Part II - Abandoning Ship

Margot: In this part of the entry, Orde-Lees' describes how Shackleton led his team through the crisis.


Shackleton leads by example. He models the attitude he wants each member of his team to assume - concerned but confident in a positive outcome.


Shackleton communicates effectively by offering a "word or two of encouragement" to each member of the expedition as they leave the ship.


Key passages in the journal entry are highlighted below.



Orde-Lees' Journal

October 27, 1915


About 4 p.m. came the beginning of the end.


We all felt at once that the crash she received was beyond her power of resistance, and it was so.


She was rising first by the bows then by the stern. Crash followed crash as she vibrated to & fro amidst the embracing ice.


Everyone kept their heads splendidly. Sir Ernest's grand example inspired us all with a confidence in our leader, in a moment such as this, that caused us to look to him for direction in all we did and to work in unison implicitly obeying his orders. For most of the time he stood on the upper deck holding on to the rigging, smoking a cigarette with a serious but somewhat unconcerned air.


To each of us, as occasion offered, he said a word or two of encouragement, such as "Don't forget to take such & such a thing with you if we have to leave the ship." To me, "Mind you put your old diary in my bag as it as been kept rather more regularly than mine, I believe."


It had! Here it is. I don't think Sir E. has written as much in a month as I have in a week, though [heavily scratched out] his is, no doubt, better stuff. Still all that is no business of mine, but the point is that his remark on such an occasion was sufficiently irrelevant in the best sense to entirely allay my apprehension for the time as to the ultimate issue.


As previously mentioned, the three boats were already on the floe, but now came the order, "Out all sledges." followed by, "All sledging provisions ashore.", then "clothing" and at 8 p.m., "All dogs to be taken ashore."


The sledge portion of the aero-motor sledge, the engine pylon of which has never been removed from its huge packing case was finally got out and the upper hamper hacked off it in view of using it for the transportation of one of the boats. ...

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