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Shackleton in Punta Arenas (1916)
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"The Magellan Times", 13 July 1916

Lecture by Sir Ernest Shackleton
Punta Arenas, 9th. July 1916.

Introductory speech by the Rev. J. C. Cater.

Señor Gobernador, Ladies and Gentlemen: I have been asked to preside on this most interesting occasion and to introduce to you our distinguished visitor Sir Ernest Shackleton, and his two comrades, Captain F. A. Worsley and Mr. Tom Crean. (Applause) I think we all know the object of Sir Ernest's visit to this place, and I am quite sure that we shall learn from his own lips tonight with what measure of success he has met with regard to the carrying out of that object. In the name of the British Community, and, I think I may venture to add, in the name of all the citizens of this place, we give Sir Ernest and his two comrades a most hearty and cordial welcome to Punta Arenas. (Loud applause). Should the object of his visit meet with ultimate success I think we of Punta Arenas will be glad to know that we have perhaps in some small measure rendered assistance towards the successful issue of our guest's visit here. I will now call upon Sir Ernest to deliver to us his lecture . (Loud and prolonged applause).

Sir Ernest Shackleton

Greeted with enthusiastic ovation

« Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen: The chairman has just made some remarks as regards the object of my visit to Punta Arenas and I am only too sorry that I did not realize before that from Punta Arenas there was an opportunity of making a journey to rescue my comrades. Since I arrived in this city I have not only received practical help. Within 24 hours of my arrival, steps were taken spontaneously to equip a vessel for the rescue of my men and only yesterday a further proof of this practical sympathy was given to me by a message from the president of Chile through the Governor of this Territory offering to put their tow boat Yelcho at my disposal (loud applause). To the British Association of this place I shall never be grateful enough. Whether we are successful or not in saving these men, I lie always under a debt of gratitude to you all. I feel that we are going to rescue them, and I hope that within a fortnight or three weeks time, the twenty-two men at present on Elephant Island will be here fit and well to give you their hearty thanks themselves for the way in which your help has been forthcoming.

I am going to give you a lecture now but unfortunately I have nothing with me in the way of slides to show you, as they are all on Elephant Island; but when I come back I hope to bring them with me and let you see them. The chairman who has just called upon me possesses a certain brevity of his own, which reminds me: -- In the old days when I used to lecture in the small British towns, a chairman once came up to me and said: «Thank you very much for this lecture, the slides were lovely!» I don't want to praise our chairman of tonight, but he is a capital chairman. Ten years ago he was my chairman when I was standing for Parliament and he was just as brief as he is now. I know a chairman who introducing a speaker to whom it had been arranged to allow twenty-five minutes for discourse said «Mr. Smithkins will give his address». Mr. Smithkins rose and said «Mr. Smithkins' home address is 14 Piccadilly, and I wish you all a good night». You get all sorts and conditions of chairman. This has got nothing to do with the Polar Regions. I remember after lecturing at a certain place one of the Aldermen came around to me and enquired «How is it you make a scientific lecture so interesting?» I replied «I just pick out the most stupid looking man in the audience (laughter) Not here of course (more laughter) to whom I address myself, then if I see a gleam of intelligence cross his face I know I am on safe ground». Looking at me he glaringly observed: «I thank you, for it seemed that you were addressing me the whole time».

You know there is such things as pemmican and also penguins and they sometimes get on to our view. A certain chairman told me that he had loved to see the little «pemmicans» running about in the picture.

Once when I was lecturing in the United States there were 25 people in the Hall - there must have been an accident, I am sure (laughter) But you are not? (laughter).

And before I proceed with my lecture I would like to give you just two more anecdotes so that you may be able to form an idea of the sort of lecture you may expect.

