The British Government, Ernest Shackleton, and the rescue of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition

The remarkable rescue of Shackleton's men from Elephant Island, after the sinking of Endurance, and from Ross Island, has been recounted many times by both participants and historians. There has been little critical examination of the part played by governments, nor assessment of some of Shackleton's own actions. In this paper we explore more fully from official British archival sources the extent to which the British Government was prepared to underwrite the rescue efforts; the importance of the plea made by Emily Shackleton directly to the Prime Minister; the role and actions of the Relief Advisory Committee (especially in respect of limiting Shackleton's actions); the significance of the media rights to the debt-laden expedition, and how such preoccupation could have influenced Shackleton's endeavour to rescue his marooned parties.


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Authors: Dudeney, J.R., Sheail, J., Walton, D.W.H. ORCIDORCID record for D.W.H. Walton

1 July, 2016
Polar Record / 52
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