100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

British Antarctic Expedition Trapped In Ice

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition headed by Ernest Henry Shackelton departed from South Georgia for the Weddell Sea in December 1914, in the ship ENDURANCE. As the ship moves southward, ice has been encountered, which has slowed progress.


The Endurance has been making her way through pack with great difficulty. Three days ago and only one days sail from their destination, the ice closed in around the ENDURANCE and the temperature dropped dramatically cementing together the loose ice that surrounded the ship as the ship’s storekeeper wrote, she was “Like an almond in a piece of toffee”.

On January 21, 1915 Shackelton realizes that they are hopelessly stuck in the Antarctic Ice. The ship is drifting to the southwest and attempts are being made to free the her when sometimes cracks appeared in the ice nearby, but to no avail. The ice around the ship itself was thick and solid. Men with heavy improvised ice chisels and iron bars breaking the ice up near the ship and the ship at full speed ahead had no effect at all and the ship continued to drift. “We reached the head of the Weddell Sea, but impenetrable barriers of old ice frustrated further progress”.

The ENDURANCE trapped in ice in the Weddell Sea - January 1915

The ENDURANCE trapped in ice in the Weddell Sea – January 1915

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