Newsletter correction

We regret that in our Summer 2022 Newsletter there was an error in the piece about The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust’s Endurance22 Expedition. In it we wrongly described Mensun Bound as Leader of Expedition22. The Leader was in fact Dr John Shears, with Nico Vincent as his deputy. Mensun Bound was Director of Exploration. Full and correct details of the Endurance22 Expedition can be found on their website .

The Quest Chronicle

Quest Chronicle book cover

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new work by Jan Chojecki, grandson of John Quiller Rowett.

This is a limited edition hardback and is available to buy online.

It is the first book for almost a century which concentrates on the Quest (Shackleton-Rowett) Expedition, and contains much unpublished material.

For more information and to purchase this limited edition, please go to the website.

A date to remember

Wednesday 9 March 2022 turned out to be a highly significant day for the James Caird Society and indeed for all admirers of the feats of Sir Ernest Shackleton: not only was it the date of a special reception to mark the launch of Shackleton’s legacy and the power of early Antarctic photography, but it was also the day that the discovery of Endurance, not seen for 107 years, was announced. The former took place in the warm and comfortable surroundings of the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington, London; the latter, as all the world now knows, was in the Weddell Sea, 9,869 feet (3008 metres) beneath the surface where arguably the most famous ship in the world stood proud of the seabed in almost perfect condition, ‘a ship that looks like it sank yesterday.’ (Dan Snow)
More about both these events will appear in the JCS Newsletter this summer. In the meantime, you can find out more about the exhibition here and the discovery of Endurance here

Shackleton’s Legacy Exhibition at the RGS

The James Caird Society is delighted to announce a brand new exhibition has opened to mark the centenary of The Boss’s death. Shackleton’s Legacy and the Power of early Antarctic Photography will be available to view in the Pavilion at RGS until the end of April. This superb exhibition draws on a wealth of material, much of it previously unseen. It was curated by Dr Jan Piggott, former Keeper of Archives and Rare Books at Dulwich College.

Full details can be found here.

Definitely not to be missed!

Shackleton’s Final Quest Voyage

It has been decided – with heavy hearts – by all those involved in organising Shackleton’s Final Quest Voyage that the most prudent course would be to postpone. The situation of those vessels already operating in Antarctica made it increasingly clear that it would be impossible to guarantee that the trip would be as the passengers and organisers anticipated – safe, enjoyable, rewarding – and accomplished in accordance with its chief objective: to commemorate the centenary of Shackleton’s death in a fitting manner.

Ice Tracks Expeditions and Polar Latitudes, supported by The James Caird Society and associated industry experts, have therefore postponed the voyage until December 2022, starting with two nights in Ushuaia, followed by a New Year’s celebration in the Beagle Channel.  On 5 January 2023 a special on-board event will honour the day of Shackleton’s death exactly 101 years previously.  The following day the ship will sail the seldom-visited King Haakon Bay, weather conditions permitting.

All those who were booked on the original trip have already been informed of the changed itinerary. Newcomers who are interested in joining us will be very welcome. We will be sailing on MS Island Sky, leaving Ushuaia on 31 December and returning to London on 20 January 2023.  The historical extension to visit Montevideo is planned for 20/21/22 January, returning to London on 23 January.

Everyone who has been involved with the long and detailed planning of this once-in-a-lifetime trip very much regrets the necessity to pull out at this stage but, as The Boss himself said, “Difficulties are just things to be overcome, after all.” 

 The plans currently taking shape for the postponed event are proof that this particular difficulty is well on its way to being overcome.

If you would like further details about the brand new itinerary for Shackleton’s Final Quest voyage, please look here

A webinar meeting explaining the circumstances of the postponement took place on 21 January. If you missed it and would like to catch up, the recording is available here Shackleton’s Final Quest Webinars & Updates.

 

 

 

Centenary Updates

The ten-strong team of Kent Scouts who took part in ReQuest21 are now back in the UK after a successful expedition. After 20 days at sea taking an active part in sailing the Bark Europa tall ship – taking the helm, helping set sails, climbing rigging and doing lookout duty – they made their way back up the Beagle Channel to Ushuaia, Argentina.

During the trip the team twice crossed the infamous Drake Passage and  explored the waters and islands of the Antarctic Peninsula.

“We have successfully achieved all our objectives for the voyage including taking up a last-minute opportunity to visit Port Lockroy which was established by Scout Marr during Operation Tabarin in World War Two. There is just some work to do on our other project objectives now upon our return the UK – outreach to young people, developing the legacy fund and taking the commemorative plaque to Scotland.”

Full details of the Scouts’ magnificent achievements can be found here.

Closer to home, many members of the James Caird Society and other Antarctic aficionados attended a beautiful choral evensong at Westminster Abbey on 18 January. The service was dedicated to the memory of the Boss’s death in Grytviken in January 1922.

And finally – Shackleton’s Final Quest voyage has been postponed. Please watch this space for further details.

Centenary tributes

Wednesday 5 January 2022 marked the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s death aboard Quest in South Georgia. Many events and expeditions this year pay tribute to the centenary, including the ReQuest21 Expedition undertaken by the Kent Scouts and Shackleton’s Final Quest voyage, organised by IceTracks with the support of the James Caird Society.

Closer to home: Choral Evensong in Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 18 January 2022 will mark the anniversary with a Shackleton theme.

New book, familiar story

Lost, the diaries of Thomas Orde Lees, have been edited and compiled by John Thomson, author of Elephant Island & Beyond.

This brand-new edition will have a special appeal for members of the James Caird Society, not purely because of its superb content! Members are being offered a £5 discount with proof of membership and the publishers have also pledged a further £5 per copy will be donated to the JCS funds for every copy sold. A ‘win win’ situation with the added benefit of a fascinating read.

More information and orders from The Erskine Press or directly from Crispin de Boos at

James Caird receiving visitors again

After over a year in pandemic-driven lock down, the James Caird is once more ‘back in business’. Members of the public can arrange to visit the world’s most famous lifeboat on Fridays at 11.30am.  Please wear a mask and bring evidence of a recent negative Lateral Flow Test. All visits must be pre-booked via

School tours are available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in term time and can be booked by contacting   Tours run from 11.15 to 12.15

Full details of the boat’s location can be found here.

Lucky for some!

Friday 13 August 2021 turned out to be an auspicious day for some lucky members of the James Caird Society and their guests. Those who responded in time were able to enjoy a splendid Grand Summer Barbecue aboard HQS Wellington, voted by some of the assembled company as ‘one of the best settings in London’. Dare we say ‘the best setting?’

Drinks on the top deck, with its stunning views of the Thames and the London skyline, were followed by a sumptuous feast of barbecued sausages and kebabs accompanied by a selection of salads; with delicious desserts to follow!  And all laid on by the magnificent catering crew, Seahorse Hospitality.

The event was attended by more than 60 people and proved so popular that there has been talk of making it an annual event… Watch this space.

Also watch the website for further details of the AGM, planned for Friday 5 November, with dinner in the Great Hall at Dulwich College to follow.