Albert Armitage

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Albert Borlase Armitage (2 July 1864 – 31 October 1943) was a Scottish polar explorer and captain in the Royal Navy.

Early life[edit]

Armitage was born in Balquhidder, near Loch Lubnaig in Perthshire on 2 July 1864. He was one of eight children to Samuel Harris Tatham Armitage, a Yorkshire doctor, and Alice (Lees) Armitage.[1]

In 1878 Armitage enlisted as a cadet aboard the Royal Navy's training ship, HMS Worcester, which was moored at the time in the River Thames near Greenhithe. At the conclusion of basic training he attempted to resign from the Navy and seek a position with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), but was prevented from doing so by his father. Instead, Armitage was signed on as an apprentice aboard the former Indian Navy frigate Punjaub, now owned by the East India Company. He sailed with Punjaub to Calcutta, where he transferred to another Company vessel, the Lucknow, as Third Mate.[1]

No-nb bldsa 1c055 Albert Armitage.jpg

After seven years as a Company sailor, Armitage again sought parental consent to join P&O. Approval was received and in 1886 Armitage was appointed Fifth Officer aboard the P&O passenger ship Bokhara[1]

Polar exploration[edit]

Between 1884 and 1897 he was a member, and second-in-command, of the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition to Franz Josef Land, and was involved in the 1895 rescue of explorer Fridtjof Nansen and his men.[2]

Armitage was then Robert Falcon Scott's navigator and second-in-command on the Discovery Expedition to Antarctica. The other members were Ernest Henry Shackleton, George Mulock, Edward Adrian Wilson, Charles Royds, Frank Wild, Koettlitz, Skelton, Heald, Barne, Plumley, Quartley, Weller, Hare, Allen, Evans, Ferrar, Hodgson, Louis Bernacchi, Vince. On this expedition, he became the first person to walk on the polar plateau.


  1. ^ a b c Walton 1985, p. 511
  2. ^ Walton 1985, pp. 512-513


Walton, D.W.H. (1985). "Profile: Albert Borlase Armitage" (PDF). Polar Record. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Scott Polar Research Institute. 22 (140). doi:10.1017/S0032247400005969. Retrieved 11 October 2014. (subscription required (help)). 

External links[edit]