SHACKLETON NEWS ARCHIVE
THIRD OFFICER ABOARD SHACKLETON'S SHIP
Entitled 'To the Antarctic with Shackleton' it pays tribute to this small, lithe, wiry, cheerful man, who was born in 1867 - and thus 7 years older than Shackleton and 'Chippy' McNish. Shackleton himself admitted that Alfred Buchanan Cheetham had more Antarctic experience than anyone. He had served on the Discovery's relief ship Morning; then on the Nimrod under Shackleton; and then on Scott's fateful Terra Nova expedition.
Much later we find him keeping watch on Endurance, scrubbing the decks below, fighting battles with penguins, baling out and rowing the Dudley Docker during the escape from the ice, and sewing canvases on Elephant Island in preparation for the James Caird's perilous voyage.
The website gives a good, well-laid-out summary of the principal events of the Endurance expedition, from its launch in 1914 to the rescue in 1916. Below we see the entire party of 28 men, safely arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile after rescue by Captain Pardo and the Yelcho.
Cheetham himself joined the war effort, in the mercantile marine. However like Tim McCarthy, he too lost his life, his ship, the SS Prunelle being torpedoed by a German U boat on Thursday 22 August 1918.
Alf was 51 when he died. The Blackburn site (cottontown.org) also draws attention to two places named in his honour: Cape Cheetham, named on the Terra Nova expedition, lies on the Oates Coast of Victoria Land; and the Cheetham Ice Tongue, on the East coast of Victoria Land.