Alfred Cheetham

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Alfred Cheetham served as Third Officer on Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship, the Endurance.

    Cheetham's career saw him serve under the ill-fated explorer Captain Scott on the Morning ( relief of the Discovery) and he also served onboard the Terra Nova. His first posting under Shackleton was on "Nimrod " where he was third officer and boatswain.

    Probably the most eventful of Cheetam's Antarctic trips was the one pictured. The boat encountered pack ice two days after leaving her final port of call on South Georgia, bound for Vahsel Bay. Initially the ship was able to make progress against the ice, but it soon became clear that Endurance was stuck fast.

    The Endurance drifted for months while remaining beset in the ice and the situation became desperate. Facing certain death, Shackleton led his crew to Elephant Island along with three small boats. From there Shackleton took a small number of men and managed to reach the coast of South Georgia, from where he was able to muster a rescue operation to save the rest of his crew. Amazingly, every crew member survived including one unofficial member of the party who had stowed away on board the boat.

    During the ordeal, as supplies ran low, Cheetham offered to buy a single match from another crew member for a bottle of champagne. The champagne was to be payable when, after returning home safe, Cheetham would open a pub in Hull. Sadly, the debt was never repaid as with war raging in Europe, Cheetham took a posting on the SS Prunelle in the merchant navy. On August 22nd 1918 the Prunelle was torpedoed by a german U-boat and Cheetham, something of an overlooked hero of the great age of Antarctic discovery, sadly lost his life.

    Alfred Cheetham (right) this picture shows Alfred on deck as the ship departed Plymouth on August 6th 1914.

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  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    In Memory of

    S.S. "Prunelle" (London), Mercantile Marine
    who died age 51
    on 22 August 1918
    Son of the late John F. and Annie Elizabeth Cheetham; husband of Eliza Cheetham (nee Sawyer), of 40, Bean St., Hull. Born at Hull.

    Remembered with honour

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