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"Sir E. led the way..."

The Boat Journey

Alexander Macklin's Journal

April 11, 1916


Sir E. led the way in the James Caird and showed great skill in getting along, so that we were only stopped by dark from going further along...

The James Caird, with those of us who were sleeping in it, and No. 1 Tent, were cut off from the rest of the camp, the crack having opened very widely and rapidly. A line was slung across, and by all hands pulling, we managed to get the floes to approach and succeeded in all joining up again. We dropped all the tents, and stood by till daylight. Sir E., who is extremely thoughtful on these occasions, served out a block of Nut Food each, and had some milk warmed up. We all crowded round the little stove with its smoky, flickering, blubber flames, and very weird we must have looked.


This journal entry brings to mind physicist Reginald James' comment on Shackleton's leadership strategies: "He realized fully the enormous and almost instantaneous effect of food on the morale, and took all kinds of trouble to vary the ration or try some new way of cooking things, to issue a little tit-bit to commemorate something, a birthday for example, or some other anniversary.  I spent 6 months in the same tent with him, and I know better than most how ceaseless was his thought for this kind of thing.  His method was really the constant application of small corrections, unnoticed by nearly everyone, yet very potent in their cumulative effect."

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