Ernest Shackleton
Antarctic Explorer
Ernest Shackleton
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, CVO, OBE, FRGS was an Anglo-Irish polar explorer, one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. His first experience of the polar regions was as third officer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, from which he was sent home early on health grounds.
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Classical music | A vintage year - Kansas City Star
Google News - over 5 years
The latter tells the story of Ernest Shackleton's heroic voyage to and from Antarctica through highly imaginative music and puppetry. Behrmann always likes a holiday concert that's off the beaten path, and this year she's bringing the 12-piece Burning
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King of picture perfect penguins - Adelaide Now
Google News - over 5 years
Mr Griffin arrived just in time to capture the pink sunset hues and penguins' icy reflections during a visit to Gold Harbour on the island of South Georgia, where he spent three days following the footsteps of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton
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Photos of Scott's South Pole expedition unlocked in Royal Collection - WalesOnline
Google News - over 5 years
Among the most arresting images of Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition are those of the ship Endurance listing in the frozen depths and then crushed between floes. Endurance sunk in Antarctic ice in 1915 and forced the crew to abandon ship
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This much I know: Dermot O'Leary - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
The explorer Ernest Shackleton is a big hero of mine. I like to think I'm a bit of an expert on him. He was a real leader, but he was never afraid to say he was wrong. I recently found out that one of my great-great uncles is buried on the same island
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Heroes of the Ice Age -
Google News - over 5 years
Ernest Shackleton, Robert Scott, Robert Peary and Roald Amundsen set off with one prevailing purpose: to reach the extremities of the earth. Hardy, maniacal, even at times suicidal, they scattered 'firsts' and 'furthests' across the ice: the furthest
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90th anniversary of Shackleton's final expedition - The Independent
Google News - over 5 years
This year marks the 90th anniversary of Ernest Shackleton's final voyage to Antarctica. The Irish explorer was a key figure in the Heroic Age of Polar exploration, and his death in 1921 marked the end of this period of discovery
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Spirits of the South Pole
NYTimes - over 5 years
''It's daft,'' a man settled in a Glasgow pub said to me not long ago, talking about the sums that rare Scotch whiskies sometimes fetch at auction -- the bottle of Dalmore 64-year-old, for example, that sold last month for nearly $200,000. ''If you pay that much, you canna drink it, and wha's the use a just lookin' at the bottle?'' But just as
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Exploring a war's clashing ideals - Vancouver Sun
Google News - over 5 years
In 1914, at the onset of the Great War, the explorer Ernest Shackleton set off for Antarctica. He was out of reach of the rest of the world, trapped in the ice after his ship had sunk, for nearly two
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Exploring a war's clashing ideals - Edmonton Journal
Google News - over 5 years
In 1914, at the onset of the Great War, the explorer Ernest Shackleton set off for Antarctica. He was out of reach of the rest of the world, trapped in the ice after his ship had sunk, for nearly two
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Short term forklift truck hire solution for Antarctic exploration - Materials Handling World Magazine
Google News - over 5 years
Every year BAS sends two ships - RSS Ernest Shackleton and RSS James Clark Ross - to Antarctica and putting the stores together at its headquarters can prove a massive task, especially when the ships are due to set sail or return to the UK
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The pioneers of Antarctic research - New Scientist (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Chapter by chapter, Larson leads his readers through the puzzles of Victorian science that defined the goals of Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton: geology, geomagnetism, cartography, oceanography, glaciology, and eugenics
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In Race To South Pole, Scott Lost ... Or Did He? - NPR
Google News - over 5 years
by NPR Staff Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton and two members of his expedition team pose with a Union Jack within 111 miles of the South Pole in 1909. The early 20th century was the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. Teams of explorers from multiple
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Scott Centenary: where Britain is still in pole position -
Google News - over 5 years
The last man to perish, albeit of natural causes, was Scott's sometime companion and later rival, Ernest Shackleton, in 1922. For Shackleton and his kind, achievement and heroism lay in making it through to unreached places against appalling odds
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The Ultimate Scotch On The Rocks: Shackleton's Whisky, Reborn After A Century ... - Huffington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
That's Shackleton as in Sir Ernest Shackleton, explorer extraordinaire, whose stash of whisky was abandoned more than 100 years ago in the Antarctic permafrost, and was painstakingly excavated, analyzed and recreated for 21st century taste buds
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ernest Shackleton
  • 1922
    Age 48
    Hussey returned to South Georgia with the body on the steamer Woodville, and on 5 March 1922, Shackleton was buried in the Grytviken cemetery, South Georgia, after a short service in the Lutheran church, with Edward Binnie officiating.
