Willis Islands

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Willis Islands
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.png
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
LocationSouth Atlantic Ocean
Coordinates54°0′S 38°11′W / 54.000°S 38.183°W / -54.000; -38.183
United Kingdom

The Willis Islands are a small archipelago to the west of the main island of South Georgia. They are 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Bird Island.

They were discovered on 14 January by Captain James Cook and named for Cook's midshipman Thomas Willis, the crew member who first sighted them.


Thomas Willis[edit]

Born in 1756, the son of Richard Willis, M.A., Rector of Hartley Mauditt, Hampshire, by his wife Anne (née) Hawkins, Thomas Willis had begun his career in the Royal Navy aboard H.M.S. Dunkirk in 1769; he served on several other ships before joining Cook's crew on H.M.S. Resolution in 1772. Following the voyage, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1778, and joined H.M.S. Sultan. He lost his right leg in 1782 whilst serving as second lieutenant aboard the Royal William, during skirmishes with French and Spanish forces. Willis married Mary, daughter of Anthony Kirkham, of Deal, Kent, in 1781, and had a son, Richard. Thomas Willis died 15 July 1797.[1] The Victoria Cross recipient Major Richard Raymond Willis was the great-great-great nephew of Thomas Willis.[2]

See also[edit]


  • Stonehouse, B (ed.) Encyclopedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans (2002, ISBN 0-471-98665-8)

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document "Willis Islands" (content from the Geographic Names Information System). Coordinates: 54°0′S 38°11′W / 54.000°S 38.183°W / -54.000; -38.183