Shackleton Selects His Men: Reginald James (Physicist)

—from a letter written by James, October 1955, quoted in “Shackleton” by Margery and James Fisher—

“On my way home I visited some relatives in Manchester, and while there received a telegram from Shackleton asking to see him next morning in London. I did so, and was appointed after an interview of about ten minutes at the outside, probably more nearly five. As far as I remember he asked me if my teeth were good, if I suffered from varicose veins, if I had a good temper, and if I could sing.

“At this question I probably looked a bit taken aback, for I remember he said, ‘O, I don’t mean any Caruso stuff; but I suppose you can shout a bit with the boys?’ . . .He did not ask me about my physics. . .After this he put out his hand and said, ‘Very well, I’ll take you.’”

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