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Shackleton in Punta Arenas (1916)
Weekly reports from "The Magellan Times" — the news as it happened

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"The Magellan Times", 21 September 1916

Departure for the North
Affectionate Farewell from Punta Arenas

As we announced in our last issue, the Yelcho with Sir Ernest Shackleton and the other members of the expedition rescued from Elephant Island, left Punta Arenas on Friday last [15th] in order to go to Santiago with the object of personally thanking the President of the Republic for the noble service in enabling him to save his marooned companions.

At a quarter past four in the afternoon the Commander-in-chief of the Apostadero Naval, Admiral Lopez, the Alcaldes and other local authorities and a large number of members of the British Community assembled in the rooms of the British Association in order to bid fare well to these men who have won the esteem and regard of all here.

Several speeches were made and suitably replied to by Sir Ernest in his usual eloquent style.

Immediately afterwards the majority of those present proceeded to the mole where the people of Punta Arenas had assembled in great numbers. On the arrival of the departing guests vociferous cheers were raised and as they proceeded along the mole their friends bid them an affectionate farewell.

No sooner had all the men embarked than the anchor was raised and the Yelcho slowly steamed out of the harbour amidst the most enthusiastic hurras, followed by the singing of «Auld Lang Syne».

The following letter was sent to the British Association by Sir Ernest Shackleton before leaving:--

15th September 1916
The President and Members, British Association of Magallanes.
As we are leaving to-day for England, on behalf of all my comrades and myself I wish to thank you for the many kindnesses we have received at your hands from the first moment I arrived here seeking relief for my men until the end of these happy days spent with you when all was well with us.
You have given us a home here and it is with sincere feelings of regret that we leave.
Yours sincerely,
(sgd) E. H. Shackleton

Shackleton and the Falkland Islands

The point of view taken by the Falkland Islands of the Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition in general and Sir Ernest Shackleton in particular, is clearly expressed in an article headed «The Antarctic Bubble» which appeared in the edition of «John Bull» dated July 22nd.

«Not a soul in Stanley seemed to care one scrap, not a flag was flown and no one seemed to care a cuss about him» are the words which describe Shackleton's arrival at Port Stanley. What a reception to a man who had travelled 720 miles in an open boat, who had crossed the snowy peaks and treacherous glaciers of South Georgia, who had risked death a hundred times that he might save his fellow men on Elephant Island. They did not seem to care a «cuss» about the men marooned on Elephant Island either, for if it had been left to the people of the Falkland Islands, Frank Wild and his gallant little party would still be fighting against the gaunt spectre of starvation.

An old kelper is said to have remarked «'E ought ter 'ave been at the war long ago, instead of messing about on icebergs.» Are the people of the Falkland Islands aware that after war was declared Shackleton offered his ships and his men for the service of the country and that he was instructed to proceed with the expedition? Such criticisms not only wrong a brave man but they do incalculable damage to national prestige.

The fact that Britain can carry on Polar exploration and scientific research whilst in the throes of the greatest war man has ever known, cannot fail to impress neutral nations.

To Chile has fallen the honour of rescuing the Elephant Island party and Chile has shown how proud she is to have done it. Uruguay did her utmost and every one of the South American Republics would have given of their best to such a gallant cause had it been required of them.

Shackleton has done more for British prestige in South America than years of diplomatic relations could accomplish, for the Latin races admire bravery above all things and Shackleton and his men have shown their pluck a thousand times since the «Endurance» sank in the Antarctic pack.

After the war Shackleton proposes to carry the King's Flag across the Antarctic Continent and for the honour of Flag, may he do so; he will go, we hope from Chile, midst the hurras of every man, woman and child on the South American Continent and every Britisher will thank God that Britain still produces such men to do honour to the Flag.   

[21 September 1916]

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