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Shackelton's crew

The members of the Endurance expedition, led by the famous and great leader Ernest Shackleton.

The Shackleton Post

The Shackleton Post

Sir Ernest Shackleton

Ernest Shalckelton is the Irish captain of The Endurance, the boat of the expedition across the


  • The Shackleton Post

This edition of the Shackleton Post magazine is dedicated to the crew members. Indeed, we have used Shackleton's logbook, Miss Capparell's work and have done some researches, to present you articles and illustrations about the leader of this expedition, Ernest Shackleton, but also about the photographer who was on board the boat and who helped to keep a trace


of the Endurance expedition. We also chose to present you the living conditions of the crew, and the famous mascot of the boat, which is the cat, Mrs Chippy. All these members played an important role during this expedition, and had to fight to stay alive for several months. They finally succeeded, thanks to their determination, but also thanks to Shackleton's many leadership qualities.

Antarctic. He was born on February, 15th, 1874. His nickname was « The Boss » and he was considered as one of the best leader of his time. He was an expert of leadership, so his crew had absolute confidence in him. He participated in many expeditions like « Expediton Discovery » in 1901, « Expedition Nimrod » in 1907, but his best known remains the « Expedition Endurance » executed between 1914 and 1917. His goal was to cross the Antarctic but his boat was taken in the icecap. As soon as the boat was released from the ices,

Shackelton noticed that it was unusable. They camped on Elephant island for a few months. After a moment, he was constrained to leave with few men, to search for help in South Georgia. At the end, he succeded by bringing back, alive, the 28 members of the crew, which made him a hero. A lot of them were sent to the front during World War 1 and died there. Following this expedition, which, in spite of its failure, remained really known, Shackelton was preparing a new expedition in Antarctic. He never took the departure because he died just a few hours before leaving, on January, 5th of 1922, at only 47 years old.

The crossing of the Atlantic Ocean to go to Buenos Aires wasn't really cool but it didn’t discourage the crew. The « v » -shape of the ship’s hull wasn’t adapted ; in fact, a big part of the crew thought that it wasn’t done for the « open sea », without any ice. Only some days after the beginning of the expedition from South Georgia, the last stopover before entering the Wedell sea, the travel became complicated. The crew had a non-negligible problem : the ice pack, a big puzzle of ice with flows between each piece. Indeed, while this boat had been built to navigate through this type of sea , the thickness of the ice pack overcame what Ernest Shackleton and Frank Worsley (the captain), had imagined. To clear a path through this ice sea, the crew didn’t have any other choice than using the Endurance as a battering ram. They retreated before starting to form a notch which let the boat pass. For a while, this technic was expensive in time but it turned out to be effective. Only, it was difficult for the crew members to stay positive while the temperatures were freezing, and while the ship was making progress at only 30 miles (around 48 kilometers) a day.

Moreover, the winter was arriving. This didn’t help to improve the mental health of the crew, who knew they would have a more and more difficult crossing through an ice pack more and more dense with ice getting thicker and thicker. In summer, the sun shines all day long, but in winter, it disappears. So, the Endurance was plunged into a several month night. But it was not finished ! In addition to being in the dark, the crew was obliged to cope with temperature falls down to -36°C during the blizzards. We might think that the living conditions of the crew could not get any worse, but this was not the case. Until then, there were times when the ship got stuck, but with great efforts, the crew managed to open a way. But, on October, 23rd 1915, the boat was lifted of one and a half metres high by the ice plates, annihilating all the hopes of the crew, who gave up the ship one October 27th. However, Shackleton refused to give up. He challenged himself to go searching for help and to bring back his full safe and sound crew.
On board the ship were necessary equipment and sufficient food to survive . A camp was settled on the ice pack, so the members of the expedition didn’t suffer from neither hunger nor cold.
For entertainment, football matches, and other activities, were organized, and the scientists took notes and samples. Thus, thanks to his manners to lead, comparable to the greatest leaders and which are, until today, subjects of searches like the ones of Stephanie Capparell, Shackleton managed to keep a good mood between the different members of the ship. It allowed them to stay welded and to help each others, and thus to survive for 630 days until a rescue expedition brought by Ernest Shackleton was a success. Finally, the entire team were saved except for the sled dogs.

The living conditions

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The Shackleton Post

Mrs. Chippy

Mrs.Chippy was the name of the ship's cat during the Endurance expedition. He was bought by the Scottish carpenter Harry « Chippy » McNish. He was nicknamed

Special thanks

Thanks to Rémi G.R. for doing the article on Mrs Chippy, to Olivia V. for doing an article on the photographer Franck Hurley, to Noélie R. for doing the article on Sir Ernest Shackleton, to Pacôme K. and Daniel N. for doing the article on the living conditions of the crew and to Manuella T. and Lauryn T. for the introduction and the special thanks. Thank you too, to Eléonore M. and Ambre A. for the beautiful illustrations, to Anaïs T., Flamenn D. and Dehlya D.B. for the translations of the texts and to Pauline P. and Dehlya D.B. for doing the layout of this magazine. We would like to thank Stephanie Capparell, an amazing journalist and writer, for answering our questions about Shackleton's leadership. Finally thank you Mrs. Daniel, Mrs. Lagadeuc, Mr. Jarrousse and Mr. Leroux for helping us during the completion of this project.

James Francis Hurley, also known as Franck Hurley, is an adventurer, photographer and filmmaker from the 20th century. He was born in Australia on October 15th 1885. He was the Australian army’s official photographer during World War I and II. For example, he photographed the battle of Passchendaele in 1917. Franck Hurley participated in a lot of expeditions in the Antarctic, including those of Douglas Mawson, in 1911, and of Ernest Shackleton (the Endurance) between 1914 and 1916. During these expeditions, he photographed everything that happens. The photos he took during Shackleton's expedition allow us to have a lot of informations about the life of adventurers on the island. However, he's not just the photographer, he is also a member of the expedition: for example, he participated

Franck Hurley

in the dog race, arrived in the 2nd position and forged links with the animals. Thanks to his photos, he released a documentary entitled South, in 1919. Franck Hurley finally died on January 16, 1962, in his country of birth.

after the carpenter. And he was called Mrs.Chippy because he followed its owner all the time, as if he were his wife. Despite his name, the crew discovered a month after the beginning of the expedition that he was a male. His goal was to catch mice and rats and of course to be a source of company for the crew. The tiger-striped tabby had lots of eases on board : he climbed the rigging and could walk in the boat even during a storm ! He was also very provocative : sometimes he walked near the dogs who were locked up in the kennels to provoke them and he was described by the other members as « full of character ». On September 13th 1914, Thomas Orde-Lees wrote in his diary that the cat had survived 10 minutes in the sea ! On October 29th 1915, after the boat was taken in the ice and destroyed, Sir Ernest Schakelton decided to kill Mrs. Chippy and five other sled dogs because he thought that they wouldn't be able to survive. Harry McNish was very sad and angry against Sir Ernest Schakelton but on his tomb in Wellington, there is a statue of his cat, therefore, they can rest together in peace...


  • The Shackleton Post