The audience at our Event SHACKLETON: A HEROIC FAILURE? On Saturday 10 December were treated to this amazing recording of Shackleton’s actual speech. We are happy to post this now on our website. Do also watch the video made by Dulwich College about the expedition posted earlier.
‘Shackleton: A Heroic Failure?’ By Freddie Witts - Archivist Dulwich College
- Britain loves a failed explorer. Scott, Mallory and Franklin are just a few of the names famous for giving their lives in failed attempts at exploration firsts. Yet, whilst Scott et al. became legends, for many years Ernest Shackleton was a forgotten man, perhaps in part because his 800-mile rescue mission aboard the James Caird did not follow the tradition of noble failure. As attitudes have changed in recent decades, however, particularly in this centenary year of his death, Shackleton’s star has risen above Scott’s, and praise has been heaped upon him precisely because he and his companions survived. His leadership qualities have become models for the US Navy; his bronze likeness peers out from the RGS; and exploration companies trade under his name.
Nevertheless, Shackleton was just as much a failure as the others. In the 3 voyages he led to Antarctica he never achieved his intended goals. Whilst he saved all his men from Elephant Island, they were only stranded because the Endurance had been crushed. Indeed, Shackleton may have survived that outing, but his fate was the same as the rest, dying on a later expedition.
Ernest Shackleton was an extraordinary man, but a heroic failure.
SHACKLETON WATCH THIS FILM ON ‘YOUTUBE’
- Watch our new film “Shackleton & the James Caird”
LINKS OF ANTARCTIC EXPLORATION TO SIR JOSEPH HOOKER 2ND DIRECTOR OF KEW GARDENS AND BURIED IN ST ANNE’S CHURCHYARD AS IS HIS FATHER THE 1ST DIRECTOR OF KEW SIR WILLIAM HOOKER – 1ST DIRECTOR OF KEW ALSO BURIED IN ST ANNE’S CHURCHYARD.
- Extract from email to Lorraine Neale The Friends Chairman from ISOBEL MOSES a descendant of the HOOKERS who is a current member of St Anne’s Congregation and the Choir
- ‘It was Captain Robert Falcon Scott who consulted Joseph Hooker before sailing to the Antarctic in July 1901. The day before, JDH (Joseph Dalton Hooker, 1817-1911) had paid a farewell visit to the “Discovery”, and welcomed it back three years later. (He would have been 84 and 87 respectively, in those years.) He was the only surviving officer of Ross’s expedition to the Antarctic, 1839-1843. Apparently he suggested using a captive balloon, in order to be able to see over the top of the ice shelf, and Scott took up this idea. It sounds as though he was consulted fairly extensively before the expedition sailed. (Scott was the father of Peter Scott, ornithologist and painter of birds, who set up the wildfowl centre at Slimbridge, and co-founded WWF.)