RRS Discovery is a barque-rigged auxiliary steamship built for Antarctic research, and launched in 1901. She was the last traditional wooden three-masted ship to be built in the United Kingdom. Her first mission was the British National Antarctic Expedition, carrying Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton on their first, and highly successful, journey to the Antarctic, known as the Discovery Expedition.
After service as a merchant ship before and during the First World War, Discovery was taken into the service of the British government in 1923 to carry out scientific research in the Southern Ocean, becoming the first Royal Research Ship. The ship undertook a two-year expedition – the Discovery Investigations – recording valuable information on the oceans, marine life and being the first scientific investigation into whale populations.