George Melville was an early Arctic Explorer. In 1873 the Polaris Expedition became stranded in Baffin Bay in the Arctic. Melville volunteered for the rescue operation, serving as Chief Engineer on the rescue ship Tigress.
In 1879 he also volunteered for for George DeLong's Arctic Expedition seeking to find direct path to the North Pole. This expedition became ice bound, and the exploration party had to abandon ship for three small lifeboats. Melville commanded one of the life boats, and his boat was the only one to make it back to land safely. He then set back out in search of the other boats. He found one group dead from exposure, and the third group was never found.
I find it amazing what tame lives most of us live these days, by historical standards. Pretty boring, if you ask me.