I once lectured for the School of Harrow, for which they gave me a pretty handsome fee and a good reception. On the strength of this I tried Eton College. I said I was prepared to lecture down there for the same sum of so-and-so, plus expenses. I received the following reply «In answer to yours etc., this is five times as much as we pay for a really first-class lecturer». (Laughter)

The other one happened in Scotland (Laughter). That's nothing to laugh about. I had just given a certain lecture for charity, so thought I was justified in giving one for myself. I hired a hall at Leith for the sum of £5.--.--, spent £2.10.0 on advertising the event, and then the fateful night arrived. I was living at Edinburgh so treated myself to a cab down to Leith, thinking I would easily be able to spring it out of the proceeds. The only people in the Hall were a drunken man, an old woman and two children. (The place would seat at least six hundred.) Before starting I went outside where the conveyance was waiting to take me back to [Edinburgh] again when I was ready, and I said to the cab-man «If you can get somebody to hold your horses for you, come and hear the lecture.» He said «I ken I am a' richt where I am», so I returned to the Hall and went on with the lecture right through to the bitter end, occasionally witnessing the entrance of another victim through the ever open door. The total proceeds were 25/-. It cost me £7.10.0 and my cab fare etc. down from Edinburgh. When I got home that night my wife asked me how the lecture had gone off. I told her there were twenty-five people inside when I finished the lecture; 25 at 1/- each, that's 25/-. «Well» she said «You've got to take 2/- off that because I sent the cook and one of the maids».

Sir Ernest Shackleton's Lecture

And now I will leave these personal reminiscences and proceed with the lecture. I am not going to start right from the beginning, the preparation of the vessel etc: suffice it say that out of 5,000 good men I managed to pick fifty for the expedition. Some of them had been with me before. Tom Crean was with me fifteen years ago when I was with Captain Scott; he was with Captain Scott on another occasion; however, that is another story.

We set out from Buenos Aires, and from the 26th October 1914 until the 20th May 1916 we heard no news whatever from the outside world, because whilst we were at South Georgia no letters came along. We sailed from the latter place on the 5th December 1914, and the object of the expedition was to try and cross the Antarctic Continent from one sea to another. I had another ship the «Aurora» on the other side of the Continent and she was to land a party at McMurdo Sound in order to lay dépots to meet us crossing the Continent. Meanwhile the «Endurance» would return to civilization and await the news that we had arrived on the opposite side to the starting point. I have had a map drawn which we shall put onto the screen to show you the route that the expedition would be expected to take. In Punta Arenas - here, I am sure you will be glad to see it - covered with figures as it is. One minute, I have got some Spanish here - (loud applause): («Apague la luz» -- «La primera vista». On the chart he indicated the route saying) «We would go from South Georgia - here - land here and then cross the Continent. This is the first 800 miles of unknown land. We would then follow a route made by Captain Scott and myself, then right down here - arriving on the far side of the Antarctic Continent. My other ship would by then be in New Zealand. And that was to be the first crossing of the South Polar Continent; but providence ordained otherwise and we did not get so far.

(Now then, segunda vista please.) The second map when it comes along will be drawn to a bigger scale showing the same Antarctic Continent and the place where my ship went to.

(Upside down - this is the North Pole not the South Pole! … laughter). Up here is South Georgia and this is the track of the ship's route down here.» He proceeded to demonstrate again the route across the ice to the other side of the Continent where the «Aurora» from New Zealand arrived, pointing out new land on the chart.

« On the 5th December 1914 we left South Georgia and three days after entered the pack-ice of the Weddell Sea. Instead of the ice being loose and easily worked we found it very heavy; in fact 1915 was abnormal in the Antarctic region. For fifteen days we picked our way through an extremely heavy pack, in places from thirty to forty feet thick, experiencing much difficulty, in consequence of which our progress was very slow.

On the 10th January (about a month after we left South Georgia) we saw land: Bruce's (Expedition of [1904?]) position, which we passed by.

We had twenty eight men -- but only about twelve of us were sailors, the rest had not been to sea very much and they naturally suffered. But they were very willing to make the best of things and do their best. I remember one of these men was at the wheel one day and there was an iceberg ahead of us. I gave the order to the helmsman «hard a-port». The command was not immediately obeyed, so I asked the man at the helm why he didn't put her «hard a-port». He said, «Well, I had to blow my nose, I couldn't help it.» Still we went along and each day we saw new things and certain signs of land. Finally we sighted land that had never been seen by human eyes. There is a sensation when one sees land that nobody else has ever seen, and that feeling is difficult to describe to you. We continued on our journey, seeking shelter from the north-east gales wherever, and whenever, such protection could be enjoyed. As we went south we noticed a great migration of seals. They evidently knew instinctively what was coming better than we did. The weather and conditions for the time of year were phenomenal, and we very soon recognized that the ice was going to close up, and the winter coming on much earlier than has hitherto been our experience, so there was nothing for it but to make for the open seas again.

