The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition – Rescue


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Excerpt from The Outlook 13th September 1916 – about the plight and rescue of the men of The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917) – also know as the Endurance Expedition – stranded on Elephant Island.

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917) – Rescue

Welcome news came from Chile last week, of the success of Sir Ernest Shackleton in rescuing the twenty-two men of his party who have been isolated on Elephant Island, in the South Shetland group, since last April.

This was the fourth attempt made by their commander to save these men from starvation.  Previous attempts failed because of the impossibility of finding a suitable ship; the first was actually made in an eighty-ton whaling vessel.  Finally, the Chilean Government lent Shackleton a small Government steamer, the Yelcho, and he sailed in her on August 26 from Punta Arenas, on the Strait of Magellan, the southernmost town in the world.  The sea and ice must have been favorable, for a week sufficed for the rescue and return voyage.  Great fear had been felt for the lives of the men, who had only five weeks rations when Sir Ernest left them on the island.  The chief hope for sustaining life was that they might kill penguins; and that not very palatable bird, in fact, saved their lives.

The story of the early disasters which had befallen both sections of the Shackleton expedition to the Antarctic continent has already been told in The Outlook, as also of the terrible crushing in the ice of Sir Ernest’s own ship, the Endurance, its abandonment, the distressing journey in small boats driven through raging seas and dragged over ice to the inhospitable little bit of land called Elephant Island, and the further journey of Shackleton and five men in a single boat from Elephant Island to the coast of South Georgia to seek for help. 

When the full story is narrated, it will assuredly form one of the most thrilling tales of hardship, courage, and adventure in all the annals of polar exploration.

Excerpt from The Outlook 13th September 1916


Further Reading and External Links

Nimrod Expedition   The Endurance Expedition    Ernest Shackleton

Discovery Expedition   The Terra Nova Expedition   Robert Falcon Scott