Albert Armitage

Second in command and navigator

Born in 1864, Armitage, part of the Royal Naval Reserve, had already spent many years at sea before joining Scott on the Discovery expedition. He joined his first training ship the Worcester at the age of 14 and proceeded to several years of practical seamanship training on sailing ships before being given a position with the P & O Company. He was still in this companies employ at the time of the Discovery expedition, though had been given leave to join the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition to Franz-Josef in 1894.

On his return to the UK, Lt. Armitage resumed his duties as ship’s mate with P & O until January 1901, at the age of 37, when his services were lent once again for the Discovery expedition as navigator and was soon made second-in-command of the expedition by Scott after himself. Nicknamed ‘the Pilot’ his responsibility during the expedition was to survey amongst the Victoria Land Mountains to the west of McMurdo Sound. He led sledging parties exploring the Ferrar Glacier reaching an altitude of about 2750m (9000ft) finding the route that Scott used later on to reach the Polar Plateau on his journey to the pole.

After the expedition he commanded the Royal Mail Steamers Isis and Salsette. During World War I commanded the Karmala used to transport cargo and troops across the Atlantic and, later, for repatriating Australian soldiers.

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