We thought we could get through, though our desires were for the South, but on the 17th January 1915 the ice closed about the «Endurance», never to open again except to let her down to the bottom of the sea. We could then sea land about ten miles ahead of us, but the circumstances at that time revealed little hope of escape. However, about the middle of February the temperature dropped as low as 19/20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, and with the ice firmly formed about us, we thought we might be able to make a march. We spent a day and a half in trying it, but were unable to effect any appreciable progress. Our coal, which was very valuable, was running short.

All precautions were taken to prepare the ship for the winter. The sledges were put on the upper deck, the cabins down below evacuated and habitations established within easy access to the ice. The ward-room was turned into a cabin, which was afterwards known as the «stables», whilst the galley was referred to as the «Ritz». And then our winter life began. In March 1915 the temperature varied between 25 and 30 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Everything was properly organized and preparations completed so that at a moment's notice we could leave the ship, in case of need, and establish our camp on the ice. The dogs were regularly exercised daily to keep them fit, and incidentally, their masters too. When we started we had 60 dogs, but owing to illness 20 of them died. The others were very well looked after - divided into teams of seven or eight dogs in each man's charge. There was great competition between these men as to who was going to have the best team. I have seen men go into the galley and surreptitiously seek out some valuable food for their dogs. The speed at which these dogs can travel pulling a load of from 100 to 150 lbs. weight is about four miles an hour and they can keep that up for ten hours. They were wonderful dogs but very jealous of one another, more especially the dog that happened to be leader; but they were always kept in order. Now with these dogs we were ready for any emergency should our quarters have to be shifted.

As we looked towards the south (before the beautiful winter nights drew on) we could see land, but it was far, far away and there was no chance of getting there. By June we knew that we were in for a solid drift and that we would eventually reach away to the North. I may mention our position was latitude 77 South. Then we started to drift to the west - then to the north. In the beginning of July signs of distant trouble came to us. You must understand that we were now in a great sea covered with floating ice 20, 30 and even 40 feet thick - there were huge icebergs in that sea also. When this ice floats on the current, travelling onwards towards the land, continually adjusting and readjusting itself, the pressure from the coast is such - the force sets up a terrific pressure of millions of tons - that no vessel can stand against it but the type specially constructed to go to these regions, and made to lift on with the ice. As far as that goes, our ship was one of the best ever built. It was built by Cristiansen of the port of Christiania Norway. It is needless to tell you that Norwegians have been the greatest builders of Polar vessels as they have been the greatest navigators of the polar regions. It was Amundsen who discovered the north-west passage. Amundsen reached the South Pole first; and, what the Norwegians don't know about wooden ship-building is not worth knowing - because they know everything. The finest work possible was put into the «Endurance», not only for money, but for sheer interest in the cause of our expedition (and after all, that is the best one can put into anything; interest in the work!) and so if the pressure had not begun with such phenomenal prematureness I feel we might have been all right.

But this great pressure of ice tumbling into hills of forty or fifty tons, the distant groaning of which communicated itself through the intervening ice, caused us anxiety. It came nearer and nearer and I then realized that my ship would soon become envolved. At one time we used to walkout and watch the effects of this pressure - see the great masses of ice heaved up and rolling over one another. About mid-July it was about 40 yards away from us; until finally it knocked its way along towards us, and reached the level of the ship. At about 9 o'clock on the morning of the 1st of August, I went on the floating ice and just as I spoke to Crean, at about 10 o'clock, the ice split under my feet. I ordered all dogs on board and we stood by whilst the sickening pressure sent the «Endurance» before it, sometimes half in the water, sometimes almost out of the water, one and a half or two miles, when the pressure ceased and she slid back into the water all right, except for a damaged rudder.

The temperature was then between 10/15 degrees Fahrenheit. From the 1st August last year to the 20th May this year I never took off my clothes as we had all to be on the alert to be able to do our share at a moment's notice. We had to keep a strict watch at night - each man taking his turn - because sometimes the ice opens slightly and coming together again is apt to nip the ship. Everything was handy in order to get away with the least possible hindrance. Crean was in charge of the sledges and Capt. Worsley of the navigation and instruments, and every man knew his allotted place the moment the call came that he was to abandon the ship. I was still hoping that we should never have to resort to such measures, but about the middle of September we found that a great stranded iceberg was coming down upon us with the current and we only escaped collision with it by about 80 yards.