    More Details Hide Details Macklin wrote in his diary: "I think this is as 'the Boss' would have had it himself, standing lonely in an island far from civilisation, surrounded by stormy tempestuous seas, & in the vicinity of one of his greatest exploits." On 27 November 2011, the ashes of Frank Wild were interred on the right-hand side of Shackleton's grave site in Grytviken. The inscription on the rough-hewn granite block set to mark the spot reads "Frank Wild 1873–1939, Shackleton's right-hand man."
    In the preface to his 1922 book The Worst Journey in the World, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, one of Scott's team on the Terra Nova Expedition, wrote: "For a joint scientific and geographical piece of organisation, give me Scott; for a Winter Journey, Wilson; for a dash to the Pole and nothing else, Amundsen: and if I am in the devil of a hole and want to get out of it, give me Shackleton every time".
    More Details Hide Details In 1993 Trevor Potts re-enacted the Boat Journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia in honour of Sir Ernest Shackleton, totally unsupported, in a replica of the James Caird. In 2002, Channel 4 produced Shackleton, a TV serial depicting the 1914 expedition with Kenneth Branagh in the title role. Broadcast in the United States on the A&E Network, it won two Emmy Awards. In a 2011 Christie's auction in London, a biscuit that Shackleton gave "a starving fellow traveller" on the 1907–09 Nimrod expedition sold for £1250. In January 2013, a joint British-Australian team set out to duplicate Shackleton's 1916 trip across the Southern Ocean. Led by explorer and environmental scientist Tim Jarvis, the team was assembled at the request of Alexandra Shackleton, Sir Ernest's granddaughter, who felt the trip would honour her grandfather's legacy. In October 2015, Shackleton's decorations and medals were auctioned; the sale raised £585,000.
    A few moments later, at 2:50 a.m. on 5 January 1922, Shackleton suffered a fatal heart attack.
    More Details Hide Details Macklin, who conducted the postmortem, concluded that the cause of death was atheroma of the coronary arteries exacerbated by "overstrain during a period of debility". Leonard Hussey, a veteran of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition, offered to accompany the body back to Britain; however, while he was in Montevideo en route to England, a message was received from Emily Shackleton asking that her husband be buried in South Georgia.
    He refused a proper medical examination, so Quest continued south, and on 4 January 1922, arrived at South Georgia.
    More Details Hide Details In the early hours of the next morning, Shackleton summoned the expedition's physician, Alexander Macklin, to his cabin, complaining of back pains and other discomfort. According to Macklin's own account, Macklin told him he had been overdoing things and should try to "lead a more regular life", to which Shackleton answered: "You are always wanting me to give up things, what is it I ought to give up?" "Chiefly alcohol, Boss," replied Macklin.
  • 1921
    Age 47
    Rowett agreed to finance the entire expedition, which became known as the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition. On 16 September 1921, Shackleton recorded a farewell address on a sound-on-film system created by Harry Grindell Matthews, who claimed it was the first "talking picture" ever made.
    More Details Hide Details The expedition left England on 24 September 1921. Although some of his former crew members had not received all their pay from the Endurance expedition, many of them signed on with their former "Boss". When the party arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Shackleton suffered a suspected heart attack.
    In 1921, he returned to the Antarctic with the Shackleton–Rowett Expedition, but died of a heart attack while his ship was moored in South Georgia.
    More Details Hide Details At his wife's request he was buried there. Away from his expeditions, Shackleton's life was generally restless and unfulfilled. In his search for rapid pathways to wealth and security, he launched business ventures which failed to prosper, and he died heavily in debt. Upon his death, he was lauded in the press, but was thereafter largely forgotten, while the heroic reputation of his rival Scott was sustained for many decades. Later in the 20th century, Shackleton was "rediscovered", and rapidly became a role model for leadership as one who, in extreme circumstances, kept his team together in a survival story described by cultural historian Stephanie Barczewski as "incredible".
  • 1920
    Age 46
    In 1920, tired of the lecture circuit, Shackleton began to consider the possibility of a last expedition.
    More Details Hide Details He thought seriously of going to the Beaufort Sea area of the Arctic, a largely unexplored region, and raised some interest in this idea from the Canadian government. With funds supplied by former schoolfriend John Quiller Rowett, he acquired a 125-ton Norwegian sealer, named Foca I which he renamed Quest. The plan changed; the destination became the Antarctic, and the project was defined by Shackleton as an "oceanographic and sub-antarctic expedition". The goals of the venture were imprecise, but a circumnavigation of the Antarctic continent and investigation of some "lost" sub-Antarctic islands, such as Tuanaki, were mentioned as objectives.
  • 1919
    Age 45
    Shackleton returned to the lecture circuit and published his own account of the Endurance expedition, South, in December 1919.
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    He was discharged from the army in October 1919, retaining his rank of major.
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    For his "valuable services rendered in connection with Military Operations in North Russia" Shackleton was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1919 King's Birthday Honours, and was also mentioned in despatches by General Ironside.
    More Details Hide Details In the midst of seeking capital, however, Shackleton's plans foundered when Northern Russia fell to Bolshevik control.
    Specially appointed a temporary honorary major on 25 April 1919, Shackleton served with the Northern Russia Expeditionary Force in the Russian Civil War under the command of Major-General (later Field Marshal Lord) Edmund Ironside.
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  • 1918
    Age 44
    Four months after the 11 November 1918 Armistice was signed, Shackleton was back in England, full of plans for the economic development of Northern Russia.
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    On 22 July 1918, he received a temporary army commission in the rank of major.
    More Details Hide Details Shackleton was then briefly involved in a mission to Spitzbergen to establish a British presence there under guise of a mining operation. On the way he was taken ill in Tromsø, possibly with a heart attack. Appointment to a military expedition to Murmansk obliged him to return home before departing for northern Russia.
    He returned home in April 1918.
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  • 1917
    Age 43
    In October 1917, he was sent to Buenos Aires to boost British propaganda in South America.
    More Details Hide Details Unqualified as a diplomat, he was unsuccessful in persuading Argentina and Chile to enter the war on the Allied side.
    When Shackleton returned to England in May 1917, Europe was in the midst of the First World War.
    More Details Hide Details Suffering from a heart condition, made worse by the fatigue of his arduous journeys, and too old to be conscripted, he nevertheless volunteered for the army. Repeatedly requesting posting to the front in France, he was by now drinking heavily.
  • 1914
    Age 40
    Shackleton published details of his new expedition, grandly titled the "Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition", early in 1914.
    More Details Hide Details Two ships would be employed; Endurance would carry the main party into the Weddell Sea, aiming for Vahsel Bay from where a team of six, led by Shackleton, would begin the crossing of the continent. Meanwhile, a second ship, the Aurora, would take a supporting party under Captain Aeneas Mackintosh to McMurdo Sound on the opposite side of the continent. This party would then lay supply depots across the Great Ice Barrier as far as the Beardmore Glacier, these depots holding the food and fuel that would enable Shackleton's party to complete their journey of across the continent. Shackleton used his considerable fund-raising skills, and the expedition was financed largely by private donations, although the British government gave £10,000 (about £680,000 in 2008 terms). Scottish jute magnate Sir James Caird gave £24,000, Midlands industrialist Frank Dudley Docker gave £10,000 and tobacco heiress Janet Stancomb-Wills gave an undisclosed but reportedly "generous" sum. Public interest in the expedition was considerable; Shackleton received more than 5,000 applications to join it. His interviewing and selection methods sometimes seemed eccentric; believing that character and temperament were as important as technical ability, he would ask unconventional questions. Thus physicist Reginald James was asked if he could sing; others were accepted on sight because Shackleton liked the look of them, or after the briefest of interrogations. Shackleton also loosened some traditional hierarchies, expecting all men, including the scientists, to take their share of ship's chores.
  • 1911
    Age 37
    Filchner had left Bremerhaven in May 1911; in December 1912, the news arrived from South Georgia that his expedition had failed.
    More Details Hide Details The transcontinental journey, in Shackleton's words, was the "one great object of Antarctic journeyings" remaining, now open to him.
  • 1910
    Age 36
    Any future resumption by Shackleton of the quest for the South Pole depended on the results of Scott's Terra Nova Expedition, which left from Cardiff in July 1910.
    More Details Hide Details By the spring of 1912, the world was aware that the pole had been conquered, by the Norwegian Roald Amundsen. The fate of Scott's expedition was not then known. Shackleton's mind turned to a project that had been announced, and then abandoned, by the Scottish explorer William Speirs Bruce, for a continental crossing, from a landing in the Weddell Sea, via the South Pole to McMurdo Sound. Bruce, who had failed to acquire financial backing, was happy that Shackleton should adopt his plans, which were similar to those being followed by the German explorer Wilhelm Filchner.
    He had been in discussions with Douglas Mawson about a scientific expedition to the Antarctic coast between Cape Adare and Gaussberg, and had written to the RGS about this in February 1910.
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    He still harboured thoughts of returning south, even though in September 1910, having recently moved with his family to Sheringham in Norfolk, he wrote to Emily: "I am never again going South and I have thought it all out and my place is at home now".
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    In 1910, Shackleton made a series of three recordings describing the expedition using an Edison Phonograph.
    More Details Hide Details Several mostly intact cases of whisky and brandy left behind in 1909 were recovered in 2010, for analysis by a distilling company. A revival of the vintage (and since lost) formula for the particular brands found has been offered for sale with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust which discovered the lost spirits. On Shackleton's return home, public honours were quickly forthcoming. King Edward VII received him on 10 July and raised him to a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO); in the King's Birthday Honours list in November, he was made a knight, becoming Sir Ernest Shackleton. He was honoured by the Royal Geographical Society, who awarded him a Gold Medal; a proposal that the medal be smaller than that earlier awarded to Captain Scott was not acted on. All the members of the Nimrod Expedition shore party received silver Polar Medals on 23 November, with Shackleton receiving a clasp to his earlier medal. Shackleton was also appointed a Younger Brother of Trinity House, a significant honour for British mariners.
  • 1909
    Age 35
    On 9 January 1909, Shackleton and three companions (Wild, Eric Marshall and Jameson Adams) reached a new Farthest South latitude of 88° 23' S, a point only from the Pole.
    More Details Hide Details En route the South Pole party discovered the Beardmore Glacier (named after Shackleton's patron) and became the first persons to see and travel on the South Polar Plateau. Their return journey to McMurdo Sound was a race against starvation, on half-rations for much of the way. At one point, Shackleton gave his one biscuit allotted for the day to the ailing Frank Wild, who wrote in his diary: "All the money that was ever minted would not have bought that biscuit and the remembrance of that sacrifice will never leave me". They arrived at Hut Point just in time to catch the ship. The expedition's other main accomplishments included the first ascent of Mount Erebus, and the discovery of the approximate location of the South Magnetic Pole, reached on 16 January 1909 by Edgeworth David, Douglas Mawson, and Alistair Mackay. Shackleton returned to the United Kingdom as a hero, and soon afterwards published his expedition account, Heart of the Antarctic. Emily Shackleton later recorded: "The only comment he made to me about not reaching the Pole was 'a live donkey is better than a dead lion, isn't it?' and I said 'Yes darling, as far as I am concerned'".
  • 1908
    Age 34
    To conserve coal, the ship was towed by the steamer Koonya to the Antarctic ice, after Shackleton had persuaded the New Zealand government and the Union Steamship Company to share the cost. In accordance with Shackleton's promise to Scott, the ship headed for the eastern sector of the Great Ice Barrier, arriving there on 21 January 1908.
    More Details Hide Details They found that the Barrier Inlet had expanded to form a large bay, in which were hundreds of whales, which led to the immediate christening of the area as the Bay of Whales. It was noted that ice conditions were unstable, precluding the establishment of a safe base there. An extended search for an anchorage at King Edward VII Land proved equally fruitless, so Shackleton was forced to break his undertaking to Scott and set sail for McMurdo Sound, a decision which, according to second officer Arthur Harbord, was "dictated by common sense" in view of the difficulties of ice pressure, coal shortage and the lack of any nearer known base. Nimrod arrived at McMurdo Sound on 29 January, but was stopped by ice north of Discoverys old base at Hut Point. After considerable weather delays, Shackleton's base was eventually established at Cape Royds, about north of Hut Point. The party was in high spirits, despite the difficult conditions; Shackleton's ability to communicate with each man kept the party happy and focused.
  • 1907
    Age 33
    Study of diaries kept by Eric Marshall, medical officer to the 1907 - 09 expedition, suggests that Shackleton suffered from an atrial septal defect ("hole in the heart"), a congenital heart defect, which may have been a cause of his health problems.
    More Details Hide Details Before the return of Shackleton's body to South Georgia, there was a memorial service held for him with full military honours at Holy Trinity Church, Montevideo, and on 2 March a service was held at St Paul's Cathedral, London, at which the King and other members of the royal family were represented. Within a year the first biography, The Life of Sir Ernest Shackleton, by Hugh Robert Mill, was published. This book, as well as being a tribute to the explorer, was a practical effort to assist his family; Shackleton died some £40,000 in debt (2011: £1.6 million). A further initiative was the establishment of a Shackleton Memorial Fund, which was used to assist the education of his children and the support of his mother. During the ensuing decades Shackleton's status as a polar hero was generally outshone by that of Captain Scott, whose polar party had by 1925 been commemorated on more than 30 monuments in Britain alone, including stained glass windows, statues, busts and memorial tablets. A statue of Shackleton designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens was unveiled at the Royal Geographical Society's Kensington headquarters in 1932, but public memorials to Shackleton were relatively few. Likewise, the printed word saw much more attention given to Scott–a forty-page booklet on Shackleton, published in 1943 by OUP as part of a "Great Exploits" series, is described by cultural historian Stephanie Barczewski as "a lone example of a popular literary treatment of Shackleton in a sea of similar treatments of Scott".
    On 4 August 1907, Shackleton was appointed a Member of the Royal Victorian Order, 4th Class (MVO; the present-day grade of Lieutenant).
    More Details Hide Details On 1 January 1908, Nimrod sailed for the Antarctic from Lyttelton Harbour, New Zealand. Shackleton's original plans had envisaged using the old Discovery base in McMurdo Sound to launch his attempts on the South Pole and South Magnetic Pole. However, before leaving England, he had been pressured to give an undertaking to Scott that he would not base himself in the McMurdo area, which Scott was claiming as his own field of work. Shackleton reluctantly agreed to look for winter quarters at either the Barrier Inlet (which Discovery had briefly visited in 1902) or King Edward VII Land.
    Beardmore was sufficiently impressed with Shackleton to offer financial support, but other donations proved hard to come by. Nevertheless, in February 1907, Shackleton presented to the Royal Geographic Society his plans for an Antarctic expedition, the details of which, under the name British Antarctic Expedition, were published in the Royal Society's newsletter, Geographic Journal.
    More Details Hide Details The aim was the conquest of both the geographical South Pole and the South Magnetic Pole. Shackleton then worked hard to persuade others of his wealthy friends and acquaintances to contribute, including Sir Philip Lee Brocklehurst, who subscribed £2,000 (2011 equivalent £157,000) to secure a place on the expedition; author Campbell Mackellar; and Guinness baron Lord Iveagh, whose contribution was secured less than two weeks before the departure of the expedition ship Nimrod.
  • 1906
    Age 32
    He also ventured into politics, unsuccessfully standing in the 1906 General Election as the Liberal Unionist Party's candidate for Dundee in opposition to Irish Home Rule.
    More Details Hide Details In the meantime he had taken a job with wealthy Clydeside industrialist William Beardmore (later Lord Invernairn), with a roving commission which involved interviewing prospective clients and entertaining Beardmore's business friends. Shackleton by this time, however, was making no secret of his ambition to return to Antarctica at the head of his own expedition.
  • 1905
    Age 31
    In 1905, Shackleton became a shareholder in a speculative company that aimed to make a fortune transporting Russian troops home from the Far East.
    More Details Hide Details Despite his assurances to Emily that "we are practically sure of the contract", nothing came of this scheme.
  • 1904
    Age 30
    On 9 April 1904 he married Emily Dorman, with whom he would have three children: Raymond, Cecily, and Edward.
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    He was then offered, and accepted, the secretaryship of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS), a post which he took up on 11 January 1904.
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  • 1903
    Age 29
    After a medical examination (which proved inconclusive), Scott decided to send Shackleton home on the relief ship Morning, which had arrived in McMurdo Sound in January 1903.
    More Details Hide Details Scott wrote: "He ought not to risk further hardship in his present state of health." There is conjecture that Scott's motives for removing him was resentment of Shackleton's popularity, and that ill-health was used as an excuse to get rid of him. Years after the death of Scott, Wilson and Shackleton, Albert Armitage, the expedition's second-in-command, claimed that there had been a falling-out on the southern journey, and that Scott had told the ship's doctor that "if he does not go back sick he will go back in disgrace." There is no corroboration of Armitage's story. Shackleton and Scott stayed on friendly terms, at least until the publication of Scott's account of the southern journey in The Voyage of the Discovery. Although in public they remained mutually respectful and cordial, according to biographer Roland Huntford, Shackleton's attitude to Scott turned to "smouldering scorn and dislike"; salvage of wounded pride required "a return to the Antarctic and an attempt to outdo Scott".
  • 1902
    Age 28
    During the Antarctic winter of 1902, in the confines of the iced-in Discovery, Shackleton edited the expedition's magazine The South Polar Times.
    More Details Hide Details According to steward Clarence Hare, he was "the most popular of the officers among the crew, being a good mixer", though claims that this represented an unofficial rival leadership to Scott's are unsupported. Scott chose Shackleton to accompany Wilson and himself on the expedition's southern journey, a march southwards to achieve the highest possible latitude in the direction of the South Pole. This march was not a serious attempt on the Pole, although the attainment of a high latitude was of great importance to Scott, and the inclusion of Shackleton indicated a high degree of personal trust. The party set out on 2 November 1902. The march was, Scott wrote later, "a combination of success and failure". A record Farthest South latitude of 82° 17' was reached, beating the previous record established in 1900 by Carsten Borchgrevink. The journey was marred by the poor performance of the dogs, whose food had become tainted, and who rapidly fell sick. All 22 dogs died during the march. The three men all suffered at times from snow blindness, frostbite and, ultimately, scurvy. On the return journey, Shackleton had by his own admission "broken down" and could no longer carry out his share of the work.
  • 1901
    Age 27
    On 17 February 1901, his appointment as third officer to the expedition's ship Discovery was confirmed; on 4 June he was commissioned into the Royal Navy, with the rank of sub-lieutenant in the Reserves.
    More Details Hide Details Although officially on leave from Union-Castle, this was in fact the end of Shackleton's Merchant Navy service. The National Antarctic Expedition, known as the Discovery Expedition after the ship Discovery, was the brainchild of Sir Clements Markham, president of the Royal Geographical Society, and had been many years in preparation. It was led by Robert Falcon Scott, a Royal Navy torpedo lieutenant lately promoted Commander, and had objectives that included scientific and geographical discovery. Although Discovery was not a Royal Navy unit, Scott required the crew, officers and scientific staff to accept voluntarily the conditions of the Naval Discipline Act, and the ship and expedition were run on Royal Navy lines. Shackleton accepted this, even though his own background and instincts favoured a different, more informal style of leadership. Shackleton's particular duties were listed as: "In charge of seawater analysis. Ward-room caterer. In charge of holds, stores and provisions … He also arranges the entertainments."
