The dogs also had a stout wire between posts along which they could run for exercise while remaining securely chained to it; again Mrs Chippy would tempt fate by watching them from just out of range. “Mrs. but please allow all images to load before doing so, or some may not display The cat was retrieved by the ship’s biologist, Robert Clark, using one of his sample nets. While preparing for the trip McNish found the cat curled up in one of his toolboxes, as though determined to be included, and that was what made his master decide — having earlier been unsure whether or not to take him — that a cat would be a good companion on the voyage and that he should go along. Wikimedia Commons Mrs. Chippy, a tiger-striped tabby who was the kitty companion of Ernest Shackleton on his trans-arctic expedition. Storekeeper Thomas Orde-Lees, in a diary entry dated 13 September 1914, relates that "An extraordinary thing happened during the night. Towards the end the crew had to camp out on the ice in tents, while Shackleton planned what to do for the best. The whittling of the phalanx must be applauded. 70. When the time came the biologist, Robert Clark, picked up Mrs Chippy and gave him an affectionate hug and stroke. McNish's surname was and is commonly spelled 'McNeish' — Shackleton himself used it — but his birth certificate revealed it to be McNish, and in 1998 the name of the island was accordingly officially altered. It was Blackborow who became Mrs Chippy's champion and second-best mate, and what seems to be the only existing photograph of the cat is on the young man's shoulder. But from that time on the carpenter had a growing resentment for Shackleton, and as their escape expedition went on it became harder and harder for the leader to control him. Feline Fun document.write("PLEASE ASK"); Chris very kindly sent us some photos (below) of the sculpture being admired by visitors, together with one taken beforehand in the bronze-caster's yard (centre) and one in its final position on Henry McNish's grave (second from right). The crew were distraught, thinking he had gone out onto the ice and frozen to death, and were greatly relieved when he reappeared. After his ship became stuck in ice, Shackleton led his crew on a two year journey to safety. At that point, Shackleton ordered his men to shoot the sled dogs and Mrs. Chippy, because he did not think they could survive. Mrs Chippy was not the only cat to have taken part in polar exploration. She always seems like the type who overpowers and is really toxic in a relationship . Philately | The CD is available worldwide by ordering from the website, where more information can also be found, and also from other sources such as Amazon. Family members said that Chippy Hue was not home at the time of the operation. Blackborow returned once to embrace the cat tightly, telling him how glad he was that they had been shipmates, and then left. A tabby cat called Mrs. Chippy joined Ernest Shackleton on the Endurance’s frozen, ill-fated expedition. In 2004, McNish and Mrs. Chippy were reunited, in a way, when the New Zealand Antarctic Society added a bronze statue of the cat to the carpenter’s grave. At one of the ports of call, Buenos Aires, a 19-year-old British man stowed away on Endurance, with the aid of a couple of his friends who had been legitimately signed on. Fun | He was described as "full of character" by members of the expedition and impressed the crew with his ability to walk along the ship's inch-wide rails in even the roughest seas. [5] The final entry recounts Shackleton instructing his crew, now camped on the ice pack following the destruction of their ship, that to ensure their survival "Anything that cannot pull its weight or is not useful to the Expedition must be put down". He was willing and proved to be an asset, eventually gaining promotion to steward. But his grave, in Karori Cemetery, Wellington, was unmarked until 1959 when the NZ Antarctic Society raised a headstone. For many years he had an unmarked grave, but in 1959 the New Zealand Antarctic Society erected a headstone. For an image see our April 2011 stamp review. Feline Flotsam, 'Catline' divider bar courtesy of CatStuff Graphics. All rights reserved However, as time went on he gained in confidence and would prowl around on top of their kennels mewing; then sharpen his claws on the roofs (the mainmast was also a favourite claw-sharpening spot), and sit there calmly washing himself. Fans | Being an equitable cat, there wasn't much that bothered Mrs Chippy and he settled down to find the warmest and most comfortable places on board, accept titbits from the crew in exchange for a purr, and do his job of protecting the provisions. [3], In February 2011, Mrs Chippy and expedition member Perce Blackborow were featured on a postage stamp issued by the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.