Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, July 11, 1915: “Captain Worsley is our skipper. He is a vital spark.”

–from Thomas Orde Lees’ diary–

“11 July. Another beautiful clear day, though not nearly so light as yesterday. There was much pressure going on, so Captain Worsley and Clarke went over to watch it. Captain Worsley is our skipper. He is a vital spark. His activity and keenness are extraordinary. In accidentally wintering here he is achieving a lifelong ambition. I am sure he must be invaluable as a helpmate to Sir Ernest.

“A New Zealander by birth, he is of Yorkshire extraction. About 44 years of age, he looks ever so much younger and is far more nimble than most men half his age. Although some fellow are a little inclined to chaff him rather uncharitably about his little whims, his excess of zeal and his over-anxiety to make sensational discoveries, yet there is no doubt that everyone recognizes his suitability for the post he holds.

“Personally I have found him a sound counsellor and a firm friend and have great respect for him, but it must be admitted that some of our members are experiencing submission to discipline for the first time and do not perhaps realize its advantages quite so easily as those of us who have spent a good many years in H.M. service.”


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