James Paton (seaman)

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Paton's Antarctic ships: from top, Nimrod, Terra Nova and Aurora

James "Scotty" Paton (1869–1917 or 18) was a Scots-born seaman who sailed to the Antarctic with three major expeditions between 1907 and 1917. His first venture was Sir Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition of 1907–09, when he was a crew member during each of Nimrod's two southern voyages. From 1910 to 1913 he was a seaman aboard Captain Scott's Terra Nova during her three voyages between New Zealand and Cape Evans, in support of Scott's ill-fated expedition. In 1914 he joined the Ross Sea party section of Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition as boatswain on the Aurora. He was aboard ship on 7 May 1915 when Aurora was torn from her Cape Evans moorings, drifting in the pack for nine months before limping back to New Zealand. Paton's last Antarctic voyage was with Aurora on the mission to relieve the stranded Ross Sea party in January 1917. After Aurora's return to New Zealand she was sold, and became a coal carrier. Paton signed on as her boatswain, and was aboard when she left Newcastle, New South Wales in June 1917, bound for South America. Her fate is uncertain, but in late 1917 or early 1918 she was lost, either in a storm or through the action of an enemy raider. Paton was lost with her.

Paton's seven Antarctic voyages (two in Nimrod, three in Terra Nova and two in Aurora) are commemorated by Paton Peak, 2,531 feet (771 m), on Beaufort Island in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, at 76°56′S 166°56′E / 76.933°S 166.933°E / -76.933; 166.933.

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