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ON THIS DAY: 1914, Shackleton leaves South Georgia

Frank Worsley and Lionel Greenstreet looking across South Georgia Harbour, with the Endurance below Frank Worsley and Lionel Greenstreet looking across South Georgia Harbour, with the Endurance below Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
05 Dec
On 5 December 1914, Ernest Shackleton and his crew, aiming to be the first people to cross Antarctica via the South Pole, left South Georgia. It was the last time they would set foot on land for nearly 500 days

This was the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, commonly known as the Endurance Expedition, and Shackleton’s third attempt to reach the South Pole. Over four months since Shackleton and his men had left London aboard the Endurance, the ship was once again was ready to take to the sea.

The goal of the expedition was, firstly, to reach the South Pole, but also to be the first people to complete a crossing of Antarctica via the pole. 

611-Antarctic-0-CS2 Shackleton

Their leaving point was the island group of South Georgia, at the time part of the Falklands Islands Dependencies (it was renamed South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands in 1985). Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance left South Georgia, heading south towards Antarctica. They could have had little idea of the long and treacherous journey that lay ahead of them.

Opening on 21 November 2015, the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) will be hosting the exhibition ‘The Enduring Eye: The Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley’, to celebrate the centenary of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–17) led by Sir Ernest Shackleton – better known today as the Endurance expedition.

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