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Ernest Shackleton - Endurance
Imperial Trans-Antarctica Expedition 1914-17

Ernest Shackleton, Trans Antarctic Expedition:  Page 1: Preparation Page 2: Into the pack ice | Elephant Island Page 3: The voyage of the James Caird  Page 4: South Georgia again Page 5: Timeline and map Page 6: Shackleton pictures 1 Page 7: Shackleton pictures 2 | Crew of the Endurance | Shop

The Crew Alphabetically - 28 men
Bakewell, William - Able Seaman
Blackborow, Percy - Stowaway (later steward)
Cheetham, Alfred - Third Officer
Clark, Robert S. - Biologist
Crean, Thomas - Second Officer
Green, Charles J. - Cook
Greenstreet, Lionel - First Officer
Holness, Ernest - Fireman/stoker
How, Walter E. - Able Seaman
Hudson, Hubert T. - Navigator
Hurley, James Francis (Frank) - Official Photographer
Hussey, Leonard D. A. - Meteorologist
James, Reginald W. - Physicist
Kerr, A. J. - Second Engineer
Macklin, Dr. Alexander H. - Surgeon
Marston, George E. - Official Artist
McCarthy, Timothy - Able Seaman
McIlroy, Dr. James A. - Surgeon
McLeod, Thomas - Able Seaman
McNish, Henry - Carpenter
Orde-Lees, Thomas  - Motor Expert and Storekeeper
Rickinson, Lewis - First Engineer
Shackleton, Ernest H. - Expedition Leader
Stephenson, William - Fireman/stoker
Vincent, John - Able Seaman
Wild, Frank - Second in Command
Wordie, James M. - Geologist
Worsley, Frank - Captain

Nationalities: American - 1, Australian - 1, English - 17, Irish - 3, New Zealander - 1, Scottish - 4, Welsh - 1

"After the conquest of the South Pole by Amundsen who, by a narrow margin of days only, was in advance of the British Expedition under Scott, there remained but one great main object of Antarctic journeying - the crossing of the South Polar continent from sea to sea".
Ernest Shackleton

So was born what became the Imperial Trans-Antarctica expedition of 1914 - 1917. The intentional goal was ambitious - audacious even, considering that only 10 men had ever stood at the South Pole and 5 of those had died on the return journey. The story that would unfold was to be beyond any expectations and completely different to that planned. It is quite simply one of the most incredible adventure stories of all time. Remarkable even for an era and region that already has far more than its fair share of incredible tales of heroism and fortitude in the face of appalling hardships.

This is in effect 3 individual adventure stories back to back. In the first, the crew of the Endurance are stranded, stuck in pack-ice just one days sail from land fall on the Antarctic continent. Eventually, the pack-ice crushes the ship and the men are marooned hundreds of miles from help on unstable sea ice and totally beyond the communications with the outside world. Against the odds, they stay together physically and mentally and reach land fall on Elephant Island.

This is but a temporary respite, better than moving and unstable pack-ice, but by no means safety. In the second story Shackleton and five others set sail for South Georgia in a 20ft lifeboat, the James Caird, in some of the roughest seas in the world and at one of the worst times of the year.

In the third adventure, the crew of the James Caird, arrive at possible salvation, the island of South Georgia, but on the wrong side. The island has never been crossed and the party are ill equipped to do so. As there is no alternative other than failure, they set off to cross the mountainous and glaciated island for the whaling stations on the other side, from there they can then plan the rescue of the men left behind on Elephant Island. The story of Shackleton and the Endurance in more detail.

There are many tales of how many people applied to join Shackleton on this expedition and how keen and eager to go many of them were. It seems that then as now however for Antarctic expeditions, the majority were inexperienced or unsuited to the job they were applying for, and while for some positions, there were many takers, for others there were hardly any, just a single qualified applicant who in some cases may have had to be cajoled into applying. Shackleton ended up therefore with a very mixed crew from the capable who were ready to await and take orders, to others, who while capable of doing their own job, were prepared to question or cast doubt on decisions made or were potential agitators. All of the men proved themselves in the end, though it was a difficult journey in all respects. It is Shackleton himself who comes through as being the force that held it all together.

The men left behind on Elephant Island

The crew

bullet denotes other Arctic or Antarctic expeditionary experience, prior to, or following this expedition

Ernest H. Shackleton - Expedition Leader

"Scott for scientific method, Amundsen for speed and efficiency but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton."

