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Lashly, William

Lashly, William

Alias: Lash

Title: Mr

Rank: Chief Stoker (Royal Navy)

Dates: 1867-1940

Nationality: British

Awards: Polar Medal (silver); Albert Medal

William Lashly was born in Hambledon, Hampshire, on 25 December 1867. He went to school in Hampshire until the age of 13 when he started working with his father as a thatcher, and then worked as a civil servant. He joined the Royal Navy in 1899 and was serving as a stoker on HMS Duke of Wellington when he joined the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-04 (Discovery) as leading stoker. The expedition made the first extensive exploration on land in Antarctica and Lashly took part in several sledging journeys. On his return, he served as an instructor at the Royal Naval College, Osbourne.

Lashly’s impressive record on the Discovery expedition, led to his selection as chief stoker on the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Terra Nova). As a member of the final support party, he accompanied Scott's polar party as far as the Beardmore Glacier. As a member of the final support party, he accompanied Scott's polar party as far as the Beardmore Glacier. On the return journey with Lieutenant Edward R.G.R. Evans and Tom Crean, the three became stranded on ice and Lashly remained with Evans, who was dangerously ill from scurvy, while Crean went to summon help. He was awarded the Albert Medal for his role in saving Evans’ life.

After returning from the Antarctic, Lashly retired from the Royal Navy with a pension and immediately joined the Royal Naval Reserve. He served on HMS Irresistible and HMS Amethyst during World War I, and went on to join the Customs and Excise Service, serving as a customs officer at Cardiff. He retired in 1932 and returned to Hambledon, naming his house ‘Minna Bluff’ after one of the landmarks on the road to the South Pole. Lashly died on 12 June 1940, and is commemorated in the Antarctic by Lashly Glacier (77°57’ S 159°50’ E) and the Lashly Mountains (77°54’ S 159°33’ E).


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