Scrubbing the decks

James Wordie, Alfred Cheetam, Alexander Macklin

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“Wuzzles”

worsley-with-sextant

“[Worsley] was fundamentally light-hearted, given to bursts of excitement and unpredictable enthusiasms…. He felt it was his duty to play the part of commander, but he was woefully out of place in the role. His tendency to indulge his moods became obvious one Sunday morning, when a church service was being held. After some appropriately reverent prayers, the idea struck him to sing a few hymns — and he broke up the proceedings by clapping his hands and demanding impetuously, ‘Where’s the ruddy band?'”
— Alfred Lansing, Endurance

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Æneas Mackintosh and the Ross Sea Party

Ross Sea party members: Back row from left: Joyce, Hayward, Cope, Spencer-Smith. Centre: Mackintosh third from left, Stenhouse fourth from left.

Ross Sea party members: Back row from left: Joyce, Hayward, Cope, Spencer-Smith. Centre: Mackintosh third from left, Stenhouse fourth from left. Photo by Frank Hurley. (Wikipedia)

“Æneas Lionel Acton Mackintosh was born on 1 July 1879 in Tirhut, India. He was educated at Bedford Modern School and in 1894, joined the Merchant Navy.

“Mackintosh was granted leave to join the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907 – 1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton), as navigator and second officer of Nimrod on her initial voyage to Lyttelton, New Zealand, and later as a member of the shore staff. While unloading stores at McMurdo Sound, he lost his right eye in an accident and returned in Nimrod to New Zealand for medical treatment before rejoining the shore party in January 1908.

“After the expedition, Mackintosh was despatched by Shackleton as a member of an unsuccessful gold-mining expedition to the Carpathians and spent three months on the Cocos Islands in the South Pacific in search of Spanish treasure.

“In 1914, he resigned his post as assistant secretary to the Imperial Merchant Service Guild in Liverpool to join the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Ross Sea Party], 1914 – 1917 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton). Mackintosh was appointed Captain of Aurora and leader of the Ross Sea party, with the task of laying a chain of depots across the Ross Ice Shelf towards the Beardmore Glacier, providing supplies for Shackleton’s trans-polar party.” [source: Scott Polar Research Institute]

Mackintosh

More about Mackintosh: ibiography.info.

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Ulysses

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Ulysses (1833; publ. 1842)

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The expedition would go ahead

jamescaird_person

Sir James Key Caird, largest donor to the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition

“Sir James Key Caird (1837-1916) was a wealthy Dundee jute manufacturer and philanthropist, to whom Sir Ernest Shackleton wrote in 1914 asking for a donation of £50. Caird promised £10,000 and in the event gave £24,000—a huge amount of money in 1913/4, amounting to many millions of pounds in today’s terms—to Shackleton’s 1914-16 Imperial Transantarctic Expedition, thus making the privately-financed Endurance trip possible.”
jamescairdsociety.com

Read a short biography of Caird, and see additional images (including scenes inside his factories) at jamescairdsociety.com.

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Now!

Out of your whole life give but a moment!
All of your life that has gone before,
All to come after it, — so you ignore,
So you make perfect the present, condense,
In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment,
Thought and feeling and soul and sense,
Merged in a moment which gives me at last
You around me for once, you beneath me, above me —
Me, sure that, despite of time future, time past,
This tick of life-time’s one moment you love me!
How long such suspension may linger? Ah, Sweet,
The moment eternal — just that and no more —
When ecstasy’s utmost we clutch at the core,
While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut, and lips meet!

by Robert Browning (1812-1889)

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Departure

endurance-launch-aug

8 August 1914

“The Endurance sailed from Plymouth, obeying the direct orders of the Admiralty.

“I make particular reference to this phase of the Expedition as I am aware that there was a certain amount of criticism of the Expedition having left the country, and regarding this I wish further to add that the preparation of the Expedition had been proceeding for over a year, and large sums of money had been spent. We offered to give the Expedition up without even consulting the donors of this money, and but a few thought that the war would last through these five years and involve the whole world. The Expedition was not going on a peaceful cruise to the South Sea Islands, but to a most dangerous, difficult, and strenuous work that has nearly always involved a certain percentage of loss of life.

“And so we left, not without regret that we could not take our place there, but secure in the knowledge that we were taking part in a strenuous campaign for the credit of our country.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

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