Shackleton celebrated accomplishments, milestones and holidays. In his account of the crossing of South Georgia, he wrote that he, Worsley and Crean would pause to shake hands at key moments. They sang hymns to keep their spirits up as they crossed the mountains.

On his first attempt on the South Pole with Scott and Wilson, Shackleton brought along a sprig of holly to celebrate Christmas. In other words, it doesn't have to be something huge or costly. As Reginald James put it, "His method was really the constant application of small corrections, unnoticed by nearly everyone, yet very potent in their cumulative effect."

Shackleton recognized that everyone needs warmth, sleep and food. He couldn't always provide all three but, at the worst of times, to the extent possible, he made sure his crew had at least one of the three.

In this photo, the surviving members of the Endurance crew have gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the day they sailed from St. Catherine's Dock, London. From left: Sailmaker and artist Walter How; slightly crazy but indefatigable cook Charles Green; American seaman who claimed to be Canadian so Shackleton would take him William Bakewell; Dr. Alexander H. Macklin, who provided invaluable help to Shackleton biographers; First Officer Lionel Greenstreet who loved cricket, blonds and having his picture taken; and Dr. James McIlroy who was badly injured in WWI. While McIlroy was recuperating from his injuries, Shackleton was his most faithful visitor.


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© 2019 Margot Morrell

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