ADMIRAL SIR JAMES PEROWNE KBE
Sir James Perowne KBE took over the Chairmanship of the James Caird Society from Major-General Patrick Fagan MBE November 2006. He writes: ‘My connection with the Society started in 1994, when I had the honour, as Captain of HMS Norfolk , to take Alexandra Shackleton (Zaz) from the Falkland Islands to South Georgia for her first visit to her grandfather’s grave in Grytviken cemetery.
Zaz also unveiled a blue plaque placed by the Manager’s Villa in Stromness, to commemorate her grandfather’s arrival there prior to his remarkable rescue of all his men. I have to report that, although this was the manager’s house when Stromness was finally closed, there is now some doubt whether it was actually the manager’s dwelling in 1916! Typically of our President’s dedication to the Society, I was recruited to join before we were even back in Port Stanley!
My relationship with the Antarctic started when as a Midshipman I went for the 1966-7 season in the then Royal Navy ice patrol ship HMS Protector, and spent eight weeks living in tents in Robert Island, in the South Shetlands, conducting a boat survey of the English Strait. I still have a copy of that original survey on my wall to this day.
My specialisation while in the Royal Navy was submarines, and I had the pleasure of commanding both a diesel boat and a nuclear hunter killer, HMS Superb. Being in submarines during the Cold War tended to take one to the Arctic rather than the Antarctic, and so I have been to the North Pole, but not to the South Pole.
Following the hugely successful Centenary celebrations, this is an important time for the James Caird Society, with renewed interest in Shackleton and his feats. Several new expeditions are planned, along with films, documentaries and other projects. I do hope members, and all Shackleton enthusiasts, will do their bit in helping to promote the legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton by recruiting new members to the Society.