Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton CVO OBE FRGS FRSGS was an Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer. He led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. He was one of the principal figures of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. He died of a heart attack while his ship was moored in South Georgia in 1921.
About Ernest Shackleton in brief
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton CVO OBE FRGS FRSGS was an Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer. He led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. He was one of the principal figures of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Shackleton was born in Kilkea, County Kildare, Ireland, and moved to Sydenham, south London, when he was ten. He died of a heart attack while his ship was moored in South Georgia in 1921, and was buried there. In 2002, he was voted eleventh in a BBC poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. The Shackleton family are of English origin, specifically from Yorkshire. His father, Henry, tried to enter the army, but his poor health prevented him from doing so. His mother, Henrietta Letitia Sophia Gavan, was descended from the Fitzmaurice family. Ernest was the second of their ten children and the first of two sons; the second, Frank, achieved notoriety as a suspect, later exonerated, in the 1907 theft of the Irish Crown Jewels. In 1880, when Ernest was six, he gave up his life as a farmer to study medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, moving his family to London. Four years later, he moved again, from Ireland in suburban London, to become a land doctor. He became a voracious reader, a pursuit which sparked a passion for adventure. From early childhood, Shackleton declared, “I am an Irishman” and frequently declared, ‘I am a Shackleton’ He was knighted by King Edward VII on his return home in 1901 for his achievements on the Nimrod expedition of 1907–1909.
After the race to the South Pole ended in December 1911, with Roald Amundsen’s conquest, he turned his attention to the crossing of Antarctica from sea to sea, via the pole. To this end, he made preparations for what became the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914–1917. Disaster struck this expedition when its ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice and was slowly crushed before the shore parties could be landed. The crew escaped by camping on the sea ice until it disintegrated, then by launching the lifeboats to reach Elephant Island and ultimately South Georgia Island, a stormy ocean voyage of 720 nautical miles and Shackleton’s most famous exploit. He rapidly became a role model for leadership as one who, in extreme circumstances, kept his team together in a survival story described by cultural historian Stephanie Barczewski as \”incredible\”. In his 1956 address to the British Science Association, Sir Raymond Priestley, one of his contemporaries, said \”Scott for scientific method, Amondsen for speed and efficiency but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton\”, paraphrasing what Apsley Cherry-Garrard had written in a preface to his 1922 memoir The Worst Journey in the World.