Author Archives: Ernest Shackleton

About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.

Sir James Wordie, geologist

Sir James Wordie, known as “Jock,” geologist and head of the expedition’s scientific staff. “Wordie was recommended to Shackleton for the expedition by Raymond Priestley (later knighted) who had been the geologist on the Nimrod expedition. He was expedition geologist … Continue reading

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Not adverse to voicing his opinion

“Mrs. Chippy” perched on Perce Blackborow “Henry McNish was one of the oldest members of the expedition, a Scot of whom Shackleton wrote was “the only man I’m not dead certain of”. This somewhat curmudgeonly figure was the ship’s carpenter … Continue reading

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Harry “Chippy” McNeish

“[McNeish was] neither sweet-tempered nor tolerant and his Scots voice could rasp like frayed wire cable. He had no use whatever for a gangling first-tripper who spoke, as he expressed it, “like a pimp at a whore’s tea-party”… I loved … Continue reading

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The generation of 1914

“Like men longing for a thunderstorm to relieve them of the summer’s sultriness, so the generation of 1914 believed in the relief that war might bring.” — a Hapsburg official, quoted in Thunder at Twilight, by Frederic Morton

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A royal visit

Ernest Shackleton (second from left), Queen Alexandra (third from left), Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, Emily Shackleton (in white), Edward Shackleton (child). “Shackleton received Queen Alexandra when, at her own desire, she inspected Endurance at the London docks, and … Continue reading

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Alfred Cheetham, Third Officer

“Cheetham the veteran of the Antarctic had been more often south than any other man.” — Ernest Shackleton, on Alfred Cheetham, third officer aboard the Endurance “Alfred Cheetham was born in 1867 in Liverpool. He was a small, lean man … Continue reading

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Dr. James McIlroy

James McIlroy, second surgeon aboard the Endurance “…having been abroad in so many places, I couldn’t have settled down in England.” — James McIlroy “A sardonic, sarcastic blighter.” — Lionel Greenstreet “McIlroy heard by chance at his club that Shackleton … Continue reading

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Tom Crean

“Tom Crean was an Irishman from County Kerry, and a Royal Navy petty officer. Crean was undeniably tough, determined and experienced. He had been to the Antarctic on Discovery, and again with Scott on his second expedition. “Crean was not … Continue reading

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Many a wise face would look foolish without specs

“The interview was very brief — ‘Why do you want to go?’ ‘I don’t know, I just want to.’ ‘You look fit enough are you perfectly healthy…?’ ‘Perfectly fit.’ ‘What is wrong with your eyes?’ ‘Nothing.’ “At this I could … Continue reading

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Magnetician and Physicist

“‘Gentle Jimmy’ was the expedition’s magnetician and physicist. Macklin wrote that he had: ‘some wonderful electrical machines which none of us understood…and a joke of ours that annoyed him very much was that he did not either.’” “Like many of … Continue reading

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