Early in October the pressure became worse and worse, and one day the ship was suddenly - in ten seconds - thrown on her beam ends without the slightest warning. Think of a big ship like ours being thrown about like that and you can imagine the force of the ice. Everything was cracking, her beams bent and there was a sign of strain all over the ship, and we thought that was the end.

She was about 7 or 8 feet out of the water, but slid back again, leaking badly. We worked day and night trying to pump her out. She was terribly twisted, her sides being open six inches in every ten feet. We constructed a coffer-dam to help matters but the pressure got at us again and all our work was undone.

On the 25th October the ship lay with her bows driven into one piece of ice and with the natural cross-movement, one could then see her twisting. Her stern-post and rudder were torn out and the keel aft was ripped up by the ice. So we were obliged to abandon the ship and put everything we could on shore, or rather on the ice, where we passed that night. Next morning we saw land and we thought we had a good chance of getting there. About noon on the 26th the pressure became more violent ; the ship had also begun to fill. We tried the pumps again; then we felt the beams buckle up, then the 'tween-decks; the sides of the ship were pierced and I knew that she was doomed. The force of the ice drove the motor engine right through the galley, and the galley through the wardroom, the cabins splintered and the doors jammed so that one could not get through them; the lower part of the ship was pretty well occupied by water. I therefore ordered all hands to get onto the ice again and at five o'clock that evening leaving the flag flying I abandoned the «Endurance» myself for good.

We had to leave our camp because the pressure was becoming more dangerous there, so we found another place where we thought we could camp for the night, but I observed that there was a nasty crack right through that piece and we had to spend the time shifting our stores etc. to a safer piece of ice. Next morning we decided to arrange our equipment and load for the march. We had about forty dogs, the three boats, and stores calculated to be sufficient for the twenty-eight men for fifty days. Whilst we were doing this work our cinematographer started to take photographs of the smashed and sinking ship, when the mainmast snapped and was hurled within a few feet of where he stood, but he never stopped taking the photograph, and if this is developed it will be a very remarkable picture. We have got over 5,000 feet of these moving pictures and I hope you'll see them some day. Personally I never felt like going on board again: she was a sort of ideal, and with her my ideals disappeared for the time being.

Now when we left the ship we were 346 miles from the nearest land. Apart from our stores we could get no food. We were unable to march very fast, but I thought we might do four or five miles per day at least, so we started out. Unfortunately we found that owing to the pressure ridges, to work the loads was too heavy. As time went on, of course, the stores were becoming shorter, and I thought that if this went on, as we had only 50 days provisions and 346 miles between us and the land mentioned, our difficulties would never end. So I decided to make a camp on the ice where we were trusting all the time for a north-west drift (in the meantime we had been able to return to the wreck and salve about 100 cases of stores), and wait until the summer came so that we could put the boats into the water and pull for the North.

Before I go on there are a few pictures of the Antarctic regions which I have to show you, although they have nothing to do with our Expedition.

(Picture on the screen, a couple of huge icebergs). This is the kind of thing that was all around our small ice camp; we encountered over 125 of these bergs. We had one berg with us from the 17th January 1915 and we had only lost sight of it on the 9th April this year.

So we started drifting North hoping that in a month or two we would get out into the sea and eventually reach land again, but all November passed, and we only did sixty miles per month. Sometimes we had to shift our camp on the floe because the icebergs would come and knock a lump off it; and so the floe on which we were stranded became smaller and smaller, until towards the last it was little bigger than the area of this theatre.

