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Mackintosh, Aeneas Lionel Acton

Mackintosh, Aeneas Lionel Acton

Alias: None

Title: Mr

Rank: Captain (Merchant Navy)

Dates: 1879-1916

Nationality: British

Awards: Polar Medal (silver); Royal Geographic Society Medal

Mackintosh was born on 1 July 1879 in Tirhut, India. He was one of six children of Alexander Mackintosh, an indigo planter in India, and his wife Annie Mackintosh. He was educated at Bedford Modern School and in 1894, at the age of 16, he joined the Merchant Navy, serving in the skysail yard ships Cromdale and Mount Stewart, in which he advanced to third officer. In 1899, he was appointed junior officer in RMS Victoria of the P&O Company, obtaining his first officer's and master's certificates.

Mackintosh was granted leave to join the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-09 (Nimrod) as navigator and second officer of Nimrod on her initial voyage to Lyttelton, New Zealand, and later as a member of the shore staff. However, on 31 January 1908 while unloading stores at McMurdo Sound, Mackintosh lost his right eye in an accident. His eye was extracted by the surgeons, but he was forced to return with Nimrod to New Zealand for medical treatment and was unable to join the shore party. He returned the following year as navigation officer. On 3 January 1909 Mackintosh led a near fatal journey to cross 25 miles (40 km) of sea ice to deliver the post at Cape Royds because Nimrod had been blocked by ice. When the ice began to break, Mackintosh and Michael McGillion journeyed for nine days with little food and equipment until they were saved by Day.

After the expedition, Mackintosh was despatched by Shackleton as a member of an unsuccessful gold-mining expedition to the Carpathians in Hungary and spent three months on the Cocos Islands in the South Pacific in search of Spanish treasure. In 1912 he married Gladys Campbell and for a while worked as an assistant secretary to the Imperial Merchant Sailor’s Guild in Liverpool.

Mackintosh resigned his post to join the Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-17 as leader of the Ross Sea Party and captain of the Aurora. The party was tasked with laying a chain of depots across the Ross Ice Shelf towards the Beardmore Glacier, providing supplies for Shackleton's trans-polar party. Landing at Cape Evans in the summer of 1915, Aurora was prevented by fast ice from anchoring off Cape Royds and was then blown out to sea in a storm, leaving a party of ten to establish a base with inadequate stores and equipment. Against all odds, the men laid their quota of depots across the Ross Ice Shelf as far south as Mount Hope, but Victor Hayward and Mackintosh died on the return journey while crossing sea ice between Hut Point and Cape Evans in May 1916. Mackintosh is commemorated by Mount Mackintosh 74°20' S 162°15' E.


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