Third lieutenant in charge of holds, stores, provisions and deep sea water analysis Discovery 1901-04
Expedition leader Nimrod 1907-09
Expedition leader Quest 1920-21

Frank Wild - Second in Command

The unknown giant of the "Heroic Age" of Antarctic Exploration. He played a significant role in several of the most important expeditions, being on board when the Discovery sailed for McMurdo Sound in 1901 so heralding the start of 20 years of epic exploration and adventure. No one else was so involved and no other explorer spent so long in Antarctica.

Seaman Discovery 1901-04
In charge of provisions Nimrod 1907-09
Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-13
Second in command Quest 1920-21

Frank Worsley - Captain

Eccentric and indispensable to the expedition, Worsley's uncanny navigational skills could hit small islands at hundreds of miles range with only occasional readings, the minimum of instruments and in the worst possible conditions.

Hydrography, sailing master Quest- Ernest Shackleton 1921 - 1922

Lionel Greenstreet - First Officer

A master Mariner who joined the expedition just 24 hours before it left England, the last surviving member of the expedition.

Hubert T. Hudson - Navigator

The best penguin catcher, Hudson suffered particularly badly from ill health in the boats before Elephant Island and also when waiting for rescue.

Thomas Crean - Second Officer

An experienced seaman and highly respected Antarctic hand. Rather gruff in the way he dealt with the world, Crean was nonetheless effective and another of the unsung heroes of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration.

Able seaman Discovery 1901-04
Petty officer Terra Nova 1910-13

Alfred B. Cheetham - Third Officer

An old Antarctic hand on his fourth trip south with the Endurance, Cheetham was ever cheerful and ever popular, one of the oldest men on the Endurance, 47 when it set out.

Morning - relief ship for the Discovery 1902
third officer and boatswain Nimrod 1907-09
Boatswain (Bosun), R.N.R.
Terra Nova 1910 - 13

Lewis Rickinson - First Engineer

Volunteered for a trip to Antarctica despite a particular aversion to the cold, a good engineer with a good understanding of the still relatively new and little used internal combustion engines. He suffered particularly on the voyage to Elephant Island and  had a mild heart attack on  landing.

Alexander J. Kerr - Second Engineer

A quiet capable and dependable man, the youngest member of the Endurance crew until the stowaway Blackborow was discovered, just 21 years old on leaving England.

Chief Engineer Quest- Ernest Shackleton 1921 - 1922

Dr. Alexander H. Macklin - Surgeon

One of two surgeons on the expedition, Macklin also had the job of driving a team of sled dogs and caring for the expeditions dogs.

Dr. James A. McIlroy - Surgeon

McIlroy was suffering from malaria at the time of his interview that he contracted in the far east, and shook constantly while with Shackleton but was taken on - he had been the only applicant for the position of second doctor, and so was given the job. McIlroy also had the job of driving a team of sled dogs and caring for the expeditions dogs.

James M. Wordie - Geologist

Glaswegian, Jock Wordie was an amiable and popular member of the expedition. He was a geologist and head of the scientific staff. Such was his commitment to the expedition, that he gave Shackleton some of his own money to help buy fuel for the Endurance.

Leonard D. A. Hussey - Meteorologist

The smallest man on the expedition, Hussey's interview with Shackleton ended with "Yes, I like you, I'll take you." Shackleton told him afterwards he took me because he thought I looked funny! Hussey's ready wit and banjo playing helped raise morale. When the men were only permitted 2 pounds of personal effects after the Endurance sank, Shackleton took Hussey's banjo along even though it was way over the allowance.

Reginald W. James - Physicist

"Gentle Jimmy" had: "some wonderful electrical machines which none of us understood...and a joke of ours that annoyed him very much was that he did not either."

Robert S. Clark - Biologist

An almost archetypal "dour Scot", Clark nonetheless gained respect from the crew due to his willingness to turn out for any work that needed to be done and always pull at least his own weight. All of his carefully collected specimens were lost with the Endurance.

James Francis (Frank) Hurley - Official Photographer

An Australian and the only member of the expedition that Shackleton didn't meet or interview before the expedition set off, Hurley was accepted on the the strength of his work with Mawson on the 1911-13 Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

Photographer Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-13

George E. Marston - Official Artist

Marston made sketches of life on the pack-ice and also Elephant Island, once again contributing to Shackleton's official account of the expedition. Marston made a not inconsiderable sacrifice on Elephant Island in giving up his oil paints to be used to help caulk the James Caird for the journey to South Georgia.

