Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton


Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton Famous memorial

Kilkea, County Kildare, Ireland
Death 5 Jan 1922 (aged 47)
Grytviken, South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands
Burial Grytviken, South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands
Memorial ID 4564 View Source

Explorer. An Irish native, he is considered one of the most important British explorers, in the service of the English crown. The period of the Antarctic expeditions is linked to his name, among the most inaccessible in the history of explorations, which have gone down in history thanks to his great contribution, which has led to talk of a real "heroic age of Antarctic explorations." At the head of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the second Antarctic expedition he made, despite missing the objective of crossing the continent due to the crushing of his ship, he still managed to save all the members of his crew, also reporting significant scientific discoveries about those previously unexplored territories. This episode above all, combined with his great qualities as a traveler and commander, helped to increase his fame, making him an almost legendary character. Second son of ten children generated by the union between Henry Shackleton and Henrietta Letitia Sophia Gavan, the first originally from Yorkshire, the second of an Irish family, the young Ernest Shackleton enrolled at Dulwich College, according to paternal wishes. As the first-born male of the family, in fact, for the future explorer his father sees a future in the medical field, following his own footsteps but, already at the age of sixteen, that is around 1890, the young Shackleton enlisted as ship's boy on the Houghton Tower of the British Merchant Navy. The intolerance towards a certain type of academic training and his restlessness are evident right away, the young student turns out to be above all a voracious reader, which, instead of favoring him in his studies, only increases his need for escape and adventure around the world. Meanwhile, to stir the soul of the future navigator, there are the family movements from one city to another that, already at the age of four, little Ernest is forced to live. In fact, in 1880, when he was just six years old, the Shackleton family movements from one city to another, from the quiet county of Kildare to Dublin, where his father enrolled at Trinity College to complete his medical studies. Four years passed and they moved from Ireland to Sydenham, in the suburbs of London, in order to facilitate the professional prospects of Shackelton Senior, who had recently become a doctor. The childhood of the future explorer passes in a rather turbulent way due to the origins of his family, badly seen in London, especially following the murder of the British Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, in 1882 at the hands of a group of Irish nationalists. In any case, after the enlistment of 1890, the sailor Shackleton completes his apprenticeship for the seas, traveling until 1896 both in the Pacific Ocean and in the Indian Ocean. Soon, he becomes a second boatswain on a cargo ship and then, at the end of his first round-the-world voyage, in 1896, takes on the qualification of boatswain. Two years later he becomes full-fledged commander, with the English qualification of "Master Mariner", which allows him to command any British ship in any part of the globe. During the same 1898, Ernest Shackleton falls in love with Emily Dorman, whom he met a few years earlier. To seek a more peaceful family life then, despite the fact that she managed to get married no earlier than 9 April 1904, the commander of the British navy was assigned to the Union Castle Line, known for its regular routes. However, the merchant navy was not adequate for his adventurous nature and in 1900 he decided to pursue a career as an explorer. Shackleton is an ambitious man and he demonstrates this by enlisting as a third lieutenant in the Antarctic expedition organized by the Royal Geographical Society. The ship is the Discovery and at the helm of him is another great explorer, Sir Robert Falcon Scott, who will be famous for his competition to the South Pole, won by rival Roald Amundsen, another great explorer of Norwegian nationality. His first real expedition ends in 1903. After that, thanks to his good literary training and the experiences gained during his travels, Shackleton spends a short period working as a journalist. A few months pass, however, and he is elected secretary of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. He enters politics in practice, albeit for a short time. On February 2, 1905, Raymond, his first child, was born. Cecily will follow, and the last, Edward. In 1907, indomitable, Shackleton presented to the Royal Scottish a detailed bulletin containing his plan to leave for Antarctica, in order to geographically conquer the South Pole. It is the "Nimrod" expedition, which also channels the funds of some of the biggest British industrialists, convinced one by one by the Anglo-Irish commander. In addition to William Beardmore, for whom he worked previously, also the rich Sir Phillip Lee Brocklehurst, who with a large sum secures a place on the expedition, the author Campbell Mackellar, the Baron Guinness and Lord Iveagh take part in the enterprise. The second expedition to Antarctica, therefore, sees him in command of the British Antarctic Expedition, lasts from 1907 to 1909 and turns out to be a success, with the appointment of the title of knight. Shackleton discovers Beardmore Glacier, named after its financier, and becomes a well-known character once he returns to his homeland. On the way back, it was the turn of the Endurance expedition, which officially departed from London on 1 August 1914, before England declared war on Germany. After anchoring in Grytvyken, South Georgia, on 10 January 1915 the ship reached the Weddell Sea and after nine days it was fatally stuck in the drift ice. Several months pass and on November 21, the twenty-seven crew members have to abandon the ship, which is completely destroyed by the pressure of the ice. Shackleton transfers his men on the pack ice to an emergency camp called "Ocean Camp" and, on the following December 29, he transfers them all by pulling three lifeboats to the so-called "Camp of Patience", another floe of ice. The crew remained there until April 8, 1916. The ice in fact begins to melt and offers them the opportunity to reach Elephant Island on board of lifeboats. They succeed in this enterprise but the chances of receiving help are practically nil, Captain Shackleton then decides to set sail, with a lifeboat, to South Georgia, 700 nautical miles away (about 1,300 km). After about 15 days, despite the dire weather conditions, all the crew members manage to dock in the southern part of the island, at King Haakon bay. From here, Shackleton crosses thirty miles of mountains and glaciers of South Georgia, the first to do so, to reach the whaling station of Stromness, from where to organize the rescue definitively. It is an extraordinary achievement. Returning from the legendary expedition, Shackleton tries to get an assignment and take part in the First World War, despite his advanced age and the habit of the bottle, more and more persistent. He manages in 1918 to lead an undercover mission in Norway and little else. After a first attempt in 1920, unsuccessful due to delays, the Irish-born sailor manages to set sail again for Antarctica, exactly on September 17, 1921, from London and aboard La Quest. With him there are many protagonists of the previous enterprise, although the scientific objective of the expedition turns out to be little defined until the end.

Bio by: Ruggero


To the dear memory of Ernest Henry Shackleton, Explorer
Born 15 Feb 1874
Entered life eternal 5 Jan 1922

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 15 Feb 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 4564
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (15 Feb 1874–5 Jan 1922), Find a Grave Memorial ID 4564, citing Norwegian Lutheran Church Cemetery, Grytviken, South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands ; Maintained by Find a Grave .