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Rare photos emerge of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his Antarctic expedition in 1917

  • Photos of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his Antarctic expedition crew have emerged
  • They were taken at a garden party days after returning to civilisation in 1917
  • Shackleton led an expedition to be the first crew to cross the Antarctic by land
  • However, their ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice in the winter of 1915
  • The photo collection, estimated to be worth £3,000, goes on auction on Friday

By Cheyenne Roundtree For Mailonline

Published: 06:57 EDT, 17 May 2018 | Updated: 07:41 EDT, 17 May 2018

Never-before-seen photos of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his Antarctic expedition party taken days after making it back to civilisation have emerged.

The candid images show the exhausted adventurers at a private party held to mark their return to New Zealand in January 1917.

The expedition, led by Shackleton, was attempting the first land crossing of the Antarctic when their ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice in the winter of 1915 and was slowly crushed. 

The collection, which has an estimated worth of £3,000, will go up for sale on Friday with East Bristol Auctions.

Never-before-seen photos of Sir Ernest Shackleton (fourth from left) and his Antarctic expedition party taken days after making it back to civilisation have emerged
Never-before-seen photos of Sir Ernest Shackleton (fourth from left) and his Antarctic expedition party taken days after making it back to civilisation have emerged

Never-before-seen photos of Sir Ernest Shackleton (fourth from left) and his Antarctic expedition party taken days after making it back to civilisation have emerged

The candid images show the exhausted adventurers at a private party held to mark their return to New Zealand in January 1917. Pictured: Irvine Gaze
The candid images show the exhausted adventurers at a private party held to mark their return to New Zealand in January 1917. Pictured: Irvine Gaze
Sir Ernest Shackleton at a garden party, days after making it back to civilisation
Sir Ernest Shackleton at a garden party, days after making it back to civilisation

The candid images show the exhausted adventurers at a private party held to mark their return to New Zealand in January 1917. Pictured: Irvine Gaze (left) and Ernest Shackleton (right)

Ernest Joyce pictured on the Aurora, moments after making it back to civilisation in 1917
Ernest Joyce pictured on the Aurora, moments after making it back to civilisation in 1917

Ernest Joyce pictured on the Aurora, moments after making it back to civilisation in 1917

Pictured: Members of an expedition team led by Irish explorer Shackleton pull one of their lifeboats across the snow in the Antarctic, following the loss of the 'Endurance' in 1916
Pictured: Members of an expedition team led by Irish explorer Shackleton pull one of their lifeboats across the snow in the Antarctic, following the loss of the 'Endurance' in 1916

Pictured: Members of an expedition team led by Irish explorer Shackleton pull one of their lifeboats across the snow in the Antarctic, following the loss of the 'Endurance' in 1916

After months spent in makeshift camps as the ice drifted northwards, the party took to lifeboats to reach the inhospitable, uninhabited Elephant Island.

Shackleton and five others made an epic 800-mile open-boat journey to reach South Georgia and organise the rescue of the stranded crew.

Several of the images show Shackleton and his crew, undoubtedly relieved to still be alive, smiling at the camera and enjoying drinks at a garden party.

They include the explorer Ernest Joyce, the party's chief scientist Alexander Stevens and Shackleton's second in command Frank Wild.

Joyce can be seen aboard the rescue boat Aurora with one of the surviving dogs from the Endurance and her litter of puppies.

The photos were taken by Francis Fisher who was a member of New Zealand's parliament and a celebrated tennis player.

They have remained in the Fisher family for a century and were uncovered by a descendant of his during a house clearance in Bristol. 

Shackleton's animals also made it back to civilisation after the Endurance ship became trapped in ice
Shackleton's animals also made it back to civilisation after the Endurance ship became trapped in ice
The photos were taken by Francis Fisher who was a member of New Zealand's parliament and a celebrated tennis player
The photos were taken by Francis Fisher who was a member of New Zealand's parliament and a celebrated tennis player

Shackleton's animals also made it back to civilisation after the Endurance ship became trapped in ice

Shackleton and five others made an epic 800-mile open-boat journey to reach South Georgia and organise the rescue of the stranded crew
Shackleton and five others made an epic 800-mile open-boat journey to reach South Georgia and organise the rescue of the stranded crew

Shackleton and five others made an epic 800-mile open-boat journey to reach South Georgia and organise the rescue of the stranded crew

Pictured: Dogs leaving the 'Endurance' for training during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17, led by Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton himself watches from the deck of the ship
Pictured: Dogs leaving the 'Endurance' for training during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17, led by Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton himself watches from the deck of the ship

Pictured: Dogs leaving the 'Endurance' for training during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17, led by Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton himself watches from the deck of the ship

Auctioneer Andrew Stowe said: 'Here is one of the world's greatest explorers - Ernest Shackleton - and his entire crew - just a few days after being rescued from the ice. 

'It's amazing to think that just a few weeks prior, all of these men were facing certain death.

'They've come from a Bristol family who were descended from a very notable family based in New Zealand during the period.

'The head of the family at that time was Minister For Trade and Customs in New Zealand, and had direct access to Shackleton and his men upon their return.

'It is a truly remarkable collection.'

The 'Endurance' leaning to one side during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17
The 'Endurance' leaning to one side during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17

The 'Endurance' leaning to one side during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17

Shackleton also led the Nimrod Expedition (1907-09) which carried out a great number of important experiments and got within 100 nautical miles of the South Pole and made the first ascent of Mount Erebus.

Danish explorer Roald Amundsen was the first man to reach the South Pole, achieving the feat on December 14, 1911.

He famously beat Captain Robert Scott's doomed Discovery Expedition by 34 days.

A scientific expedition will next year try to find the Endurance which was lost in 3,000m of water. 

Sir Ernest Shackleton: An example of all that makes a leader

Sir Ernest Shackleton, pictured during his Antarctic expedition  
Sir Ernest Shackleton, pictured during his Antarctic expedition  

Sir Ernest Shackleton, pictured during his Antarctic expedition  

On May 20, 1916, explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton had to make a life or death decision.

Twenty-two men on his trans-Antarctic expedition had been marooned on the edge of Antarctica for more than a year after their ship, the Endurance, had been crushed by pack ice.

To get help, Shackleton and four companions sailed 800 miles across the South Atlantic in a tiny open boat, surviving a hurricane before reaching South Georgia.

Three of them then trekked across mountains and made the hazardous descent down a glacier in the belief that it would lead them to a whaling station .

But now they had discovered that the path was blocked by impassable cliffs.

They had been on their feet for 24 hours, they were frozen and near to despair but they had to retrace their steps.

As Shackleton pondered their next move, his two companions pleaded to be allowed to sleep.

Shackleton agreed but woke them five minutes later, told them they had been asleep for half-an-hour, and insisted they carry on.

The next afternoon they reached the whaling station. And three months later, a ship reached the trapped men.

Later, Shackleton admitted that he too had been tempted to lie down and sleep, perhaps never to wake again. 'To die without any pain was an ideal of death,' he wrote, invoking Keats.

'But if you're a leader, a fellow that others look to, you've got to keep going. That was the thought that sailed us through the hurricane and tugged us up and down those mountains.'

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