Friday meeting at The Waggon & Horses - 12th Nov.
Geoff Selley: Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition

By Norma Green

This was a very memorable talk and slide show. We have all seen films or documentaries on Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition in the Endurance and those amazing photographs taken at the time. The words which Geoff read out, which accompanied the slide show, were those of Dr Leonard Hussey, a 21-year-old member of the expedition. The slides which illustrated the talk were from the original "magic lantern" slides taken by Frank Hurley, the photographer on the expedition.

Dr Hussey's lectures and lantern shows began in the 1920s and have been handed down, eventually reaching Geoff Selley who now acts as custodian and hopes his son or grandson will continue this very historical lecture in its original form.

Shackleton's 1914 expedition is an amazing story; being held fast in the pack ice for 9 months unable to reach the Antartic continent, and the Endurance eventually being crushed in November 1915. After the crew abandoned Endurance and the ship sank, they dragged three small boats with them across the ice, drifting for months on ice floes, to seek help. After reaching Elephant Island, leaving most of the crew behind, Shackleton with five others set out in the 22ft open boat the "James Caird" - navigating and sailing 800 miles in rough seas.

Arriving at South Georgia 15 days later they set up camp, then Shackleton, Worsley and Crean set off across mountains and ice fields to eventually reach the Stromness Whaling Station on May 10th 1916. On May 21st the other 3 crew members were rescued on the beach where Shackleton had left them. On August 30th the remainder of the crew were finally rescued from Elephant Island after several attempts in different boats to reach them through the thick ice.

All the crew returned safely to England only to be thrust into the Second World War, serving their country with distinction.

Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1921 expedition in the Quest was his last. He died of a heart attack on 5 January 1922 at Grytviken in South Georgia where he is buried.

Thank you to Geoff for giving us such an interesting lecture and to Dr J Stuart Thomson for suggesting and introducing him.


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