Thomas Hans Orde-Lees collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party], 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton)

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Hans Orde-Lees was born in Germany of Anglo-Irish stock in 1879. He was educated at Marlborough College, the Royal Naval School in Gosport and Sandhurst in England. He was commissioned in the Royal Marines, eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. A skier and physical fitness expert, he was seconded by the navy to the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party], 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton), with the official position of motor expert. He took charge of the tractors (including some of his own design) and stores.

After the expedition he joined the Royal Flying Corps, entering the balloon service and developing parachutes during the First World War. Retiring from the Royal Marines, he lived in Japan, where he lectured at Kobe University and was a correspondent for The Times. He died in Wellington, New Zealand on 2 December 1958.

Published work, Thomas H. Orde-Lees, the life and diaries ed by John Thomson, Bluntisham Books, 2003, SPRI Library Shelf 92[Orde-Lees]


The collection is arranged chronologically.

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034 and The Polar Record (May 1959) volume 9 number 62 p489 and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7)

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible.