Culture

Shackleton #OnThisDay

On 24th of April 1916, Ernest Shackleton and 5 men of his expedition started out in a lifeboat from Elephant Island.

Image credit: prob Frank Hurley, the expedition’s photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1914, Shackleton had made his third trip to the Antarctic with the ship Endurance, with the aim of crossing the Antarctic from the Weddell Sea on one side to the Ross Sea on the other. 

Endurance became trapped in the ice of the Weddell Sea as the temperature dropped dramatically to -20C.

The ship was trapped for 9 months, crushed by the ice and sank on 21st November 1915.

The 28 men of the expedition all escaped. Isolated on the drifting pack ice hundreds of miles from land, with no ship, no means of communication with the outside world and limited supplies.

In April 1916, once the temperature had risen and the ice began to break up, they set off again in three small lifeboats eventually landing on the barren, uninhabited Elephant Island.

In one of the boats, the James Caird, Shackleton and five crew spent a further 16 days crossing 800 miles of ocean to reach South Georgia and then trekked across the island to a whaling station to find help. The remaining men from the ‘Endurance’ were rescued in August 1916, with not one fatality.  Shackleton: Antarctic Endurance Expedition 1914 – 1916

Leave a Reply