By Tim Foley
The Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero
Tom Crean is one of the most iconic figures in Irish history. Born in 1877 in County Kerry, he enlisted in the Royal Navy at the age of sixteen, the start of a career that would bring him to the most extreme environments on Earth.
This fascinating account charts Crean’s full naval career in rich new detail, from his initial voyages in the Americas, where he was faced with rebellions and life-threatening storms, to Australasia, where the Black Death in Sydney was a danger to all and his crew was sent to bring to heel the warring tribes of the New Hebrides, some of whom still practised cannibalism.
But it was Robert Scott’s decision to employ him that led him to the frozen wastes of Antarctica, where his feats of heroism on two expeditions saw him help save the lives of crewmates on three dramatic occasions.
The most famous of these was on Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Endurance expedition, when the vessel sank, leaving the crew stranded on the ice and facing almost certain death before Crean and five others embarked on a journey hailed as the most daring and ambitious rescue in maritime history.
This is an extraordinary tale of an unassuming but quietly strong man who showed remarkable bravery in the harshest conditions on the planet and lived a life unlike others. Crean is the story of a true Irish hero.
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