Jameson Boyd Adams - Rippingale’s Antarctic Hero
We’re writing this on the Centenary of Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic – his attempt on January 17 1912, to be the first man to reach the South Pole, ending in his terrible death and those of his expedition party, in temperatures of 30 deg. below freezing.
Jameson Boyd Adams
Jameson Boyd Adams was born in Down Hall on Doctor’s Lane in Rippingale in 1880 where his father was the local doctor – hence “Doctor’s Lane.” At the age of 13 he ran away to sea and served on merchant ships ‘til he joined the Royal Navy and became one of the last to earn his Master Mariner’s Certificate "under sail". He quickly earned a reputation as a great character and joker and called everyone he talked to "mate", this earning himself the nickname “Mate”. Adams met Shackleton in 1906, and when offered the chance of becoming his deputy and to claim the South Pole for England he didn’t hesitate. Each member of the team needed to have specialist knowledge of some subject which would be useful to the expedition and Adams made an intensive study of meteorology – a vital skill.
They built a hut as their winter base at McMurdo Sound which still stands today and in October 1908, the party of four set out. They met terrible conditions – blizzards, gales, temperatures far below freezing – they suffered frostbite, disease, starvation and emaciation. Digging up and eating horse carcasses on their two-month return journey gave them dysentery.The photographs of Adams tell you all you need to know about their suffering. Seventy days out, on 9th January 1909, almost at their goal, they realised they could go no further and turned back.
Adams’ part in the attempt is recognised by a mountain being named after him – Mount Adams at 84 deg 26 S.
He later rejoined the Royal Navy, served on the Dover Patrol and was wounded during WW1. He was awarded two medals, became a civil servant but devoted his life to youth development, taking over the King George Jubilee Trust for Youth and was knighted in 1948. He died in 1962.
© Jim Latham, January 2012
You can read more about the Shackleton Expedition on the Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition Website at www.shackletoncentenary.org