Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, April 23, 1916: “Today the ‘Stancomb Wills’ was turned upside down. . . .”

–from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees—

“23 April. The blizzard has subsided but there is now very heavy snow and still a strong wind. It is much colder. The ‘James Caird’ is now completed for Sir Ernest’s latest venturesome undertaking. The carpenter has contrived wonderfully with the very limited resources at hand. Although I would rather die than undertake such a journey, I think her crew should be able to keep fairly dry.

“Today the ‘Stancomb Wills’ was turned upside down in the same way as the ‘Dudley Docker’ to provide a residence for the sailors. We have not been getting many seals yet—two on the 21st and a big one yesterday.

“The ‘James Caird’ being ready for sea, Sir Ernest is only waiting for fair enough weather to launch her. At present there is far too much surf. The following have been selected to accompany him: Captain Worsley, Crean, the carpenter (McNeish) and two sailors, Vincent and McCarthy. The distance is 750 miles in a straight line. The object of undertaking the journey is to obtain relief at the earliest possible moment. Bravo! Brave leader.”

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