I must tell you that on the 23rd December we left the floe and made another attempt to march but after five days only succeeded in covering nine miles. We marched more by night than day really because during the night a hard crust usually formed, although at times we still sunk up to our knees. We latterly encamped on a drifting floe which we called «Patience Camp» -- a good name for it, because all January, February and March of this year were spent on the same piece of ice which also became smaller as it drifter northwards. In March we saw the distant peaks of Joynville Land - about 50 miles intervened between us and this land. The temperature now got very low. A fearful winter blizzard came on through which we passed a whole night long. Worse than that the food began to get lower. As we were now reduced to one meal per day, and that only a good meal if we managed to catch a seal; we never neglected a single part of that seal - brains and everything went down and if one had to go short on any occasion it was his turn next time, and so on. Every morsel was valuable. The camp was formed of two eight-men tents, three four-men tents, and we had built a galley of snow walls with a bit of canvas and an oar over the opening for a door, and made a stove out of a couple of oil tins. The food was as equally divided as possible, but sometimes there would be a dish of this and a dish of something else; so that to do away with the matter of choice, one man would turn his back and another pointing to the range and the variety of rations would call out «whose is this». The man with his back turned would give a name and so the stuff was allotted. But such is human nature that when one got one's own supply it always looked smaller than the rest.

We were going to make a boat journey eventually and had to economise stores as much as we could. At the end of January we shot our dogs, though we were very sorry to have to do this. There was not much fun in eating the tough old dogs, but the little puppies that had been born with us (like balls of fluff to look at), were pretty tender. I can tell you that fried dog is very fine, although I had more than my share as each man would bring me a fried piece of his own particular dog. But there was one tender-hearted man who could not bear to think of his dog being skinned - they were tough old brutes anyhow - so he had them buried. He saw to this bit of work very carefully but the pressure round about the ice one day threw those dogs about 40 feet into the air. (Laughter). Here we stayed for a while, but the trouble was that the ice was on the move and any minute might break up. We were able to get an occasional seal and at one time had bagged about 500 penguins. The skins of the latter we used as fuel and the blubber from the seals too. Blubber is not a very nice thing to eat but our men had so acquired the habit of chewing a piece of this valuable fuel that I had to order that no blubber was to be taken for food.

The beginning of April this year - between the end of March and 6th April - we saw the peaks of Clarence Island in the South Shetlands, about 70 miles distant.

On the 8th April we had a narrow escape from destruction, a great berg crushed past within 200 yards of us leaving in its wake masses of churned up ice.

At last after blocked in the ice for over one year we managed to get freely afloat, but again our party was very nearly annihilated. That night we pulled our boats up onto a piece of ice about the size of this place here, but with the swell going on in the night, it commenced to split. I heard a sort of scramble in the men's tent, and managed to get there in time to pull one of the men out of the water in his sleeping-bag. The ice had opened right under the tent. Next morning it opened more and more and eventually I was the only one left on one part of the ice; a boat had to be brought across to take me off. Later on we found a spot where the three boats and all the men could be got onto the ice and we had something hot to eat and drink. The wind came up from the east and we started to run and pull, so we made our direction west to try and reach Deception Island. That night we came out into open sea almost but the sea was so bad, and the gale so severe, that we had to return to shelter to save ourselves and the boats. The wind increased and during the night a floe-berg got undermined near us and we could hear the water booming under the ice; pieces would every now and then be swept away and the ice got smaller and smaller. I remember one huge berg that came floating along in our direction; it was shaped like some enormous antediluvian monster rising and ducking the swell. But that night there was no chance to run at all, so we had to drift with the ice-floe, still progressing to the west as we thought. When daylight came we got away from the floe and picked our way among the floating ice. That day we passed from 100 to 120 seals basking in the sun. At noon we took our positions, and found that after all our efforts we were ten miles further east than we had been when we started. I realized now that there was no chance of reaching Deception Island so I turned northwards for Clarence Island. The temperature was still well below zero, the wind was fiercer, but sheltering to lee of the pack we ran all night, without anything hot to eat or drink. We were exceedingly happy when the morning came; in a tremendous swell but with an increasing wind behind us we went driving into the seas so that in the afternoon we were racing before a gale towards Elephant Island. I slackened sail to wait for the other boats and before night I decided to heave to and hitch the other boats to our own. All that night we lay in the open sea, the temperature so low that the boats were weighed down by the ice that formed about them. We had to keep continually breaking off the ice and baling out the boats. Most of the men suffered badly and some were suffering from frostbite.

