He joined Capt. Robert Falcon Scott's British National Antarctic (Discovery) Expedition (1901–04) as third lieutenant and took part in the sledge voyage through the Ross Ice Shelf with Scott and Edward Wilson when latitude 82deg16'33" S was reached. He continued south with them but became ill with scurvy and had to be left behind at that point. Scott and Wilson went on without him to discover Antarctica, while he waited for help that never came.
Shackleton later wrote two books about his experiences: The Heart of the Antarctic (1908) and South (1911). When he returned home, he became involved in politics and was elected president of the Shackleton Memorial Committee which raised funds to build a memorial to Scott and Wilson. This monument is located near the spot in Antarctica where they died.
Here is a list of the people who participated in the Discovery expedition and their roles:
Ernest Shackleton - leader, geologist, biologist, meteorologist, photographer
Robert Falcon Scott - captain, organizer
Edward Wilson - doctor, botanist
Henry Robertson Bowers - zoologist, anthropologist
Frank Wild - mechanic, assistant cook
James Barry - carpenter, painter
Shackleton was chosen to join the British naval commander Robert Falcon Scott's Antarctic expedition on the ship "Discovery" in 1901. Shackleton undertook his third expedition to Antarctica aboard the ship "Entrance" in 1914, intending to reach Antarctica via the South Pole. His goal was to bring back news of World War I for the British government.
During the first season at the South Pole, Shackleton met up with Scott's bodyguard Thomas Crean and agreed that if one of them were to be killed, then the other would carry on their mission. In February 1915, while returning from a hunting trip, Shackleton was attacked by a polar bear but managed to shoot it with his gun. However, during the struggle to kill the bear, Shackleton was injured by its claws and had to return to base camp early. He sent word back that he was OK but that he was unable to continue. After this incident, Crean decided to go to Antarctica himself. He reached the South Pole on August 13, 1915, just nine days after Scott's death. There is now a town in Antarctica named after Thomas Crean: Crane Flat.
Shackleton returned home in 1916 but was accused by members of the British government of being a coward for leaving Scott behind. He was found not guilty of any crime but was forced to resign from the army.
He traveled much, but he was particularly interested in investigating the poles. Although originally meant to be a temporary position, Shackleton proved so valuable that he was made chief scientist on the expedition. He tried to reach the South Pole but failed, losing seven of his team members along with most of their supplies. After returning home, he rebuilt his life and became involved in another attempt to reach the Pole. This time it succeeded.
Shackleton's experience as chief scientist on the "Discovery" expedition helped him organize another effort to reach the Pole. In 1907, he joined a French expedition that reached the South Pole successfully. That same year, he founded the company that would become known as Shackletons of Whaling City, Maine, which grew to be one of the largest importers of whale oil into the United States. In 1909, he went back to Antarctica as leader of the British Royal Research Expedition. This time he aimed to cross the continent from south to north, but unfavorable weather conditions prevented him from reaching the pole this time either. However, he did discover new land, which is now known as part of Antarctica. In 1914, still eager to explore, Shackleton led a joint American-British expedition that reached the South Pole again.
The name celebrates the British arctic explorer Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874–1922) and the Endurance mission. I find it amazing that he was able to persevere in the difficult conditions of Antarctica. From 1901 to 1904, he was the third officer of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery Expedition. During this time, he helped to rescue two of their colleagues from the ice field.
Shackleton went on to have a successful career in business, but lost most of his money when the South Atlantic Telegraph Company for which he worked during part of his retirement went bankrupt. He died at the age of 60 in London after suffering a heart attack while playing golf.
Endurance is a large boat used by Shackleton when he needed to cross an area of open water too large for other ships to reach. The boat served as a relief vessel during the first year of the expedition, and then was converted into a laboratory and research center when Shackleton realized how useful she would be. After leaving Antarctica, she made several trips between Britain and South Africa before being sold for use as a fishing boat in South Africa. Today, she is located in Cape Town and is open to visitors.
Shackleton called his ship Endurance because he knew that there were strong winds coming off the Antarctic Peninsula that could last for many months at a time.