View larger 'Endurance' diagram
Ernest Shackleton and his team aimed to cross Antarctica via the South Pole starting in 1914, but the expedition failed due to a series of disasters. It is now recognised as an epic struggle for survival under the most extreme circumstances.
The Endurance and the Aurora
The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition set out in 1914 with two ships — the Endurance, captained by Shackleton, and the Aurora, captained by Aeneas Mackintosh.
The Endurance team intended to cross the Antarctic continent, and the Aurora team would establish camp and supply depots for the journeying group.
Trapped in ice
fitted out for rescue.
View larger newpaper clipping
In 1915, the ship Endurance became trapped in ice in the Weddell Sea, which then crushed it and forced the men to camp on ice for months. The men managed to escape to Elephant Island — an ice-covered mountainous outpost — in three small boats, but were still stranded 900 miles from safety.
The lack of contact from Shackleton raised alarm at home, and the Discovery was re-fitted at government expense to go south to the rescue.
The Discovery's first mission was the 1901-1904 British National Antarctic Expedition, led by Robert Falcon Scott, with Shackleton as Third Officer.
View larger rescue image
In April 1916, Shackleton and five others set out for South Georgia across the raging southern ocean. The aim was to reach the whaling station there and raise the alarm. The rest of the men remained on Elephant Island.
Four months later, Shackleton rescued the rest of his team from Elephant Island. Their survival over such a long period in hostile conditions makes it one of the most remarkable ever recorded.
Materials relating to the Endurance Expedition were on show in the 'Enduring Eye' exhibition, which ran at the Library from 16 June to 12 November 2017.