Shackleton - The Rescue
(August 30, 1916)

The Rescue

"Wild, there's a ship, shall we light a fire?""Before there was time for a reply there was a rush of members tumbling over one another," Lees reported, "all mixed up with mugs of seal hoosh making a simultaneous dive for the door-hole which was immediately torn to shreds."

On South Georgia:
After marching without rest for 36 hours straight, on May 20, 1916, Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean walked into South Georgia's Stromness Station. Unrecognizable at first in their rags and dirty faces, Shackleton and his men were greeted with enthusiasm and concern by the station manager, Mr. Sorlle. The whaling station members quickly reunited Shackleton with his men on the other side of South Georgia. They immediately began planning a rescue for the crew members left on Elephant Island. The thick ice surrounding the island however, made immediate rescue impossible. Over the next three months Shackleton made numerous attempts to reach Elephant Island. He was growing more and more concerned for the health and welfare of the men left behind.

On Elephant Island:
The crew had spent four and one half months on Elephant Island and slightly less than that since their leader had left in the James Caird to seek rescue. Hope and moral was as low as it would get.

August 29, 1916 was clear, with a strong wind. "Preparations are being pushed along for sending one of our two boats," wrote Lees. "Wild has it all nicely cut and dried, & has revealed his plans to the favored few. He and four others are to go in the Dudley Docker, and will make their way along along carefully under the lee of the land from island to island of the South Shetlands...until they reach Deception Island about 250 miles away to our SW." According to this plan, the Docker would set out about October 5, in order to catch the whalers who plied the waters around Deception Island.

August 30, 1916:
The day dawned clear and cold. All hands worked at removing snow drift, but stopped at 11 a.m. to take advantage of the low tide and calm sea to catch limpets for the evening meal. At 12:45 most of the men turned in for "hoosh oh", a lunch of boiled seals backbone, while Marston and Hurley remained outside, shelling limpets.

Wild was just serving the meal when the sound of Marston's running steps were heard outside - undoubtedly he was late for lunch. Moments later he stuck his head into the hut, panting."Wild, there's a ship, shall we light a fire?" "Before there was time for a reply there was a rush of members tumbling over one another," Lees reported, "all mixed up with mugs of seal hoosh making a simultaneous dive for the door-hole which was immediately torn to shreds."

Finally, with the help of the Chilean tug Yelcho, Shackleton was able to break through the pack ice. Shackleton viewing through binoculars shouted, "They are all there." Miraculously, after two years and against impossible odds, all of the members of the Endurance expedition were rescued.