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Shackleton’s triumph

9 months ago

Writer:

Andrew Frankel | Ti co-founder

Date:

11 January 2022

A century ago this month, a very great man died in less than great circumstances. Aged just 47, early in the morning of January 5th 1922, Sir Ernest Shackleton called his doctor to the cabin of his ship, the Quest, as it lay at anchor on South Georgia island. A few minutes later his well worn, already damaged heart finally gave out.

This was the same island to which he had travelled six years earlier across 720 miles of the Southern Ocean in a lifeboat called the James Caird in what has been described as the greatest small boat journey in history, to seek rescue for his shipwrecked crew, left behind on the uninhabited and near uninhabitable Elephant Island.

It had been over a year since that ship, the Endurance, had become irretrievably trapped and slowly crushed to death by polar sea ice. Arriving on the wrong side of the island and despite being starved, exhausted and possessing almost no relevant equipment, he and two others then traversed its frozen, mountainous interior on foot to find help, a trek believed impossible at the time and one that would not be successfully completed again for nearly 40 years.

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