Endurance descendants to mark centenary by completing ancestor’s unfinished business



The family of the chief scientific officer from Ernest Shackleton’s famous Endurance expedition are to mark its centenary by completing part of his intended route to the South Pole and by digitising unpublished journals kept by their ancestor, James Wordie.


One of the best legacies of our trip would be the creation of an archive covering Wordie and the other members of the Endurance expedition, so that their narrative can be available to anyone interested in polar science, its history, and climate change.
   - Tim Holmes

A century after Sir Ernest Shackleton’s plan to cross Antarctica was dashed on the ice, the relatives of his party’s chief scientific officer are planning to complete their ancestor’s unfinished journey.

Next week, members of the family of James Wordie, geologist and chief scientific officer on Shackleton’s ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917, will mark its centenary by setting out on an expedition to the frozen continent. The group of 12, led by noted explorer David Hempelman-Adams, plan to walk and ski the final leg of Shackleton’s intended route to the South Pole, arriving on December 15, almost 100 years after Shackleton hoped to do so himself.

As well as commemorating the anniversary of one of the most dramatic episodes from the heroic age of Antarctic exploration, the project - Endurance 100 - has been devised to encourage fundraising for the creation of a digital legacy that will benefit future generations. The intention is to raise enough money to digitise Wordie’s diaries, and relevant papers belonging both to him and other members of the Endurance expedition. These will be made available for public research with the help of St John’s College, Cambridge, where Wordie was a student, Fellow, and later Master; and the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge.

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Image - Left: James Wordie was chief scientific officer in Shackleton’s Weddell Sea party, which sought to walk across Antarctica via the South Pole in 1915. Right: Members of the Endurance South Pole 100 team training in the Cairngorms
Credit: Frank Hurley via Wikimedia Commons / Tim Holmes

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge

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