Shackleton rescue voyage

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  • Intro

    It's probably the most extraordinary rescue ever documented. After their ship Endurance was trapped and then destroyed by Antarctic ice, the expeditionary party of Anglo-Irishman Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) was stranded on drifting floes for over a year.

     

    Once within sailing distance of the remote, uninhabited Elephant Island, they struggled there in their tiny lifeboats. With five companions, Shackleton then set out to fetch help in the James Caird, a small open boat. They sailed 800 miles in two weeks of freezing, mountainous and ferociously stormy seas to the inhabited whaling station of South Georgia. Because of currents, they had to land on the opposite side of the island to the station, and trek without sleep for 36 hours over huge glaciers and mountains. Finally they reached the settlement of Stromness, and help - and their first change of clothes for a year and a half.

     

    Eventually, after weather setbacks, a rescue ship made it to Elephant Island. Thanks to the courage, bravery, and resilience of his party, and Shackleton's decisive leadership, every man, astoundingly, survived.

     

    Image Copyright: John Frost Newspaper Archive

     

    Shelfmark: British Library Newspaper Archive

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