Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, February 15,1915: “. . . what use is it to continue fighting?”

–from Thomas Orde Lees’ diary–

“15 February. Sir Ernest’s birthday. He is 42. Before ceasing work last night, we gave him three cheers. We all slept well but recommenced the work again directly after breakfast. There is no open water around us wherer broken fragments can escape out of the way, and consequently these all jam together and form an impenetrable mass of slush and lumps in front of the ship. All our energies are concentrated in hauling and pushing these lumps astern.

“The ship split The ******* Lump at 11am and we removed it piecemeal by 3 pm and the ship reached our artificial pool about 4pm. Sir Ernest then decided to abandon the unequal contest, as there was at least 300yds of 10ft thick ice between us and the lead ahead. . . .

“Sir Ernest is the last to admit defeat, but what use is it to continue fighting against such overwhelming odds?”

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