Aeneas Lionel Acton Mackintosh
Aeneas Mackintosh, date unknown
(1 July 1879 – 8 May 1916) was a British Merchant Navy
officer and Antarctic explorer
, who commanded the Ross Sea party
as part of Sir Ernest Shackleton
's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition
, 1914–1917. The Ross Sea party's mission was to support Shackleton's proposed transcontinental march by laying supply depots along the latter stages of the march's intended route. In the face of persistent setbacks and practical difficulties, Mackintosh's party fulfilled its task, although he and two others died in the course of their duties. Mackintosh's first Antarctic experience was as second officer on Shackleton's Nimrod expedition
, 1907–1909. Shortly after his arrival in the Antarctic, a shipboard accident destroyed his right eye, and he was sent back to New Zealand. He returned in 1909 to participate in the later stages of the expedition; his will and determination in adversity impressed Shackleton, and led to his Ross Sea party appointment in 1914.
Having brought his party to the Antarctic, Mackintosh was faced with numerous difficulties. Confused and vague orders meant he was uncertain of the timing of Shackleton's proposed march. His problems were compounded when the party's ship, SY Aurora
, was swept from its winter moorings during a gale and was unable to return, causing the loss of vital equipment and supplies. In carrying out the party's depot-laying task, one man died; Mackintosh barely survived, owing his life to the actions of his comrades who brought him to safety. Restored to health, he and a companion disappeared while attempting to return to the expedition's base camp by crossing the unstable sea ice. Mackintosh's competence and leadership skills have been questioned by polar historians. Shackleton commended the work of the party, and equated the sacrifice of their lives to those given in the trenches of the First World War, but was critical of Mackintosh's organising skills. Years later, Shackleton's son, Lord Shackleton
, identified Mackintosh as one of the expedition's heroes, alongside Ernest Joyce
and Dick Richards
. (Full article...