Thomas Orde-Lees - Motor Expert and Storekeeper

A complex and eccentric character, Orde-Lees was a skier (at a time when this was very rare) and a physical fitness expert. He was generally disliked by the other expeditioners, though was an effective and thorough store-keeper. His diary is one of the more perceptive of those kept by the Endurance crew.

Henry McNish - Carpenter

One of the oldest members of the expedition, a Scot of whom Shackleton wrote was "the only man I'm not dead certain of". A somewhat curmudgeonly figure actually more than a carpenter, being a shipwright. He fell out with Shackleton after his pet cat "Mrs. Chippy" was ordered to be shot and later clashed directly with Shackleton when he questioned his authority and right to still give orders after the loss of the ship.

Charles J. Green - Cook

A life-long ships cook, Green worked the longest days of any on the expedition on  a regular basis, from early morning till evening, preparing meals for 28 hungry men. He gave over 1000 lectures about the expedition throughout a long life on his return to England.

Walter Ernest How - Able Seaman

An artist as well as an Able Seaman which no doubt swayed his appointment by Shackleton. How had worked in the sub-Arctic with the Canadian Auxiliary Survey Ship. Along with Bakewell, he was responsible for smuggling stowaway Perce Blackborow aboard  and hiding him on the Endurance.

William Bakewell - Able Seaman

American William Bakewell joined the Endurance at Buenos Aires, he posed as a Canadian thinking that the British ship would be more inclined to take on a subject of the British Empire. He helped his friend Perce Blackborow to also join the ship unofficially as a stowaway.

Timothy McCarthy - Able Seaman

A strong young Irishman who had a reputation for being ever optimistic and good natured. McCarthy is one of the six men who made the journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia on board the James Caird. He died in the war just 3 weeks after returning from Antarctica.

Thomas McLeod - Able Seaman

A sailor for 27 years when the expedition began, Thomas McLeod had been at sea since he was 14 years old and had already been to the Antarctic with Scott aboard the Terra Nova. He was one of the few able seamen to hold two Polar Medals.

John Vincent - Able Seaman

A sailor in the Royal Navy and was a former trawlerhand on fishing boats on the North Sea. Physically the strongest man aboard but he suffered on the journey of the James Caird to South Georgia. He lost his upper lip when it became frozen the edge of a metal cup

Ernest Holness - Fireman/stoker

Considered by Orde-Lees in his diary to be "the most loyal to the expedition" though he was one of only four of the crew not to be awarded the Polar Medal by Shackleton. Best known for being the unfortunate individual who was sleeping in his bag right over the crack when the ice flow the men had been camping on split in two. He was dropped into the icy sea and were it not for Shackleton who just happened to have been pacing about pondering what to do about the mounting predicament, would have been crushed when the two halves of the floe came back together again.

William Stephenson - Fireman/stoker

Senior stoker on board the Endurance (fireman in the days of steam engines meant someone who kept fires going rather than someone who put them out), his task was to to tend the engine boiler and ensure there was enough steam to power the engines. When the Endurance was crushed therefore, his job as well as that of his mate Holness, came to an end.

Percy Blackborow - Stowaway (later steward)

Probably the only stowaway ever on an Antarctic expedition. He applied for a job on the Endurance in Buenos Aires but was turned down, when his friend William Bakewell was accepted, he smuggled Perce aboard with him. Only 19 at the time, he was taken on as steward by Shackleton when discovered and proved himself a good seaman. Given the distinction by Shackleton of being the first man ever to land on Elephant Island, he had to crawl rather than walk due to gangrene in his foot - all the toes of his left foot were amputated successfully in very primitive conditions.

With Thanks to John Mann. More about the crew at:

Landmarks named after The Endurance or related to the expedition, other than crew members.

Feature Name: Endurance Cliffs
Feature Type: cliff
Latitude: 8247S
Longitude: 15505E
Description:  A line of steep east-facing cliffs between Mount Summerson and Mount Albright in the S part of the Geologists Range. Mapped by the northern party of the NZGSAE (1961-62).
Variant Name(s) Endurance Nunatak

Feature Name: Endurance Ridge
Feature Type: ridge
Latitude: 6230S
Longitude: 04000W
Description: An undersea ridge. Name approved 6/87 (ACUF 225).

