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Alistair Forbes-Mackay


1878 - 1914

Navy surgeon who reached the Magnetic South Pole (as part of Shackleton's expedition) in 1909, three years before Amundsen and Scott reached the Geographical South Pole. He was the son of a soldier, who was raised initially by his aunt in Campbeltown (Argyll and Bute). After his father retired, the family moved to Edinburgh where Forbes-Mackay attended George Watson's College and studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. His studies were broken by service in the Boer War, but he returned to Edinburgh to graduate in 1901. He served as a Navy surgeon for a few years before joining Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole in 1907. With Australians Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson, Forbes-Mackay trekked to the Magnetic South Pole and was also the first to climb Mount Erebus, the most southerly volcano on earth. His adventurous spirit led him to join an expedition to the Arctic in 1913, and it was during this that he disappeared while trying to obtain assistance when their ship was crushed by the ice.


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