ON THIS DATE IN 1908: DEPARTURE OF THE ‘NIMROD’ POLAR TEAM

October 28, 2019

The southern march of Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 (Nimrod expedition) to reach the South Pole began on 29 October, 1908.

Shackleton led the polar team which comprised Jameson Adams, Eric Marshall and Frank Wild. Four Manchurian ponies accompanied the men, Quan, Grisi, Chinaman and Socks. A support party of six men carrying supplies for the return journey travelled with the main four-man team until 7 November.

Final start of the Southern Party (SPRI).

 

From Shackleton’s The Heart of the Antarctic:
The southern sledging-party was to leave the winter quarters on October 29, and immediately on the return of the depot party we started to make the final preparations for the attempt to reach the South Pole. I decided that four men should go south, I myself to be one of them, and that we should take provisions for ninety-one days; this amount of food, with the other equipment, would bring the load per pony up to the weight fixed as a result of experiments as the maximum load.
[…]
The men selected to go with me on the southern journey were Adams, Marshall and Wild. A supporting-party was to accompany us for a certain distance in order that we might start fairly fresh from a point beyond the rough ice off Minna Bluff, and we would take the four ponies and four sledges.
[…]
October 29, 1908. A glorious day for our start; brilliant sunshine and a cloudless sky, a fair wind from the north, in fact, everything that could conduce to an auspicious beginning.

The southern party’s route. From Shackleton’s ‘Heart of the Antarctic’. SPOILER: they didn’t make it to the Pole!

For more on the expedition and the polar party, here are some suggestions:

https://www.ukaht.org/learn/sir-ernest-shackleton/the-british-antarctic-nimrod-expedition/ 

Butler, A. The Quest for Frank Wild. Radway, 2019.
Daly, R. W. The Shackleton Letters: Behind the Scenes of the Nimrod Expedition. Norwich, 2009.
Shackleton, E. H. (ed.) Aurora Australis: 1908-09. Cape Royds, 1908.
Shackleton, E. H. The Heart of the Antarctic: Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909. 2 Vols. Philadelphia, 1909.
Smith, M. Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer. Cork, 2014.

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