[4]. Read Simon's story. Fortunately it was a quiet and calm night and the officer of the watch, Lt Hubert Hudson, heard the cat's cries and was able to smartly turn the ship around to pick him up. Fragments | //END --> Blackborow rescued the cat before the threat could be carried out — but that was another life gone! He survived there until 1930, destitute, with help from the waterfront folk. Alexander wrote Mrs. Chippy's Last Expedition: The Remarkable Journal of Shackleton's Polar-Bound Cat in l997 and was encouraged to write about the human members of this expedition later. Patrick Roberts The modelling of historic models should be given its measure of praise. On the ice, what became the main diet for the men? Do you want the job done or not?" He ate them with obvious pleasure, then washed and stretched out for a good sleep, little knowing it was to be a never-ending one. and for a modern twist to Mrs Chippy's story see Post-war Antarctic Cats. Folios | The book provides an account of Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, covering the period 15 January 1914 to 29 October 1915, in the form of a journal written from a cat’s point of view, supposedly by Mrs Chippy. Didn't ever ask what I was watching or how it happened just took it to be repaired and never spoke of it again. Feline Fragments But by the end of the month it was obvious it was not to be, and the ship was beginning to break up under the pressure of the ice. Flotsam in what became known as the 'Yangtse Incident' (1949). With Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Terry Kilburn, John Mills. He picked him up roughly by the scruff of the neck and threatened to throw him to the dogs. After about a month, when the Antarctic winter was setting in and it was obvious the ship was not going to be on the move anytime soon, the dogs were moved off the deck into specially built houses made from ice blocks, on the ice floe beside the ship. var cry1=String.fromCharCode(109,97,105,108,116,111,58);document.write(""); Our featured feline at the head of the page is Simon of HMS Amethyst. But to the seamen of Endurance, the carpenter was a hero. He remains the only cat ever to have been awarded the Dickin Medal for gallantry under enemy fire, Authors tended not to dwell upon the final playing out of the sad tale. In general Mrs Chippy did not like the ice, which became lodged between his toes and pads, and spent most of his time below decks, with occasional outings to check on the crew's activities and see how they were getting on. An aged teacher and former headmaster of a boarding school … Ernest Shackleton before 1909. Start date Oct 25, 2020; Tags ... What happened to her boyfriend she was with? The cat of the carpenter on the ill fated Shackleton expedition to the Antarctic. document.write("?subject=Mrs Chippy\">"); McNish's grandson Tom, who lives in England, was delighted and felt his grandfather would have been pleased. ], Left-click thumbnails for enlargements (JavaScript should be enabled), The curator of Antarctic History at the museum in Canterbury, Baden Norris, recalls being taken as a young boy to see McNish when he was old and ill; even then he was still mourning the loss of his cat. One example is when he made the difficult… It's an amusing, poignant and fascinating read, and there are many interesting photographs of Endurance and her crew during the voyage. or drop in at our Facebook page, Other sections: But NcNish never forgave Shackleton for having his cat shot. The ship became lost, trapped and then crushed in pack ice. Mrs Chippy, a tiger-striped tabby, was taken on board the ship used by the expedition's Weddell Sea party, Endurance, as a ship's cat by carpenter and master shipwright Harry "Chippy" McNish ("Chippy" being a colloquial British term for a carpenter). A formal complaint was made against Vincent, who was in fact demoted as a result. In February 2011 the well-known photo of Mrs Chippy with his friend Perce was featured on a postage stamp. Fans of Felines The following day Hurley wrote in his diary, 'Sally's 4 pups, Sue's Sirius and