Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, January 1916: “To lose a spoon or a knife was a calamity.”

–from Frank Hurley’s account “Shackleton’s Argonauts”—

“Table furniture was of the simplest. Our tent [Hurley shared a tent with Shackleton, Hudson, and James] possessed a sheath-knife which was common property. Each man had, in addition to a tin lid which served as a plate, a spoon, either a souvenir from the ‘Endurance’ or one carved from a piece of wreckage.

“To lose a spoon or a knife was a calamity. By this time we had begun to fear a shortage of food, and rations had to be used economically. It was therefore customary to dally as long as possible over meals so that their meagerness might not be so apparent, and mental satisfaction might at least be stimulated. With a sigh the last morsel was sedulously scraped from the tin lid, and spoons were licked and put by into the indispensable pocket on the chest of the jersey.”


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