Image of James W. S. Marr


Lifetime: 1902 - 1965 Passed: ≈ 59 years ago





James W. S. Marr

James William Slessor Marr was a Scottish marine biologist and polar explorer. He was leader of the World War 2 British Antarctic Expedition Operation Tabarin during its first year, 1943–1945.

Marr was born in Cushnie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on 9 December 1902. Son of farmer John George Marr and Georgina Sutherland Slessor. While studying classics and zoology at the University of Aberdeen, he and Norman Mooney were selected among thousands of Boy Scout volunteers to accompany Sir Ernest Shackleton on the Shackleton–Rowett Expedition in 1921, on board the vessel Quest. The expedition failed to reach its final objective the Weddell Sea due to Shackleton's death on 5 January 1922. Upon his return Marr completed his MA in classics and BSc in zoology. In between he had to participate in fund raising events that were organised in order to cover the expedition's debts. Which included standing in scout uniform outside cinemas where the film Quest was being shown. Marr spent 1926 as a Carnegie Scholar at a marine laboratory in Aberdeen. He took part in the British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) with Sir Douglas Mawson. He went on to become a marine biologist, taking part in the Discovery Investigations (1928–1929, 1931–1933 and 1935–1937) specializing in Antarctic Krill.[2]

In 1943, during World War II, Lieutenant Marr was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on appointment as expedition leader of Operation Tabarin. This was a secret British Antarctic Expedition launched in 1943 with the intent of establishing permanently occupied bases, thus solidifying British claims to the region. Marr led the overwintering team at Port Lockroy in 1944 but resigned in December due to poor health. In 1949, he joined the National Institute of Oceanography as a Senior Scientific Officer working there until his death on 30 April 1965. His 460-page work Natural History and Geography of Antarctic Krill was published three years after his death.

Books by James W. S. Marr

Into the Frozen South Cover image

Into the Frozen South

Adventure Non-Fiction
Death Expedition Exploration Struggle Explore Island Experiences

James Marr was a Boy Scout selected to go along with Sir Ernest Shackleton aboard the Quest in 1921 for the Shackleton–Rowett Expedition to Antarctica. This book provides a description of what would be Shackleton's last exploration due to his untimel...