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McGillion, Michael Thomas

McGillion, Michael Thomas

Alias: None

Title: Mr

Dates: 1885-1962

Nationality: New Zealand

Awards: Polar Medal (silver)

Michael Thomas McGillion was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1885. He joined the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-09 (Nimrod) at the age of 23 as a complete novice sailor with no experience of the sea. He was one of two trimmers (responsible for transporting coal to the firemen and keeping the coal stores balances) on board ship, and served between 30 November 1908 and 3 April 1909. On 3 January 1909 McGillion joined Aeneas Mackintosh on 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, they journeyed for nine days with little food and equipment until they were saved by Day. In November 1910 McGillion joined the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Terra Nova) as a stoker to fill the place of a man who would remain with the shore parties, signing on at Lyttelton, New Zealand.

On his return from the Antarctic McGillion married Mabel Richardson and they settled in Christchurch, New Zealand. McGillion served as a railway employee before enlisting as a private in the New Zealand Medical Corps, sailing from Wellington in January 1917 as part of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. McGillion died in Sydney, Australia in 1962.


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