Next morning we could see Elephant Island in the distance, and also Clarence Island. My boat had to be patched with bits of wood and canvas where the ice had holed her. Naturally when the ship was finally abandoned we had to leave all personal belongings behind to enable us to travel as light as we could afford to, and the only chart we had with us to consult was a small one dated 1820 which had been torn out of one of the books. At 4 o'clock with our boats' noses ducking into the seas we saw signs that told us we were in for another blow, and later the high waves burst into the boats and we were kept busy baking them out all the time. All that night we battled with the wind amidst continuous snowstorms. For a time we lost sight of Capt. Worsley's boat; he was unable to come up to us in the squall. By the morrow the blizzard had ceased, we could already see the cliffs of Elephant Island. I asked the other boats if they were all right and then proceeded to put on more sail, my object being to get to the other side of the island. The waves were huge - we could here them breaking on the cliffs - and our little boat plunged into the sea so heavily that we had to slacken off a bit. We eventually made the lee side of the island and there I saw a nice looking bay and a bit of beach at the foot of the cliffs. We headed straight for it and ran the boats up. The first thing we did was to quench our thirst for the first time for two or three days. Some of our men were suffering badly from frostbite and exposure, and all of us were completely fatigued. Thus on the 16th April we landed; and this was the first land that we had been on since the 15th December 1914. Well we were unable to stay there long because the high spring tides would cover the beach, but in spite of that I allowed the men to sleep that day.

On the next day we moved 7 miles to westward, where there was another beach, but this beach was worse than the first and could not be seen at high tide. The men however, were not in a condition to go any further, so we started to dig a hole in the ice wall, and in that ice hole now, are twenty-two of my men. I then decided that the only thing to do was to try to reach South Georgia in one of our boats and secure help.

(The Big Scale Map, please!) I want to show you clearly the track of the ship to the point where she was sunk, and then to let you follow our journey to Elephant Island.

We were now rather short of provisions because we had started into our sledge stores. When we left the ship everything was abandoned with the exception of scientific records, photographs and the flags that the King and Queen presented to us. All personal gear was left behind - oh, there was one book; an Encyclopaedia Britanica, some of the pages of which made very good tinder for lighting our pipes. (Laughter).

(He then followed the track again of the «Endurance», pointed out South Georgia; where the ship stuck in the ice; and the South Pole.)

As I was saying, we next decided to try to go from Elephant Island to South Georgia - a distance of about 750 miles. So I called for volunteers and all hands volunteered to go out on this long boat journey. It was too hopeless a feat to attempt in the two lighter boats which were not in very good order for such a journey after the last one; only the 22 feet boat could be used for it, and even this was sadly knocked about. So we tried to make her better, but there was nothing to do it with excepting a few bits of sledge runners, scraps of canvas, and pieces of somebody's pet oilpaintings. Still we improved her a little, although the weather was very bad on the Island and it took us some considerable time to fix her up.

On the 24th April we started away from Elephant Island; there were six of us; three of whom were thrown into the water, but were quickly pulled into the boat although pretty well wet through. The boat then started to ship water, and some of this froze, and we spent our time picking the ice off and baling the slush out of the boat. We only saw the sun three times all the way to South Georgia. On the fourteenth day we sighted the cliffs of South Georgia but the weather became bad with the wind from the North. On the fifteenth day we pitched about in the fiercest hurricane that I have ever heard. The mast bent with the force of it and at one moment we thought it was going to snap but gradually the weather cleared again; we could hear, though not see, the waves breaking on the land. At six o'clock that night the wind came around to the southwest and we had to stand off. Next morning we went back and we realized that it was going to blow again. We had no water and we were pretty weak after fifteen days out without dry clothing and in such awful cold. We eventually succeeded in running her into a little cove, but were too weak to haul up the heavy boat, so all night we held on to her in case of danger, and the following morning did our best to leave her firmly beached. The rudder fell off and went out to sea, yet next afternoon, to our surprise, the rudder came floating back into the little cove; fancy, with thousands of miles before it, to find its way back there. We found this a lonely enough place, but we were obliged to spend three or four days there recuperating on young albatross and whatever we could make up our rations with. While looking outwards one day we were greeted by the great roar of sea elephants showing that there was plenty of food about.

