History

November 2015 will be the centenary of when the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition should have reached the South Pole.

Better known as Shackleton's ' Endurance' expedition, it is an inspiring story of adventure and survival. In August 1914, on the eve of the outbreak of the First World War, Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty seven men set sail for the Antarctic. The aim was to acheive the first crossing of  this largely unknown continent. Disaster struck though in January 1915 when Endurance became trapped fast in the pack ice en route to the start point. As a result, the ship drifted with the ice for ten months before she finally sank, leaving the crew shipwrecked. The entire company spent the winter on the ice before escaping to Elephant Island in the lifeboats they had salvaged from their doomed ship. In April 1916, six of the party, led by Sir Earnest Shackleton, then sailed 1450Km, in one of the life boats, the James Caird, across some of the most treacherous seas in the world, to the island of South Georgia. Arriving in May 1916, three of the boat party, Shackleton, Crean and Worsley, then made the first major trek across this mountainous island to raise the alarm at the whaling station of Stromness. In August 1916, the fourth attempt at relieving their twenty two crew mates left stranded on Elephant Island finally proved successful. It had been 20 months since Endurance had first become stuck in the ice.

Born in Glasgow in 1889, and a student at St. Johns College, Cambridge, James Wordie was the Endurance's geologist. He was one of the party marooned for five months on Elephant Island. After this life-changing adventure, he went on, amongst other things, to serve in the First World War ( and was wounded whilst doing so), become President of the Royal Geographical Society, Chair of the Scott Polar Research Institute, Chairman of the British Mountaineering Council, and Master of his old College. Sir James Wordie died in 1962.

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