Belgrave Edward Sutton Ninnis (22 June 1887 – 14 December 1912) was born in Streatham and a British Lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers and an Antarctic explorer who was a member of Sir Douglas Mawson's 1911 Australasian Antarctic Expedition.
Ninnis was part of the three-man sledging team, the ‘Far Eastern Party’, with Douglas Mawson and Xavier Mertz, who headed east on 10 November 1912 to survey King George V Land.
After three weeks of excellent progress the party was crossing a glacier (now known as the Ninnis Glacier), when Ninnis fell through a snow-covered crevasse. Mertz had skied over the crevasse lid, Mawson had been on his sled with his weight dispersed, but Ninnis was jogging beside the second sled and his body weight is likely to have breached the lid.
Mawson and Mertz continued their journey towards the main base, about 300 miles away, killing and eating dogs as they went. Mertz died on 8 January 1913, possibly of Vitamin A poisoning from eating husky livers. Mawson struggled on, falling through a crevasse at one stage. He reached the main base in early February, only to see the ship Aurora, departing on the horizon. He was forced to remain at Cape Denison for another year, along with six men who had remained behind to look for the sledging party.
Ninnis was the son of British arctic explorer Belgrave Ninnis MD (1837–1922)- died in Streatham and Inspector Surgeon General of the Royal Navy and member of Captain Sir George Nares' British Arctic Expedition of 1875–1876. Ninnis' cousin Lieut. Aubrey Howard Ninnis was an engineer on Shackleton's 1914–1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Ross Sea Party.
Image 2 "Sledging stores up the ice slopes south of Cape Denison. Ninnis in the lead" Taken by Xavier Mertz. State Library of New South Wales