Sir Daniel Fulthorpe Gooch 3rd Baronet Gooch, of Clewer Park, died on 22 December, 1926. Gooch was an expert breeder of greyhounds and was, for a short period, the dog handler of Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-continental Antarctic Expedition.
Gooch matriculated at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, at Michaelmas term, 1889.
He succeeded his father, Sir Henry Daniel Gooch, as the 3rd Baronet Gooch on 24 June 1897. He also held the office of Justice of the Peace for Berkshire.
Having initially rented Hylands House and estate, south-west of Chelmsford, Essex, in 1905, Gooch purchased Hylands in 1907, and modernised the house, with the installation of electricity and telephones.
After some unfavourable men failed to satisfy Shackleton in the role of dog expert for the Imperial Trans-continental Antarctic Expedition, Shackleton engaged Gooch to fill the role in 1914. Gooch sailed with Shackleton’s expedition dogs from Liverpool in October, 1914, and caught up with ‘Endurance’ at Buenos Aires. As Frank Wild later wrote:
‘To save the dogs a long sea voyage in cramped quarters on the Endurance, Shackleton arranged that they should go to Buenos Aires on the La Negra, a 12,000-ton cargo ship, carrying a few passengers.
‘I [Frank Wild] travelled in charge, having with me as assistants Sir Daniel Gooch – an old friend of Shackleton’s, [James Mann] Wordie – Geologist and [Reginald William] James – Physicist, of the expedition and one of the staff from Hackbridge Dogs’ Home, where the dogs had been lodges during their stay in England. We all signed on as ABs, at a shilling a month, but our duties on board were confined to looking after the dogs and our accommodation was the best on the ship. When we arrived at Buenos Aires, Sir Daniel Gooch insisted on receiving his discharge and shilling, both of which he had framed.’
Gooch had his pay and papers framed because he was proud of his contribution to Shackleton’s great, Antarctic venture, or perhaps because it was, as he said himself, the first money he had ever actually earned!
Wild remembered the routine of care and maintenance for the dogs and their housing during the journey very well. Particularly noteworthy was the work required to break up fights that broke out amongst the dogs. It took more than half an hour on one especially rough day to get all the dogs separated and into their kennels. Wild and Gooch were later told that their swearing during that work had led the onlooking passengers to leave the men to it!
Wild recalled Gooch fondly:
‘There never was a better disciplined AB afloat than Sir Daniel Gooch, wither in the Royal Navy or the Merchant Service…He obeyed all orders promptly and cheerfully… He was possessed of a keen sense of humour and was a delightful companion.’
Gooch signed on Endurance at Buenos Aires as an able seaman despite his social rank. He left the expedition at South Georgia on 3 December, 1914, as his house was requisitioned as a temporary military hospital and he wished to supervise its conversion to ensure that the most modern medical equipment was installed, all at his own expense. Over 1,500 patients were treated there during the war.
In South!, Shackleton wrote:
‘Sir Daniel Gooch came with us as far as South Georgia. I owe him my special thanks for his help with the dogs, and we all regretted losing his cheery presence, when we sailed for the South.’
Wild also noted the expedition’s regret at losing Gooch:
‘Sir Daniel Gooch returned to England from here [South Georgia] and we were all exceedingly sorry to lose him.’
During the time Shackleton was away and the world was ignorant of the adventure and hardships of the men in Antarctica, Gooch was often interviewed and asked for his thoughts of Shackleton, the expedition and the likely course of events. An interview with Gooch in May, 1916, was published and the following was published:
‘He says that aboard the Endurance there was the happiest band of brothers. There were the strictest discipline and attention to duties, but during the few hours’ ease, they were all like Tom, Dick, and Harry. The best omen of success was Shackleton’s rare qualities as a leader. While retaining authority, he inspired everybody with devotion and loyalty. Sir Daniel does not believe that Sir Ernest Shackleton will ever turn back. Shackleton was full of enthusiasm, and his hopes were shared by everybody aboard. Only the biggest obstacle would prevent him getting across.’
Sir Daniel Fulthorpe Gooch died on 22 December, 1926, at Tetchbury Mount, Totton, Hampshire, England. He is commemorated in a monumental inscription at the parish church of St. Mary the Virgin, Widford and Hylands Park.
Image: Daniel Gooch – The Endurance Drawings. Medbh Gillard 2016.
Shackleton, E. H. South! The Story of Shackleton’s Last Expedition 1914-1917. London, 1920.
Evening Post [NZ], 10 February, 1927.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 March, 1916.
The Times, 23 December, 1926; 1 February, 1927.
Is this her, La Negra, the cargo ship that carried Shackleton’s dogs to Buenos Aires?