Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition
Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctica expedition of 1914 – 1917 is one of the most remembered expeditions ever taken place in Antarctica. He sent out invitations for the task and the invitation said this “Men Wanted: For Hazardous Journey. Small Wags, Bitter Cold, Long Months of Complete Darkness, Constant Danger, and Safe Return Doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.
– SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON”
The intention was to cross the Antarctic continent from one coast to the other via the South Pole. On the expedition they didn’t even step foot on land as they were trapped in the ice. The name of the boat was the ‘Endurance’ because of their family motto which was ‘By Endurance we Conquer’ they had been on the ice for a long time trying to free themselves from their trapped home. Eventually they broke free and went full steam ahead but again they were imprisoned and finally they were called to pack on the ice and they called the camp ‘Patience Camp’ while they abandoned there ship and for hours they watched the Endurance slowly sink ever so slowly. They made it home successfully because Shackleton and 4 others went to get help from South Georgia which was extremely hard because of harsh conditions and climbing difficulties especially with only a piece of rope and a few screws but they did it and they got a whaling ship to rescue the crew. When they got home WW1 was starting and half the crew had to participate. They are remembered for their bravery and courage. And just to show how hard it was professional climbers tried to climb the mountains on South Georgia and even they struggled with professional gear like Crampons, Hand Grips and tents.
This is a timetable of the Endurance:
03 Aug 1914: World War I breaks out
08 Aug 1914: Endurance leaves Britain
05 Dec 1914: Leave South Georgia Island
18 Jan 1915: Enter pack ice, immoveable
24 Feb 1915: Ship routine ceased
25 Oct 1915 Ship cracks under pressure of ice, takes on water, abandoned by crew.
21 Nov 1915: Ship sinks
Mar 1916: Attempts to move camp failed
09 Apr 1916: Set off on foot
18 Apr 1916: Arrived at Elephant Island
24 Apr 1916: Five leave on lifeboat to seek help
09 May 1916 Arrives at South Georgia
30 Aug 1916 Crew rescued on fourth attempt
Ernest Shackleton’s Biography
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton was an explorer who in 1901 joined an expedition to the Antarctic. He was sent home early due to bad health. Devoted to creating a legacy, he led the Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Disaster struck when his ship, the Endurance, was crushed by ice. He and his crew drifted on sheets of ice for months until they reached Elephant Island. Shackleton eventually rescued his crew, all of whom survived the ordeal. He later died while setting out on another Antarctic expedition.
Explorer Ernest Henry Shackleton was born February 15, 1874, in County Kildare, Ireland, to Anglo-Irish parents. The second of 10 children and oldest son, he was raised in London, where his family moved when Shackleton was a young boy. Despite the urging of his father that he follow in his footsteps and go to medical school, the 16-year-old Shackleton joined the merchant navy, achieving the rank of first mate by the age of 18, and becoming a certified master mariner six years later. Upon his return to England Shackleton pursued a career in journalism. Later he was tapped to be secretary to the Scottish Geographical Society. He also made an unsuccessful attempt at becoming a Member of Parliament.
The Crew and their Jobs
Bakewell, William – Able Seaman
Blackborow, Percy – Stowaway (later steward)
Cheetham, Alfred – Third Officer
Clark, Robert S. – Biologist
Crean, Thomas – Second Officer
Green, Charles J. – Cook
Greenstreet, Lionel – First Officer
Holness, Ernest – Fireman/stoker
How, Walter E. – Able Seaman
Hudson, Hubert T. – Navigator
Hurley, James Francis (Frank) – Official Photographer
Hussey, Leonard D. A. – Meteorologist
James, Reginald W. – Physicist
Kerr, A. J. – Second Engineer Macklin. Dr. Alexander H. – SurgeonMarston,
George E. – Official Artist
McCarthy, Timothy – Able Seaman
McIlroy, Dr. James A. – Surgeon
McLeod, Thomas – Able Seaman
McNish, Henry – Carpenter
Orde-Lees, Thomas – Motor Expert and Storekeeper
Rickinson, Lewis – First Engineer
Shackleton, Ernest H. – Expedition Leader
Stephenson, William – Fireman/stoker
Vincent, John – Able Seaman
Wild, Frank – Second in Command
Wordie, James M. – Geologist
Worsley, Frank – Captain
Frank Worsley= Eccentric and indispensable to the expedition, Worsley’s uncanny navigational skills could hit small islands at hundreds of miles range with only occasional readings, the minimum of instruments and in the worst possible conditions.
Lionel Greenstreet= First Officer = Lionel Greenstreet served in the merchant navy and joined the Endurance just 24 hours before it left Plymouth, England. The original first officer had resigned in order to join the war effort (1st world war).
Hubert Hudson = The best penguin catcher a skill of great value during the time that the crew drifted on the pack-ice of the Weddell Sea and while awaiting rescue on Elephant Island. Hudson suffered particularly badly from ill health in the boats before Elephant Island and also when waiting for rescue. His first name is correctly spelled Huberht the old Anglo-Saxon way, rather than the more common Hubert.
Thomas Crean = An experienced seaman and highly respected Antarctic hand. Rather gruff in the way he dealt with the world, Crean was nonetheless effective and another of the unsung heroes of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration. He served both Scott and Shackleton and outlived them both.
Other Notable and Interesting Antarctic Expeditions
Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration
Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition