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22nd September 2020

Thanks to David Adamson for sharing his memories of Charles Green, a local hero who visited his school to talk about his experiences in polar exploration.

He was part of the legendary Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition on board the Endurance with Sir Earnest Shackleton, 1914-1917. Their ship was destroyed in the ice leading to an epic quest for survival. Known as “The Antarctic Chef’, Green’s role in feeding the men in extremely trying circumstances was vital. As soon as Green returned to England he enlisted into the Royal Navy as a cook, and was wounded in 1918.

Charles Green later sailed with Sir Ernest Shackleton on the Quest expedition in 1921.

There are still dozens of people around Hull who remember Charles Green giving a lantern slide show at their school and David is one of them.

Here’s David’s story.

Charles Green Cropped
Charles Green ​was part of the legendary Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition on board the Endurance

Charles Green came to my primary school, then known as Endsleigh Junior, in 1954 or 55. It is in Inglemire Avenue. He gave an illustrated talk which I well remember.

Charles Green was a remarkable man with a remarkable story to tell.

I only saw him once but what an everlasting impression he made.

I was puzzled when he arrived; sitting on the primary school hall floor with about two hundred other pupils I wondered what was to happen.

Life size statues of Mary and Joseph peered down on us adding to the solemnity of the occasion.

I thought perhaps it was a Saints' day or the Feast of Corpus Christie, which would have been good as we would have been given half a day’s holiday.

I was very wrong; Charles Green was to speak to us. We had never had a visitor before except a priest and school nurse.

He began to speak and show a few slides of his travels some forty years previously.

The story began to unfold, sitting cross legged on the highly polished floor the discomfort subsided and my interest intensified.

I was in awe.

What an achievement he and his fellow adventurers had endured. A fight for life and sustenance of which Charles Green had been the principal provider.

Human strength in fearful weather had been tested to the extreme.

Charles Green had been a team player but importantly all others relied upon him.

He had to be adaptable, inventive and resolute.

He never had a day off his duties and in addition was required to vary his work according to conditions never before experienced by man.

It was a long journey and at times little progress was made.

Survival did, however, drive them on; it was a challenge between the elements, which were ever changing.

The sound of a banjo, thoughtfully salvaged earlier stirred the spirits for month after month.

Christmas day had called upon Charles Green's skills. It was a day to enjoy and momentarily forget the outside torture and supreme uncertainty.

Sustenance and inner strength for the momentous challenge ahead ensured that an earlier setback was turned around and Charles Green survived to tell many an amazed primary school child a story that will live in my mind and many a mind for ever.

WHO WAS CHARLES GREEN?