The Wearing o’ the Green

The Endurance sailed from London’s East India docks today.

“In delicate allusion to the fact that there are… Irishmen in the Expedition, including the leader…the pipers struck up ‘The Wearing o’ the Green’.”
— Manchester Guardian

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North Sea flight


Taking off in his Blériot XI-2 plane, from Cruden Bay, Scotland, [Tryggve] Gran landed 4 hours 10 minutes later at Kleppe, near Stavanger, Norway, after a flight of 465 kilometres (289 mi).

“It is the longest oversea flight without sight of land which has so far been made. Lieut. Gran stopped his engine, and gliding down through the clouds landed safely at 5.18 p.m., English time, on the shore of a lake 20 miles south of Stavanger. The distance of 320 miles had therefore been covered in 4 hrs.”

Flight, “Official Organ of the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom,” No. 293, Aug. 7, 1914. Stanley Spooner, Founder and Ed.

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Royalty Chart


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Brookings Institute

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First cousins


Tsar Nicholas II and King George V


Kaiser Wilhelm II

“Wilhelm’s left arm was damaged during birth; throughout his life he could not dress or cut his food without help. He was jocular but cold and arrogant and prone to flattery. He loved military uniforms and practiced his ‘fierce’ look for photographers. Alas, Ms. Carter writes, quoting a German general, Wilhelm could not ‘lead three soldiers over a gutter.’

“A world-class narcissist, Wilhelm had an inane opinion about everything. ‘He would personally inform the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg that he was conducting Peer Gynt all wrong,’ Ms. Carter writes, and ‘tell Richard Strauss that modern composition was “detestable” and he was “one of the worst.” ‘

“George was a dull mediocrity — he feared clever people and intellectuals, calling them ‘eyebrows’ — who spent much of his time as an adult collecting stamps and shooting. He didn’t mix with interesting people, spoke no foreign languages and had what Ms. Carter calls a ‘barking temper.’ He sulked if he was not allowed to win at tennis.

“Nicholas grew up, even by the standards of European royalty, in almost unimaginable luxury — Ms. Carter describes a childhood spent in ‘a series of snow-covered palaces.’ His family’s pile outside St. Petersburg contained 900 rooms. ‘One estimate put the number of royal servants across the Romanovs’ palaces at 15,000,’ she writes. Nicholas called the secret police who guarded him ‘naturalists’ because they were always leaping from behind trees.

“Nicholas loved rural life, so much so that he quickly fell out of touch with his country and had little idea of the changes that were sweeping over it. He too was an obsessive hunter: ‘667 dead creatures for 1596 shots fired,’ he noted one day in 1893.

“Ms. Carter writes incisively about the overlapping events that led to the Great War and a changed world. It was not a good time to be a king — or a kaiser or czar. New winds were whipping on the political stage. In England the statesman David Lloyd George was an especially articulate class warrior, declaring: ‘All down history nine-tenths of mankind have been grinding corn for the remaining tenth and have been paid with husks and bidden to thank god they had the husks.’ People listened. They paid attention, too, to their increasingly unfettered press. The London newspaper The Daily Mail, Ms. Carter points out, ‘would identify Germany as Britain’s key enemy well before the British government did.’

“The real tragedy was that neither George, Nicholas nor Wilhelm was built to adapt to a changing world; their time was evaporating. ‘As great mass movements took hold of Europe,’ Ms. Carter observes, ‘the courts and their kings cleaved to the past, set up high walls of etiquette to keep the world out and defined themselves through form, dress and precedence.'”

—Dwight Garner, New York Times review of Miranda Carter’s George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I

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Robert Clark, biologist


Robert Clark, biologist

“Both [Clark and Wordie] were ‘dour Aberdonians.'”
— Roland Huntford, Shackleton

“He was never quite so excited as when he had found a new or novel specimen for his biological collections. [...] Clark was known for his willingness to turn out for any work that needed to be done and to always pull at least his own weight.”

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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 and head of the scientific staff, and such was his commitment to the expedition that he gave Shackleton some of his own money to help buy fuel for the Endurance. He was known by the crew for a dry sense of humour and much loved as he was willing to trade his tobacco ration for rock specimens. … He had also become a proficient rock climber in Germany and Switzerland, a skill all the better for a geologist to pursue his interest.”
— from

Biography: Polar Crusader: Exploring the Arctic and Antarctic

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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 so earning the name “Chippy” (sometimes “Chips”) as so many other carpenters have been. He was actually more than a carpenter, being a shipwright and so able to build boats and ships from raw materials; this placed him in the relative position of woodworking royalty compared to other carpenters. He was one of the real characters of the expedition, much respected as a sailor of long standing and experience: in addition to his exceptional skills in his chosen profession, he also had a good knowledge of metal work.

He was the owner of the only pet on the voyage, the ship’s cat called “Mrs. Chippy” (in fact a tom-cat).

McNish was not adverse to voicing his opinion; he was prone to questioning authority and speaking his mind, an attitude that clashed directly with one of Shackleton’s main principles, that of loyalty.

He held strong socialist views all his life.”

— from

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