McNish's cat, Mrs Chippy shot at 2:55 p.m.' It seems the task was undertaken by Frank Wild, Shackleton's second-in-command. On the ice, who was one of Shackleton's tentmates? Becoming apparently rather bored with the proceedings at one stage, Mrs Chippy seems to have decided the best thing to do would be to hibernate for a while, and he disappeared to somewhere warm and quiet from the 5th to the 10th of February. [7], An opera for primary school children, Shackleton's Cat by Russell Hepplewhite, was commissioned by the English Touring Opera in 2015. The captain ordered the dogs and Mrs. Chippy to be shot. One result was that Shackleton did not recommend McNish for the award of a Polar Medal, despite the vital part his carpentry skills had played in ensuring the survival of the lifeboats — and thus the men's lives — in some of the most hostile seas in the world. [1] The cat acquired its name because, once aboard, it followed McNish around like an overly attentive wife. All year, the ship had been trapped, the ice pushing and pinching the hull, the wood howling in protest. Feline Philately Shackleton shot Mrs Chippy for food, a callous act for which McNish never forgave him. [indent]quote: "I haven't got all bloody day. In 1925 McNish went to Wellington, New Zealand, where he worked on the waterfront until he was injured. Tragically, as she made her way back to the White House, she got in a collision with a … The sculptor, Chris Elliott, tried to represent the cat as alert, but with his body relaxed as though he were lying on his master's bunk. Fabled | Needless to say, these actions did not endear him to the dogs, which would be driven into a hysterical frenzy. Finally, on October 27, 1915, a new wave of pressure rippled across the … document.write(""); If you'd like to comment please contact me, McNish was an outspoken, opinionated Scotsman. Copyright © Patrick Roberts & Purr 'n' Fur UK 2003-17 Macklin, Crean, and the carpenter seemed to feel the loss of their friends rather badly. For some years he has worked on independent musical projects, producing and releasing CDs particularly in the Celtic genre, and highlights from his albums can be found on major-label compilations next to songs by the likes of Clannad, Enya and Mike Oldfield. (if this happens, use Refresh from your toolbar to reload the page). Mrs. Chippy had been stranded in the ocean’s icy waters for a full 10 minutes before the crew was able to rescue the pet. No doubt he had some extra 'treats' to eat, as a relief from the usual fare of sealmeat for breakfast, sealmeat for lunch and sealmeat for supper. In a diary entry dated 29 October 1915 he recorded: This afternoon Sallie's three youngest pups, Sue's Sirius, and Mrs. Chippy, the carpenter's cat, have to be shot. mrs. chippy was also killed, chippy the carpenter (and maybe others) lamented this too. These dogs suffered from lack of exercise and — oddly, considering the important role they would be expected to play later — were not very well looked after; indeed, poor condition led to the early demise of several of them. Nor, indeed, ultimately for the dogs, who despite being rationed were consuming more meat than the men. It was taken by expedition photographer Frank Hurley and looks as though it might have been taken outside the galley. The upshot, as is well known, was that eventually, after three and a half months and against great odds, Shackleton did manage to lead all the crew to safety and no human life was lost. He was in the freezing water for ten minutes or more, but soon recovered — although undoubtedly one of his nine lives had been used up! LIFE ON THE ICE. His crew were entirely loyal to Shackleton and respected his judgement, and so the decision had to be made. document.write("?subject=Mrs Chippy\">"); Fully and proper tribute cannot be given to the intrepid expeditioners until the photos are posted. Images and content (whether original or used at Purr 'n' Fur with permission) may NOT be reproduced Crew members paid their respects with a caress, a stroke or a tickle under the chin; the cat had been their companion throughout all their adversity and a great source of comfort in their numerous hardships. What he did not like were the 70-odd Canadian sledge dogs that lived a rather miserable life chained up in lines of restrictive kennels on each side of the deck. He was a handsome, intelligent, good-natured and affectionate animal, and a first-rate mouser and ratcatcher to boot. We could not