    His first experience of the polar regions was as third officer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery Expedition 1901–04, from which he was sent home early on health grounds, after he and his companions Scott and Wilson set a new southern record by marching to latitude 82°S.
    More Details Hide Details During the second expedition 1907–1909 he and three companions established a new record Farthest South latitude at 88°S, only 97 geographical miles (112 statute miles, 180 km) from the South Pole, the largest advance to the pole in exploration history. Also, members of his team climbed Mount Erebus, the most active Antarctic volcano. For these achievements, Shackleton was knighted by King Edward VII on his return home. After the race to the South Pole ended in December 1911 with Roald Amundsen's conquest, Shackleton turned his attention to the crossing of Antarctica from sea to sea, via the pole. To this end he made preparations for what became the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914–17. Disaster struck this expedition when its ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice and was slowly crushed before the shore parties could be landed. The crew escaped by camping on the sea ice until it disintegrated, then by launching the lifeboats to reach Elephant Island and ultimately the inhabited island of South Georgia, a stormy ocean voyage of 720 nautical miles and Shackleton's most famous exploit.
  • 1899
    Age 25
    Following the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899, Shackleton transferred to the troopship Tintagel Castle where, in March 1900, he met an army lieutenant, Cedric Longstaff, whose father Llewellyn W. Longstaff was the main financial backer of the National Antarctic Expedition then being organised in London.
    More Details Hide Details Shackleton used his acquaintance with the son to obtain an interview with Longstaff senior, with a view to obtaining a place on the expedition. Longstaff, impressed by Shackleton's keenness, recommended him to Sir Clements Markham, the expedition's overlord, making it clear that he wanted Shackleton accepted.
  • 1898
    Age 24
    In 1898, Shackleton joined Union-Castle Line, the regular mail and passenger carrier between Southampton and Cape Town.
    More Details Hide Details He was, as a shipmate recorded, "a departure from our usual type of young officer", content with his own company though not aloof, "spouting lines from Keats and Browning", a mixture of sensitivity and aggression but, withal, sympathetic.
    Two years later, he had obtained his First Mate's ticket, and in 1898, he was certified as a Master Mariner, qualifying him to command a British ship anywhere in the world.
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  • 1894
    Age 20
    In August 1894, he passed his examination for Second Mate and accepted a post as third officer on a tramp steamer of the Welsh Shire Line.
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  • 1880
    Age 6
    In 1880, when Ernest was six, Henry Shackleton gave up his life as a landowner to study medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, moving his family into the city.
    More Details Hide Details Four years later, the family moved again, from Ireland to Sydenham in suburban London. Partly this was in search of better professional prospects for the newly qualified doctor, but another factor may have been unease about their Anglo-Irish ancestry, following the assassination by Irish nationalists of Lord Frederick Cavendish, the British Secretary for Ireland, in 1882. From early childhood, Shackleton was a voracious reader, a pursuit which sparked a passion for adventure. He was schooled by a governess until the age of eleven, when he began at Fir Lodge Preparatory School in West Hill, Dulwich, in southeast London. At the age of thirteen, he entered Dulwich College. The young Shackleton did not particularly distinguish himself as a scholar, and was said to be "bored" by his studies. He was quoted later as saying: "I never learned much geography at school... Literature, too, consisted in the dissection, the parsing, the analysing of certain passages from our great poets and prose-writers... teachers should be very careful not to spoil pupils' taste for poetry for all time by making it a task and an imposition." In his final term at the school, however, he was still able to achieve fifth place in his class of thirty-one.
  • 1874
    Age 0
    Ernest Shackleton was born on 15 February 1874 in Kilkea near Athy, County Kildare, Ireland, about from Dublin.
    More Details Hide Details Ernest's father was Henry Shackleton, and his mother was Henrietta Letitia Sophia Gavan. His father's family was Anglo-Irish, originally from Yorkshire, England. His mother's family was Irish, from counties Cork and Kerry. Ernest was the second of their ten children and the first of two sons; the second, Frank, achieved notoriety as a suspect, later exonerated, in the 1907 theft of Ireland's Crown Jewels.
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