Endurance Obituaries |
Dr. ALEXANDER HEPBURNE MACKLIN
( 1889 21/03/1967 )
BORN : INDIA
DIED : CULTS. ABERDEENSHIRE. SCOTLAND
NICKNAME : MACK
DUTY : SURGEON
Awarded Silver Polar Medal
Alexander Macklin , along with James McIllroy, made up the two surgeons in the Endurance party. Macklin was born in India in 1889 , his father was also a Doctor.
When his family returned home to England they settled in the Scilly Isles, where his father had a practice.
Mack , was educated at Plymouth College ,and went on to The University of London and the Victoria University in Manchester, where he eventually qualified as a Doctor.
Shortly after qualifying he applied, and was accepted by Shackleton. Macklins dog team was the last to be killed as the partys food rations began to dwindle on their slow trek across the Weddell Sea Ice.
Macklin and McIllroy were left behind on Elephant Island where Shackleton knew their skills would be better needed. They had Rickinsons heart condition to monitor. Hudsons nervous breakdown not to mention his festering boil. Then of course there was Blackborow and the life threatening gangrene damage to his toes. Plus the usual complaints like, piles, dysentery, frostbite and sores etc.
After the expedition ended Macklin like so many of the party, was quick to join up, and saw action in World War 1. He served as an officer in the Medical Corps and served on both the French and Russian Fronts. Shackleton kept in touch with many of his men during the war years, and on 21st June 1917 he wrote to Macklin , by then a Lieutenant attached to C Battalion . Heavy Branch Machine Gun Company in France. Shackletons letter is on I.T.A.E. letterhead and reads:
Tremendous pressure of work has prevented me replying to your letter of 3rd June which I was delighted to receive from you.
I have heard from Mick, seen Wild, also Wordie, and heard from Hussey.
Poor old McCarthy went down in a torpedoed ship the other day.
I am just waiting for an appointment which I expect will take me to Russia very shortly. When this war is over I, like you, hope we may all foregather.
You say that the tanks are tame after the Antarctic. I can quite understand that for our trouble was always at hand there. However we all got through and I hope we will all get through this business.
I always have the warmest feelings of friendship and gratitude towards you for you never failed me throughout the Expedition. The best of luck to you.
Your cautious old boss.
Macklin survived World War 1 and in later years described Shackleton as an outstanding personality
There radiated from him something strong and powerful and purposeful so that even to meet him was an experience. It was something that I have never come across in anyone else. He valued loyalty above everything, no one ever questioned his authority.
Six years later, Macklin returned South with Shackleton this time on the Quest expedition. Shackleton died of a massive heart attack on the eve of the ships arrival in South Georgia. It was Macklin who had the unhappy and gruesome task of preparing his leader and friends body for burial.
In 1926 Dr. Macklin set up practice in Dundee. Scotland and practiced there until 1947. During the Second World War years he served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Medical Corps. In East Africa.
He gained a number of decorations including M.C. (Military Cross). T.D. (Territorial Decoration) and received the O.B.E. ( Order of the British Empire ).
In 1947 at the age of 58 he married in Dundee and soon moved to Aberdeen . Between 1947 and 1963 he held the following posts:
1947/1949 Assistant Physician in charge of Nurses Health. Aberdeen Infirmary.
1949/ 50 -1952/ 53. Physician. Aberdeen Mental Hospitals.
1953/54 1959/60. Physician. Radiography Centre. Aberdeen.
1960/61 1962/63. Council Member. Aberdeen Medico Chirurgical Society.
He retired from practice in 1960 and was to die in 1967 at the age of 77 and one of the last surviving members of the Endurance expedition.
Dr. Macklin was survived by his wife Jean Macklin (who passed away in 1997) and their two sons Sandy and Richard.
With Thanks to Richard Macklin. ( Son of Alexander Macklin )