A FAMOUS son of Port Glasgow must finally be recognised as a true hero of polar exploration more than a century after he was snubbed for a medal to mark his huge contribution, a modern-day adventurer has declared.

Harry 'Chippy' McNish was vital in rescuing Sir Ernest Shackleton's entire crew from an ill-fated South Pole expedition which saw their ship Endeavour trapped and crushed by polar ice.

It is widely believed that because Chippy spoke his mind, and he and Shackleton didn't see eye to eye, the Port man was overlooked for a Polar Medal by the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Now intrepid explorer Robert Swan OBE is calling on Chippy — a carpenter to trade — to be honoured, and he's coming to the Beacon Arts Centre to give a talk on his own adventures and press the case for McNish.

Swan, 61 — the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles — said: "When I first heard this, I found it hard to believe. McNish is one of the great names in polar exploration and was a crucial cog in what is still one of the greatest human endeavours — the long march and subsequent rescue of Shackleton's entire crew."

He added: "It is accepted that Shackleton and McNish did not see eye to eye, and that is why he was denied a medal, but now it is surely time for the Royal Geographical Society to give him, and his descendants, the recognition he fully deserves."

The Telegraph told in 2002 how Chippy's family were campaigning for a posthumous Polar Medal for his endeavours during the 1914-1916 Shackleton expedition.

He was the ship's carpenter and took part in a nightmare 800-mile sea trip in an open lifeboat to bring rescue for the stranded men — and his skill in reinforcing the vessel enabled it to survive some of the world's most treacherous waters.

However, he and five other members of the expedition were denied the medal — in Chippy's case apparently because of a brief rebellion over pay when they were stuck on the ice.

Explorer Swan plans to visit a memorial plaque in Chippy's honour at Port Glasgow Library during his visit to Inverclyde.

He and his son Barney set off on a 600-mile South Pole trek using only renewable resources, and with a solar-powered snow melter designed by the team at Ardgowan Distillery.

Swan says that medals are normally given to all polar explorers.

He said: "I have a Polar Medal, my son has a Polar Medal — I can see no reason why Chippy should not have one too."

Swan will be speaking at the Beacon on September 11 at 7.30pm.