of the British Arctic Expedition, 1925.

From the description of Journal and log-books [microform]. (Libraries Australia). WorldCat record id: 225845758

Captain of "Endurance" on the British Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917, under the command of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

From the description of Journals [microform]. (Libraries Australia). WorldCat record id: 225845749

Frank Arthur Worsley was born at Akaroa, New Zealand, on 22 February 1872. At the age of fifteen, he was apprenticed in sailing ships of the New Zealand Shipping Company, later becoming mate and then master of New Zealand government schooners working in the South Pacific. Subsequently, he sailed in steamers and was commissioned in the Royal Naval Reserve. Worsley was appointed master of the Endurance on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party], 1914-1916 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton). After the Endurance was crushed in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea, the crew lived for six months on drifting ice until it broke up east of the Antarctic Peninsula. Boats were launched and Worsley took charge of the Dudley Docker cutter in the escape to Elephant Island. Ten days later, he successfully navigated the lifeboat James Caird on the epic sixteen-day journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia. On arrival there, he crossed the island with Shackleton and Tom Crean to seek help from the whalers for those left on Elephant Island.

During the First World War, Worsley commanded P and Q (mystery) ships and was twice decorated for successful operations against U-boats. He also served on the North Russian front as an advisor on Arctic equipment and transport. After the war, he made his second Antarctic voyage as sailing master and hydrographer in the Quest on the Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition, 1921-1922. From then on, until his retirement from the sea in 1939, Worsley sailed in occasional trading vessels.

In 1925, he was joint leader, with Grettir Algarsson, of an Arctic expedition to Franz Josef Land (The British Arctic Expedition) in the auxiliary sailing ship Island and in 1935, he joined a treasure-hunting expedition to the Cocos Islands. During the Second World War, he served as an RNR officer and instructor at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and worked for the Red Cross in Norway. He died at Claygate, Surrey on 1 February 1943.

Published work, First voyage in a square-rigged ship by Frank Arthur Worsley, Geoffrey Bles, London (1938) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Worsley, F.A.] and Endurance; an epic of polar adventure by Frank Arthur Worsley, W.W. Norton & Company, New York (1999) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1914-1917 Shackleton] and Shackleton's boat journey by Frank Arthur Worsley, Pimlico, London (1999) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1914-1917] and Under sail in the frozen north by Frank Arthur Worsley, Stanley Paul London (1927) SPRI Library Shelf (3)91(08)[1925]

From the guide to the Frank Worsley collection, 1889-1958, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party], 1914-1916 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Paul Hodder-Williams collection, 1957-1958 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Worsley, Frank Arthur, 1872-1943. Journal and log-books [microform]. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Emily Shackleton collection, 1885-1935 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Frank Arthur Worsley Journals [microform], 1914-1916 Libraries Australia
referencedIn James Marr collection, 1922-1940 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Worsley, Frank Arthur, 1872-1943. Letter, 1938 Mar. 16 [London] to Prof. [W.H. Hobbs, Ann Arbor]. University of Michigan
creatorOf Worsley, Frank Arthur, 1872-1943. [Rough log book of the complete voyage to Franz Josef Land, April-November, 1925] [microform]. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Frank Worsley collection, 1889-1958 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn John Robert Francis Wild collection, 1873-1939 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton collection, 1874-1992 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Bassett Jones (collector) records, 1818-1938. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Frank Worsley collection, 1889-1958 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Robert Selbie Clark collection, 1911-1950 Scott Polar Research Institute
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith British Arctic Expedition, 1925. corporateBody
associatedWith British Arctic Expedition Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa 1925-1926 corporateBody
associatedWith British Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917. corporateBody
associatedWith Clark Robert Selbie 1882-1950 person
associatedWith Emily Mary Shackleton person
associatedWith Endurance (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith Endurance (Steam yacht) corporateBody
associatedWith Hobbs, William Herbert, 1864-1952. person
associatedWith Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition Weddell Sea 1914-1916 corporateBody
associatedWith Island (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith James Caird (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith James William Slesser Marr person
associatedWith John Robert Francis Frank Wild person
associatedWith Jones, Bassett, collector. person
associatedWith Paul Hodder-Williams person
associatedWith Quest (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith Robert Selbie Clark, Ernest Henry Shackleton, Robert Mossman, George Wilkins, Frank Worsley, Alexander Macklin person
associatedWith Shackleton, Ernest Henry, Sir, 1874-1922. person
associatedWith Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition 1921-1922 corporateBody
associatedWith Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and others person
associatedWith Worsley Frank Arthur 1872-1943 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Antarctica Discovery and exploration
Franz Joseph Land (Russia)
Arctic regions
Arctic regions Discovery and exploration
Franz Josef Land (Russia)
Franz Josef Land (Russia)
Search and rescue operations
Ship captains
Voyages and travels


Birth 1872-02-22

Death 1943-02-01


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