Sir Ernest Shackleton (who will not like them)

“If these orders arecabled out, Sir Ernest Shackleton (who will not like them) will spend some more cash in cabling back to this country to try and get the decision … rescinded… if Admiralty orders… are to be cabled by anybody it should not be any outside party but by the Admiralty itself, and I see no necessity for the latter.”

— minutes of the chief censor, Captain Sir Douglas Brownrigg

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Unsympathetic attitude to your material welfare

“Impossible to reply to your question except to say unsympathetic attitude to your material welfare on part of Mawson and [Admiral Sir Lewis] Beaumont and customary attitutde of Navy to Mercantile Marine which it seems resulted from desire of Admiralty to boom its own relief Expedition. Strongly advise patience until you know the details, then exercise skill and tact in getting round difficult but not insuperable position.”

— cable from Ernest Perris to Shackleton

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“Conditions this winter evidently extremely severe. Wooden steam whaler or the Discovery or sea going ice breaker only suitable vessels.”

— cable from Shackleton to Ernest Perris

“Urge immediate dispatch of ice breaker or Discovery. Breakers operating in White Sea either Russian or Canadian should now be free..failing this how long would it take sending Discovery Falklands.”

— cable from Shackleton to British Admiralty

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“…still surrounded by close pack… We are pretty short of both fuel and meat but no one seems to care very much…Sir Ernest’s non-return is now openly discussed. No one likes to think that he could possibly have failed to reach South Georgia, but it is significant of the current of thoughts that Wild has given orders that every scrap of cord and wool and all nails are to be carefully kept in view of the possibility of our having to make a boat journey to Deception Island…”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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“Shackleton was taking his disappointment very badly. As I had feared, the sight of the land to which he had counted on bringing his men…cast him into the depths of despair. For the first time in three years I saw him take a glass of whiskey. He was unaccustomed to it and it affected him at once.”

— Frank Worsley

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Methylated spirits

“Last night we celebrated the second anniversary of the commissioning of the Endurance by an extra tot of methylated spirits. I had enough sugar to add to mine, and with a pinch of ginger, served out too, it was delicious. Salt is getting very scarce and we have to be exceedingly careful how we serve it out. The bays are both full of ice, so no game thought it worthwhile to put in an appearance.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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Chaotic, confused nightmare

“The memories of everything up to now, flit through our minds as a chaotic, confused nightmare. The past twelve months appear to have passed speedily enough and though we have been dwelling here in a life of security for nearly 4 months, this latter period seems longer than the preceding balance of the year. This doubtless is occasioned by our counting the days and the daily expectations of deferred relief, as well as our having no work to perform…

“Surely the old Aurora will come this month, and so the watching day by day and the anxiety for the safety of our comrades of the Caird lay a holding hand on the already retarded passage of time…”

— Frank Hurley

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Deception Island

“And though they were still hesitant to suggest openly that the Caird could be lost, they could no longer avoid admitting, at least tacitly, that something quite possibly might have happened.”

— Alfred Lansing, Endurance

“If so, it means a journey in the ‘Stancomb Wills’ to Deception I. This will be an arduous journey, but I hope I will be picked one of the party if it comes to this.”

— Alexander Macklin

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Particularly monotonous

“Today seems to be particularly monotonous, and the wild magnificence of the precipitous cliffs that limit us to the circumscribed confines of Cape Wild loom through the mist like prison walls, sinister and inaccessible. If there were only some duties, useful or otherwise, to be performed, the burden of time would be more pleasant and at present our sole exercise is to promenade up and down the 80 yards of the spit, or climb to the lookout and scan the misty skyline for a mast. We look forward anxiously to the forthcoming month, when relief is anticipated. One grows weary of continually estimating the days from the ‘Caird’s’ departure to the hoped for arrival of the [relief ship].”

— Frank Hurley

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29 July 1916

Page from diary of Thomas Orde-Lees:

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