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England, Rupert George A.

England, Rupert George A.

Alias: None

Title: Mr

Rank: Lieutenant-Commander (Royal Naval Reserve)

Dates: 1878-1942

Nationality: British

Awards: Polar Medal (bronze)

England was born in 1878 in Warthill, Yorkshire. He studied at Hull Grammar School before going to sea as a sailor.

England first saw the Antarctic as first officer of the Morning, the relief ship sent to McMurdo Sound in 1902-03 and 1903-04 to assist the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-04 (Discovery) led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott. After his return he spent time doing government service on the west coast of Africa, spending 12 months in Nigeria between 1904 and 1907. Although not Shackleton's first choice for the captaincy of the Nimrod for the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-09, England sailed south on Nimrod south on 1 January 1908.

England and Shackleton famously had a major dispute while in the Antarctic. It began when they were trying to find a wintering site after the failed attempt to get to King Edward VII Land, and escalated dramatically over the unloading of the stores. The main frustration came because England kept moving the ship further away from the wintering site as he feared the ice damaging the ship, which meant that the men had to haul the stores greater and greater distances. Tensions boiled over in early February when the two men had a stand-off on the bridge of the ship, resulting in Shackleton asking him to stand down on the basis of illness. England refused, arguing that the safety of the ship was in his hands. Unbeknownst to England, Shackleton sent Mackintosh and Dunlop with letters to prevent England returning as captain. The letters indicated that England would resign due to illness on full pay and be replaced. England eventually resigned and this ended his involvement with any further form of Antarctic sailing.

England transferred to working on the land, where he started his own business and married Jessica Turner. He only returned to the sea once more, as a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve during World War I and retired as Lieutenant-Commander R.N.R. England died in 1942. Some of England's correspondence relating to the Nimrod Expedition is held in the Institute archives.


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