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Lieutenant George Mulock

Throughout this year, we’re marking the birthdays of some of the men who have been part of Discovery’s astonishing 120+ year history.

Joining Discovery‘s 1901 Expedition following the early departure of Ernest Shackleton in 1903 (more on that to follow), Lieutenant George Mulock undertook survey work whilst also being responsible for deep sea analysis, and the holds, stores and provisions – of which there was a lot! The young Lieutenant’s short spell aboard Discovery in the Antarctic was just the beginning of an impressive naval career, as we’ll share.

(Read the original edit of this blog post here:

Officers of the relief ship Morning, at Lyttleton, New Zealand. Mulock can be seen in the front row, second from the right. (DUNIH 444.2)

George Francis Arthur Mulock was born on 7th February 1882, in Lancashire. Just 21 at the time of joining Discovery in 1903, Mulock’s naval career had actually begun when he was in his early teens. By the start of the 20th century, he had worked aboard many naval vessels, and in particular, demonstrated a talent for surveying and the drawing of charts. This would later prove very useful in Antarctica, aiding Captain Scott in planning sledging routes and efforts.

In 1902, Mulock volunteered to join Lord Markham’s Relief Expedition to the Antarctic, aboard the recently acquired Morning; a 31-year-old Norwegian whaler, with William Colbeck as Captain for this expedition. After a tumultuous voyage, Morning arrived at McMurdo Bay in late January 1903. At this time, Captain Scott, Ernest Shackleton and Edward Wilson were on the return leg of their journey South, during which they had reached furthest South; but during which Ernest Shackleton had also become very unwell with scurvy.

Morning in Lyttleton. (DUNIH 2008.44.1)

When the Morning later departed and headed homeward, as did Ernest Shackleton, along with others. Lieutenant George Mulock thus took on Shackleton’s surveying work, as well as deep sea analysis and taking responsibility for holds, stores and provisions.

Mulock is described as being eager to explore and survey as much of the land as he could. His aptitude and competence earned him high praise from Captain Scott, who gave him the use of his cabin for plotting charts.


Detail of a map by Mulock (K.18.1)

Mulock has the Captain’s cabin to himself pretty well all day and the whole evening, with a large chart table rigged up there on which he is making out the map of all this new country.

Edward Wilson in his Discovery diaries

During a sledging expedition alongside Lieut. Barne – during which they spent 68 days away from Discovery – Mulock surveyed the positions and heights of 200 peaks in Victoria Land; an impressive feat! This work would have been achieved using a theodolite, similar to that shown in this photograph of Lieutenant Edward Evans in 1911.

Lt. Evans surveying with a theodolite. (ROY 30.1.40)

Following the Discovery Expedition, Mulock worked alongside the Royal Geographical Society to collate his extensive work, which was later published by the Society. He was also awarded the Silver Polar Medal.

Mulock was then only twenty-one years of age but… having a natural bent for his work, his services proved invaluable.

Captain Scott in 'Voyages of the Discovery'

During the First World War, Mulock served with distinction in the Gallipoli campaign, as Beach Master at Cape Helles and Sulva Bay. By late 1916, he had been advanced to Commander and was made Captain of HMS Bee, a river gunboat of the Aphis-Class in the China Squadron, retiring in 1920.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Mulock was re-activated. He was appointed Extended Defences Officer for the British Crown Colony of Singapore, charged with the evacuation of the civilian population as Japanese forces closed in. Along with other officers, he was captured in February 1942. The most senior naval officer to be captured, Mulock was also one of the oldest officers (he was 63 when released in 1945) to be transported to Taiwan and held at the Karenko and Shirakawa POW Camps. After the Second World War, Captain Mulock retired to Gibraltar where he died at the age of 81.

Officers and crew of Discovery in 1904. Mulock can be seen in the third row, fourth from the left. (DUNIH 23.1)

His contributions to Antarctic research are marked through the naming of Mulock Inlet and Mulock Glacier.

Immerse yourself in the National British Antarctic Expedition of 1901-1904 at Discovery Point; as you walk aboard the ship in the footsteps of Mulock, to have Discovery’s incredible stories brought to life.

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