The Unbelievable Story of Six Men Who Trekked Across the Great Ice Barrier in Support of Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition
One hundred years ago, Sir Ernest Shackleton embarked on the legendary 19141917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, defying the odds and accomplishing one of history’s most remarkable feats of endurance while narrowly escaping death, even though his crew failed in their mission to cross Antarctica. His story, inflated by time and celebrity, has come to personify the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.
Less well known, however, is the incredible but often forgotten tale of the Mount Hope Party (also known as the Ross Sea party)six men who worked in the shadow of Shackleton’s greater cause. Sent to the opposite side of the Polar continent, these men dropped life-saving food and fuel depots across the Great Ice Barrier, ensuring that Shackleton had the supplies necessary to complete his mission. Unaware of Shackleton’s own failed task, the party persevered in their mission, facing insurmountable obstacles of life on the iceexhaustion, starvation, and crippling frostbiterisking their lives for the safety of his.
Stitching together the previously unpublished diaries of these unsung heroes, McOrist documents their pain and suffering, as well as the humor and camaraderie necessary for their survival. An incomparable record of sheer heroism and tragedy, Shackleton’s Heroes tells a story that history ought to rememberone of the indomitable human spirit in the most extreme conditions.
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About the Author
Wilson McOrist is a physicist, lawyer, and entrepreneur. His eight years of research for this book were conducted in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica and involved detailed analysis of the actual field diaries of the central characters. He lives in Australia.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, described by The Guinness Book of Records as “the world’s greatest living explorer,” is an English adventurer and prolific writer. He was the first person to completely cross Antarctica by foot and is the holder of several endurance records. He lives in England.
Table of Contents
Author's Preface vii
Foreword Sir Ranulph Fiennes xi
Chapter 1 'I had not anticipated that the work would present any great difficulties' 1
Chapter 2 'But surely, Sir Ernest, this isn't going to fizzle out into a picnic' 25
Chapter 3 'I am going to write a daily account of my doings to you' 39
Chapter 4 'The other two are snoring peacefully alongside of me' 59
Chapter 5 'On Polar journeys the dogs are almost human' 77
Chapter 6 'I went on board to fetch a plum-duff presented by the cook' 107
Chapter 7 'I think the O.M, has a good solution' 127
Chapter 8 'Captain about 1½ miles ahead' 143
Chapter 9 'Feeling rather seedy. Head hot: eyes ache' 171
Chapter 10 'With the help of 2 good pals we carried it out' 191
Chapter 11 'Hope to reach Bluff Depot tomorrow' 205
Chapter 12 'Or else we shall be sharing the fate of Scott & his party' 221
Chapter 13 'We are about all in' 235
Chapter 14 'We have had the closest of close calls' 251
Chapter 15 'We are all rapidly going down with scurvy' 269
Chapter 16 'Weary, worn, and sad' 283
Chapter 17 'As happy as a Piccadilly masher' 295
Chapter 18 'So the fate of these foolish people we do not know' 307
Chapter 19 'Are Mackintosh and Hayward here?' 317
Chapter 20 'The greatest qualities of endurance, self-sacrifice, and patience' 323
Postscript Dr D. L. Harrowfield 333