undertake the maintenance of weaklings under the new conditions. chippy is the nickname of carpenters in england, and the ship’s carpenter brought his kitten for the trip. Well you might ask. An extraordinary thing happened during the night. The incident is recorded in the diary of Thomas Orde-Lees, 13 September 1914 (in which he refers to the cat as 'she'). What did the men do for fun when the boat was blocked by ice? Artwork and an accompanying booklet feature original photographs taken by expedition photographer Frank Hurley and licensed by the RGS in London and the SPRI in Cambridge. The carpenter … McNish had little time to mourn his beloved cat, as he had much work to do preparing and modifying the three lifeboats for sea; the lives of all the men would depend on these boats. [8], Cat who accompanied Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, "South Georgia Newsletter, February 2011", Purr 'n' Fur: Mrs Chippy, of Shackleton's, The Great Cat: Cats in 20th Century History (Mrs. Chippy), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mrs_Chippy&oldid=991697792, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 1 December 2020, at 10:47. WWI. Direct linking (hotlinking) to ANY images on this site is strictly forbidden. His eyes lit up like saucers, frantic, like a mad man, for a moment, “He shot my fucking cat!” he announced at the top of his voice for all the bar to hear. But new circumstances brought new priorities; Shackleton had three of the youngest pups shot along with the cat. The cat spent a lot of time grooming and the diet — now changed to pemmican — seemed to suit him. It seems that after the crew had made their farewells McNish probably took the cat into his tent to say his goodbyes, when the steward Blackborow somehow rustled up a bowl of sardines — Mrs Chippy's favourite and a real treat. Harry McNish and Mrs. Chippy. Shackleton was pleased to have the cat join the crew, as a good mouser was important on board ship to keep rodents under control and prevent them damaging the stores (as of course the crew of Amethyst would later confirm: see the story of Simon and HMS Amethyst). 'The only thing I remember him saying,' says Norris, 'was that Shackleton s… Page created November 2004, with later revisions and additions, Imperial Trans-Antarctica Expedition 1914-17, Tribute to cat killed by Shackleton in Antarctic. His gravestone, however, uses the McNeish spelling. seal meat and blubber. In spite of the name he was a tough tomcat from Glasgow, and he belonged to Henry (Harry) McNish, ship's carpenter and master shipwright. However, played by 'Mac', Mrs Chippy did feature in the 2002 Channel 4 film Shackleton, starring Kenneth Branagh in the title role and with Ken Drury playing McNish (available on DVD). He soon established himself and became a favourite with most of the crew. Unfortunately, Mrs. Chippy's journal comes to an abrupt end when the Endurance is crushed by the ice, and Alexander makes no mention of what happened on that day. Of course, animals were the original test pilots for space missions. Mrs Chippy continued to sleep through much of what was happening, prompting the remark, years later, from a crew member: 'Mrs Chippy's almost total disregard for the diabolical forces at work on the ship was more than remarkable — it was inspirational. Featuring Felines MRS CHIPPY. After word got around the office Mrs. Landingham purchased her first new car, the president asked her to come back to the White House after picking it up so he could see it. Who was in charge of the photography? Chippy’s Last Expedition” is a wonderful account of life on ship during those 10 months of entrapment in the ice. Further examples of Chris Elliott's work can be seen at his website. [2], McNish was very attached to Mrs Chippy and never forgave Shackleton for having him killed. Dogs were also popular companions on the warfront. These were called 'dogloos'. See our companion article describing some other Antarctic Cats But by then the name had stuck. There is a postscript to the story of the unfortunate Mrs Chippy. Mrs Chippy’s voyage was not without incident. A tabby cat taken on board by the carpenter Harry McNish, "Mrs Chippy" was later found to be male! Not unexpectedly they howled and made a lot of noise, and this rather unnerved the cat at first. Folks in the bar looked around as … Mrs Chippy, of course, loved all the attention and treated it as his due. 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