Feature Name: Caird Coast
Feature Type: beach
Latitude: 7600S
Longitude: 02400W
Description: That portion of the coast of Coats Land lying between the terminus of Stancomb-Wills Glacier, in 2000W, and the vicinity of the Hayes Glacier, in 2754W. Sir Ernest Shackleton sailed along the coast in the Endurance during January 1915, naming it for Sir James Caird, patron of the expedition.

Feature Name: Stancomb Cove
Feature Type: bay
Latitude: 6256S
Longitude: 06041W
Description: A cove NE of Laguna Hill in the NW part of Port Foster, Deception Island, in the South Shetland Islands. The feature was formed as the result of volcanic eruptions on the island between December 1967 and August 1970. Surveyed from HMS Endurance in January 1988 and named after the survey boat Stancomb-Wills used in the survey.

Feature Name: Stancomb-Wills Glacier
Feature Type: glacier
Latitude: 7518S
Longitude: 01900W
Description: A large glacier that debouches into eastern Weddell Sea southward of Lyddan Island where it forms the extensive Stancomb-Wills Glacier Tongue. The glacier was discovered in the course of the U.S. Navy LC-130 plane flight over the coast, Nov. 5, 1967, and was plotted by USGS from photographs obtained at that time. The name was applied by US-ACAN in 1969, in association with the "Stancomb-Wills Promontory" (now Stancomb-Wills Glacier Tongue), the seaward edge of which was discovered and named by Shackleton in January 1915.

Feature Name: Stancomb-Wills Glacier Tongue
Feature Type: glacier
Latitude: 7500S
Longitude: 02200W
Description: A very extensive glacier tongue, the seaward projection of the Stancomb-Wills Glacier into eastern Weddell Sea. The cliffed front of this feature was discovered in January 1915 by a British expedition led by Shackleton. He named it "Stancomb-Wills Promontory," after Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills, one of the principal donors of the expedition. In 1969, US-ACAN amended the name to Stancomb-Wills Glacier Tongue. This followed the U.S. Navy LC-130 aircraft flight over the area, Nov. 5, 1967, on which the glacier was discovered and the relationship with the glacier tongue was first observed.
Variant Name(s) - Stancomb-Wills Ice Tongue, Stancomb-Wills Promontory

Recommended Books DVD's and VHS

Endurance, The Greatest Adventure Story Ever Told, book
Endurance : Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
Alfred Lansing (Preface)
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Free world delivery

South with Endurance:
Frank Hurley - official photographer
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Free world delivery

South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition, 1914-17
South! Ernest Shackleton
Shackleton's own words
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Free world delivery
Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
Buy USA   Buy UK
Free world delivery

Shackleton's Boat Journey: The narrative of Frank Worsley
Buy USA  Buy UK
Free world delivery

biography by Roland
Buy USA   Buy UK
Free world delivery

The Quest for Frank Wild
biography by Angie Butler
Free world delivery

The Endurance : Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
by Caroline Alexander
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Free world delivery

Mrs. Chippy's Last Expedition:
The Remarkable Journal of Shackleton's Polar-Bound Cat
Buy USA   Buy UK
Free world delivery

Shackleton's Forgotten Men
Lennard Bickel
   Buy UK
Free world delivery
Tom Crean an Illustrated Life: Unsung Hero of the Scott & Shackleton Expeditions
Tom Crean: Unsung Hero
biography by Michael Smith

Buy USA  Buy UK
Free world delivery
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, The True Story of the Endurance Expedition
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World -
Jennifer Armstrong
for ages 12 and up
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Free world delivery
Movies / Documentaries
South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition
South - Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition (1919)
original footage
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  Buy from Amazon UK DVD
Shackleton - The Greatest Survival Story of All Time (3-Disc Collector's Edition)
Kenneth Branagh (2002)
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  Buy from Amazon UK DVD
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (Large Format)
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (2001)
IMAX dramatization
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  Buy from Amazon UK DVD
The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Expedition (2000)
PBS NOVA, dramatization with original footage
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  Buy from Amazon UK DVD

Shackleton's 1914-17 Trans-Antarctica Expedition on Twitter - follow us now to get the story 100 years to the day later.  @danthewhaler

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Lonely Planet travel guide Antarctica
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Free world delivery

Frozen Planet
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  |  Buy from Amazon UK DVD

Buy from Amazon USA DVD  |  Buy from Amazon UK DVD

The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Expedition
Dramatization with original footage

Buy from Amazon USA DVD  |  Buy from Amazon UK DVD

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