Ernest Joyce | later life

Later life

Post-expedition career

After his return to New Zealand Joyce was hospitalised, mainly from the effects of snow blindness, and according to his own account had to wear dark glasses for a further 18 months.[64] During this period he married Beatrice Curtlett from Christchurch.[65] He was now probably unfit for further polar work, although he attempted, unsuccessfully, to rejoin the Navy in 1918.[66] In September 1919 he was seriously injured in a car accident, which led to months of convalescence followed by a return to England.[67] In 1920 he signed up for a new Antarctic expedition to be led by John Cope of the Ross Sea party, but this venture proved abortive.[68] He continued to maintain his claims to financial compensation from Shackleton, which caused a breach between them,[69] and he was not invited to join Shackleton's Quest expedition which departed in 1921. He applied to join the British Mount Everest expedition of 1921–22, but was rejected.[70]

He was in the public eye again in 1923 when he was awarded the Albert Medal for his efforts to save the lives of Mackintosh and Spencer-Smith during the 1916 depot-laying journey. Richards received the same award; Hayward, and Ernest Wild, who had died of typhoid during naval service in the Mediterranean in 1918, received the award posthumously.[70] In 1929 Joyce published a contentious version of his diaries under the title The South Polar Trail,[71] in which he boosted his own role, played down the contributions of others, and incorporated fictitious colourful details.[72] Thereafter he indulged in various schemes for further expeditions, and wrote numerous articles and stories based on his exploits before settling into a quiet life as a hotel porter in London. Bickel's assertion that Joyce lived into his eighties, beyond the date (1958) of the first Antarctic crossing by Vivian Fuchs and his party,[73] is not supported by any other source. Joyce died from natural causes, aged about 65, on 2 May 1940.[74] He is commemorated in Antarctica by Mount Joyce at 75°36′S 160°38′E / 75°36′S 160°38′E / Mount Joyce).[75]


The polar historian Roland Huntford sums up Joyce as a "strange mixture of fraud, flamboyance and ability".[12] This mixed assessment is endorsed in the assortment of views expressed by those associated with him. Dick Richards of the Ross Sea party described him as "a kindly soul and a good pal",[76] and others shared the favourable opinions expressed by Scott and Markham, confirming Joyce as a "jolly good sort", though unsuited for command.[77] On the other hand, Eric Marshall of the Nimrod Expedition had found him "of limited intelligence, resentful and incompatible",[78] while John King Davis, when refusing to join the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, told Shackleton: "I absolutely decline to be associated with any enterprise with which people of the Joyce type are connected".[79]

Joyce's versions of events recorded in his published diaries have been described as unreliable and sometimes as outright invention—a "self-aggrandizing epic".[72] Specific examples of this "fabulism" include his self-designation as "Captain" after the Ross Sea expedition;[70] his invented claim to have seen Scott's death tent on the Barrier; the misrepresentation of his instructions from Shackleton regarding his sledging role, and his assertion of independence in the field; his claim to have been offered a place on the transcontinental party when Shackleton had made it clear he did not want him there;[31] and his habit, late in life, of writing anonymously to the press praising "the famous Polar Explorer Ernest Mills Joyce".[80] This self-promotion neither surprised nor upset his former comrades. "It is what I would have expected", said Richards. "He was bombastic [...] but true-hearted and a staunch friend".[81] Alexander Stevens, the party's chief scientist, concurred. They knew that Joyce, for all his swaggering style, had the will and determination to "drag men back from certain death".[31] Lord Shackleton, the explorer's son, named Joyce (with Mackintosh and Richards) as "one of those who emerge from the (Ross Sea party) story as heroes".[82]

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العربية: إرنست جويس
Deutsch: Ernest Joyce
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italiano: Ernest Joyce
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português: Ernest Joyce
русский: Джойс, Эрнест