Where would the idea of running a pub come from? Although Tom had probably spent enough time on the other side of the bar during his time in the Royal Navy like most sailors of that time (and since) it’s a big step to cross over to the other side. One reason could be from his old pal Taff Evans, Taff had told Tom of his plan to open a pub back in Wales upon retirement; tragically Taff was the first to die of the Scott five man team to attempt the pole.
Maybe it was the spur he needed in memory of his old ship mate. Or, it could have come from the Missus, Nell, “his long haired pal” who was used to pub life and working a bar, either way Tom and Nell opened the South Pole Inn, Annascaul. Not that he was a feature behind the bar that was down to Nell and later when daughter Eileen was old enough she was encouraged not to leave and pursue her own career dreams but to work in the family pub. Tom was more likely to be found at the end of the bar reading his paper and keeping up with the news from overseas. A private and modest man Tom kept his head down and didn’t step into the limelight, the only people Tom would likely to regale with his tales of adventure on the Antarctic Continent would be the school children on their way to and from school. Sadly, politically, the time was too dangerous to be perceived as hero of the Royal Navy.