Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, July 28, 1915: On Shackleton’s character

–from Thomas Orde Lees’s diary published as “Elephant Island and Beyond”–

“About his [Ernest Shackleton’s] only undesirable idiosyncracy is a strong propensity to unnecessarily bustle things. He will quite suddenly give an order, say, to shift the whole of the cases out of one of the holds and immediately has the whole thing done with a rush and a scramble when there is not the least need of undue hurry.

“This has happened, much to our discomfort, several times. The result is that after weeks of labour in getting things in order, suddenly one finds everything is completely muddled up and nothing get-at-able, and one has to start all over again getting things straight.

“He is just the same in other departments, expecting things to be done in an unreasonably short time. It might be thought he did so merely by way of testing one’s efficiency but this is not so at all. Strange to say, in spite of all of this, nothing gets on his nerves more than seeing anyone else attempt to do anything by ‘tour de force.’ ”


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