The island of South Georgia had never been crossed by anybody and nobody knew what the interior was like. Two of our men were pretty bad by this time, and I decided that three of us would try and cross the island and leave one man in charge. At three o'clock the following morning Cap. Worsley, Crean and myself started, each man with his share of food and all slung together with a rope. We trudged along for 36 hours, except for half an hour to cook a meal. We went up, and across glaciers, over mountains, up and down all manner of undulations, sometimes travelling at 4/5,000 feet above the sea level. Our trousers were not very good to begin with but by that time they were not worth anything at all. It was pioneer work crossing that island. At five o'clock in the morning, we had half an hour's spell. Then we went on; there was a very steep bit of slope to go up. We laboured up that steep slope and said that we would have another spell when we reached the top of it, but when we got there we found ourselves looking down into Stromness Bay, which we immediately recognized. The night before we three had embraced one another, not for the love we had for one another (laughter) but to keep warm; now at the sight below us we found ourselves excitedly shaking hands with one another. Though we were a considerable way off we could hear the steam whistles blowing down below; that was the first sound of the civilized world we had heard for over one and a half, nearly two years, the scene and the sound from that place were more stimulating than anything to us. We followed our mark but came up against another slope. We didn't want to climb any more mountains, we were fed up with them (laughter). So we started to make a straight descent. Crean and Worsley lowered me down, then they came sliding down after me. It took us two and a half hours to get down one of the slopes we navigated. We knew our troubles were over and we started down the last bit of the descent with no loss of time. The only way down from that point was by a waterfall, and we came down that waterfall pretty quickly.

As we had not shaved for ten months we had long beards and were very dirty as well. We asked two young boys (I can quite understand their fear) the way to the Manager's house but they turned around and fled. Mind you none of us were looking what you might call respectable. (laughter). We managed to find the Manager's house, knocked at the door and asked if Mr. Surly was in; the woman who answered it closed the door in our faces after having eyed us somewhat suspiciously. Then Mr. Surly came along: I said «Good afternoon, Mr. Surly, don't you know me?» He very coldly responded «Good afternoon, I'm afraid I don't, unless you are the mate of the schooner «Daisy»?». «I am not the mate of the «Daisy», I said, my name is Shackleton». He was extremely pleased to see us and at once took us into his house, fed us, and gave us good hot coffee. We had baths, our beards came off, and we felt like human beings once again. The kindness we received there, not only from the manager of the Factory, but from everyone at the Whaling Station, we shall never forget. (Looking at Tom Crean to his right): «I think that is one of their suits you have on!» (Laughter) «He's looking at my boots». (Loud laughter) Yes they came from there also. Capt. Worsley went round with the Norwegian whaler «Southern Sky» and returned to Stromness with the three men we had left on the other side of the Island. On the Tuesday we started out in the same whaler to try and reach my comrades on Elephant Island but failed, as she was not quite suitable for the work.

We returned to the Falkland Islands, and from there went up to Montevideo where the Uruguayan Government lent us one of their trawlers; and in her we managed to penetrate to within 20 miles of where my men are awaiting help. But this iron vessel was too heavy for the work and certain engine troubles increased our difficulties, so we were unable to do any more and had to return again.

In the meantime of course I had wired to England telling them what had happened and received a message in reply to the effect that a relief expedition was coming out; but I thought every minute being precious to us, I would come across to Punta Arenas (while the relief expedition from England was being prepared, and on her way out here) to see whether anything could be fixed up here and a suitable boat procured.

At the time we left Elephant Island there were five full weeks rations for the men - i.e. ten weeks on half rations - and two seals. They might be able to get penguins also, but I cannot swear to it. So every day counts as to the lives of these 22 men I have left on the island. They are all men with good hearts, and they have got a man Wild, (who was on Scott's first expedition, on my last expedition, and now on this one) who IS a man, and I hope you will all see him. He is second in command of the present expedition. He is a man (as a Norwegian once told me) of strong character and he has the confidence of everyone on that island, just as I have his confidence; and these two men here (pointing to Capt. Worsley and Tom Crean) know this as well as I do.

So you can imagine we are anxious right down in our hearts to get these good fellows back; and I must say that it is one of the best moments and times of my life to feel the response that came up, and the suggestion that the thing should be done right here from Punta Arenas. And it was done quickly. Here, I have received help and encouragement, and I hope to bring the men back to thank you personally, as I know our people at Home will do.

