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Death of Sir Ernest Shackleton

Posted in Anniversary, Exploration, Travel on Saturday, 25 December 2010

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picture, Antarctic, Albatross, Quest, ship, ocean

An albatross accompanied the Quest on its voyage, the final expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Illustration by C. L. Doughty

5 January marks the anniversary of the death of explorer Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton in 1922. Born in Kilkea, Ireland, in 1874, Shackleton was one of the key figures in Antarctic Exploration. His first voyage to the region was with Captain Scott’s Discovery expedition, but he was sent home early due to ill-health. With the 1907 Nimrod expedition he established a record for reaching the farthest south latitude, around 100 miles from the South Pole. For this achievement he was knighted on his return home.

The Pole was reached in 1912 and Shackleton set himself another task: to cross the Antarctic from sea to sea via the pole. The expedition in 1914-17 was a disaster as their ship, the Endurance, was trapped in ice and crushed. Shackleton headed back to the Antarctic in 1921 with the Quest to carry out a programme of scientific and surveying activities. Before the expedition could begin its work, Shackleton died of a heart attack. He was buried at South Georgia.

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