Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, June 22, 1916: Midwinter’s Day at Cape Wild, Elephant Island

—from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees—

“22 June. The great day has at last arrived and who will blame us if we abandon ourselves to an orgy of gluttony? If we are ever to be rescued, we all heartily hope it won’t be this day, or at least not until after supper tonight. Breakfast consisted of a magnificent thick hoosh made from 24 8oz cakes of Bovril sledging ration. We also had a delicious beverage made from four 8oz packets of Trumilk powdered mild; truly a breakfast fit to fete an Antarctic king.

“I don’t think that the most sumptuous breakfast could ever have been more keenly anticipated than ours. All fell to talking of better times, old times and times to come. Little differences were sunk, frictions lubricated and geniality in countenance, speech and interiorly, took possession of each one of us.

“Today peace and goodwill will reign supreme on every side, and not because of any sentimentality connected with this particular date, for it is not an anniversary of anything connected with our secular or religious life, but just because we have full bellies.”

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