Before I stop I must tell you that an Expedition is being equipped by the New Zealand and Australian Governments to take the other men off from McMurdo Sound. There is no anxiety about these men, all their stores were landed and they have sufficient food to keep them for three or four years.

Our expedition has not been a real success, but that only means putting it off for a time. The business now is the saving of these men I have been speaking about, and when that is done, and I can gather men about me for another expedition, we shall cross the Antarctic Continent. Not only is it the joy of exploring but there are scientific problems to be solved, matters of weather that affect even this country here. The weather is affected by the sea -- down here especially, and by this study we come to a better knowledge of what weather may be, its effect on stock and so forth. Apart from that scientific record, there is the desire to see new lands and to be the first to cross new continents. I [know] we have not succeeded this time but success invariably follows failure. My name has been known to the general public for a long time and it has mostly been as leader, but how much depends upon the men! What I do would be small, did we not work well together. Though we did not succeed this time, it means we will.

I appreciate my men on Elephant Island, and the two men I have on my right are fine fellows.

(Rapid exit of the modest Capt. Worsley and Tom Crean).

Rev. J. C. Cater

I am sure we have all listened to Sir Ernest with a great deal of interest tonight. The homely way in which he has told us his story has helped to make the lecture all the more interesting. I would ask all of you to give Sir Ernest a hearty vote of thanks for his very instructive as well as entertaining lecture and to join with me in devoutly hoping and praying that the relief ship which is being fitted out here may be successful in rescuing his twenty-two brave comrades on Elephant Island. (Loud and prolonged applause).

Sir Ernest Shackleton replied to the vote of thanks and wished everybody «Good Night».

Banquet at the Gobernación

On Thursday evening last [6th], His Excellency, the Governor of the Territory, gave a banquet at the Gobernación in honour of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

At the conclusion of the repast His Excellency spoke as follows:--

« Sir Ernest, excuse me these few words. It is a great pleasure to us to have you here. I want you to know how sincerely I hope that you will be able to rescue your brave companions of the expedition and have a happy and merry return to your country, where you will surely be much honoured with the conquest that, with your efforts, you have made to the knowledge of geography and the progress of science. I drink to your health and to the welfare of England. »

After drinking this toast Sir Ernest Shackleton responded as follows:--

« Your Excellency, I am very pleased that I came to Chile and I wish to thank you for the hospitality which I have received at your house, and more especially for the kind words you have used in hoping for the ultimate rescue of my comrades in Elephant Island. I feel that although they are far away, the kindness that you have shown to me is an earnest of the kindness that they will receive on their arrival in Punta Arenas. »

Señor Urrutia Semir then proposed the health of Lady Shackleton and her children, which was drunk with great enthusiasm, and was suitably responded to by Sir Ernest.

The following people assisted at the banquet:-- His Excellency Don Fernando Edwards, Doña Javiera Ortúzar de Edwards, Señoritas Oriana and Teresa Edwards, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Captain Vallejos, Mr. J. E. Bell, Don Francisco and Señora Campos, Señor and Señora Urrutia Semir, Mr. and Mrs. T. R. D. Burbury, Mr. and Mrs. M. Rooze, Mr. W. Peet, Mr. Mariano Edwards, and Mr. F. D. Paton.

Telegram from the President

On Saturday evening [8th] His Excellency, the Governor of the Territory received the following telegram from the President of the Republic:--

Please greet Sir Ernest Shackleton and place the Government patrol boat «Yelcho» at his disposition, in order that this celebrated explorer, who I hope will be extremely successful, may be able to rescue his gallant comrades,

Shackleton Relief Expedition

The British Association of Magallanes has decided to pay for the organisation and equipment of a relief expedition to rescue the members of Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition who were left on Elephant Island. To this end, a fund was immediately started, and a number of persons wishing to transfer the amounts which they had subscribed to the «Magellan Times» Aeroplane Fund, the list commenced with some £700. Other subscribers readily came forward, and as we go to press the Fund has reached about £1,500, a figure which is probably sufficient to cover the cost of the expedition.

The schooner Emma, with Sir Ernest Shackleton and his two companions, Captain Worsley and Mr. Crean on board, left at midnight on Wednesday [12th] for Elephant Island. She is being towed by the Government patrol boat Yelcho, which will take her two hundred miles south of Cape Horn.

[13 July 1916]

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