Reported in the News Letter on May 30, 1914: Shackleton pleased with arduous trial expedition


Reuter’s representative had an interview with Sir Ernest Shackleton, who returned yesterday from his trial expedition in Norway. Both he and his five companions, though bronzed and well, bore traces of the severe conditions under which their trial was made, their faces being badly blistered.

Discussing the experiences of the party, Sir Ernest said: “I am very pleased with the result of this test, the first made in Polar work under such conditions.

“We went out to find defects, and those we discovered we shall rectify.

“The whole test, however, has shown that our preparations are in the right direction.

“The two greatest successes have proved to be our tent and the motors. In the case of the tent we shall make certain modifications, and it will be practically dome-shaped. The parts of the sledge carrying the motor, too, will have to be much wider, so as to prevent capsizing.

“We worked, of course, in all weathers, and as far as possible under Antarctic conditions.

“One of the most exciting experiences of the trip was the capsizing of the motor sledge while turning a steep slope. However, no-one was hurt.

“The party did a lot of sledge-pulling on skis when the conditions of the surface permitted.

“So far as it was possible to test the rations they proved highly satisfactory.”

[Shackleton was preparing for the The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, an attempt to make the first land crossing of the Antarctic continent, via the South Pole. Although he failed, the “Endurance” mission’s amazing story of survival is regarded as Shackleton’s most famous exploit.]