Polar Castaways: The Ross Sea Party (1914-17) of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

An earnest and thorough review of Shackleton’s Ross Sea relief party that successfully planted supply depots for Shackleton, though he never reached or needed them.

p. 46: The rich tones of Italian tenor Enrico Caruso wafting from a gramophone that had been positioned on deck [of Aurora] added a surreal touch.

p. 60: Before turning in the Padre [Rev. Arnold Patrick Spencer-Smith] read some Robert Browning poetry and from St. John’s Gospel. ‘All the old questionings seem to come up for answer in this quiet place; but one is able to think more quietly than in civilization.’

p. 97, Shackleton assessing John Lachlan Cope in 1920: The man from all records and diaries…is shown to be inefficient, lazy and incompetent…the one independent piece of work he had to do was to lay a depot…he failed to do this because he used to camp at the slightest pretext and read novels in his sleeping bag until late in the morning instead of marching though the men with him urged him to proceed.

p. 112: A set of Encyclopaedia Britannica presented by Captain Davis, and an HMV gramophone, on loan from Aurora for six weeks, were welcome additions to the shore base.

p. 128: The homesick Spencer-Smith [the Padre] spent much of his day reading in his bunk.

p. 156: Inspired by the Canadian poet Robert W. Service, he [Keith Jack] was moved to compose ‘The Lone South Land’, Land of the Great White Silence, grim land of the polar night; Land of the blighting blizzard, ice fields glistening bright; [etc.]

ff. p. 176, 8th page of unnumbered illustrations has good photo of R. W. Richards reading Elements of Meteorology; the book is now in the Canterbury Museum.

p. 193, Cardinal Newman’s Dream of Gerontius, a copy of which the Padre carried on the sledge journey, seems an appropriate epitaph to this young clergyman.

p. 231, at Cape Evans, July 1916: Spirited arguments were conducted on subjects such as the war in Europe, and Darwin’s Origin of Species.

p. 232: in August Stevens and Wild made beer “with the help of a recipe from Encyclopaedia Britannica….”

p. 234, at Cape Royds they found five hymn books.