The Night Watch


“We take night watchman in rotation and thus one’s turn comes once every 28 days. Duties consist of keeping alight the fires in the ward room, the upper deck ward room, Sir Ernest’s cabin and the fo’csle. As they all want attention about once an hour, there is plenty to do.

“On all polar expeditions it has been the time-honored tradition that each member should have a hot tub on his night on, and we are in the main no exception to the rule. Now and again a night watchman may be so busy that he actually has not the time to indulge in his long-deferred ablution. Owing to the frequent necessity of keeping a watchful eye on the stoves, of which the one in Sir Ernest’s cabin requires attention every half-hour, it is not too easy to fit in the time.

“If one should miss a bath for any reason it follows that a period of four weeks must elapse between one bath and the next, which is too long for most of us even in these latitudes.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

Clark on Night Watch

Clark on Night Watch

About Ernest Shackleton

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