Endurance trapped in the ice during the Shackleton expedition to Antarctica, 1915
The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–1917) was a British expedition to Antarctica led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. Though it failed to reach its objective, the Shackleton expedition became a famous survival story.
On December 5, 1914, Ernest Shackleton and 27 crew members set sail in the Endurance from the island of South Georgia. The expedition planned to make the first crossing of the Antarctic continent.
Soon after leaving the island, the Endurance entered the Antarctic pack ice and crossed the Antarctic Circle. In January, it sailed near a portion of the Antarctic continent that Shackleton named the Caird Coast.
Trapped in the Pack Ice
On January 18, 1915, the Endurance became trapped in the pack ice during a storm. After the immobilized ship had drifted for 9 months, pressure from the ice finally caused the sides to open up, and water flooded the Endurance. Shackleton gave orders to abandon ship on October 27, 1915.
Journey Across the Ice
On November 21st, the Endurance sank, and the crew began trekking across the ice. They survived challenging terrain, subfreezing temperatures, hurricane-force winds, and food shortages.
In April 1916, the men boarded lifeboats they had salvaged from the Endurance and reached uninhabited Elephant Island after a harrowing seven-day journey.
In a last-ditch attempt at survival, Shackleton and five others set sail for South Georgia. They arrived after rowing and sailing more than 800 miles over two weeks in rough seas.
Elephant Island Rescue
All attention then turned to the rescue of the 22 men left on Elephant Island. After three failed attempts, Shackleton’s fourth try was a success. On August 30, 1916, 634 days after first leaving South Georgia, the remaining crew was rescued from Elephant Island. Incredibly, every man from the Endurance survived.
In 2022, an international team discovered the wreck of the Endurance at the bottom of Antarctica’s Weddell Sea.
Learn more about the Shackleton Expedition through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Shackleton Expedition
Newspaper reports on Ernest Shackleton's planned expedition to Antarctica, including map 04 Jan 1914, Sun The People (London, London, England) Newspapers.comErnest Shackleton will purchase the Norwegian ship Polaris (renamed Endurance) for his expedition 06 Feb 1914, Fri The Newcastle Daily Journal (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England) Newspapers.comSled dogs from Canada arrive in England for Shackleton's Antarctic expedition 14 Jul 1914, Tue Evening Standard (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.com"Official list" of crew members appointed to the Shackleton expedition ships Endurance & Aurora 16 Jul 1914, Thu The Nottingham Evening Post (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England) Newspapers.comShackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition leaves London; the queen sends farewell telegram 01 Aug 1914, Sat Evening Standard (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comMessage from Shackleton on South Georgia gives his expedition plans & says stowaway was found 09 Feb 1915, Tue Western Evening Herald (Plymouth, Devon, England) Newspapers.comNews of Shackleton completing his expedition expected "to reach England at any moment" in Mar. 1916 19 Mar 1916, Sun The Observer (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comNewspaper publishes photographs of Ernest Shackleton and members of the Antarctic expedition's crew 25 Mar 1916, Sat Daily Record (Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland) Newspapers.comNewspaper pictures of Ernest Shackleton, expedition crew members & Shackleton's wife and children 26 Mar 1916, Sun Sunday Pictorial (London, London, England) Newspapers.comExcerpt describing what happened to the Aurora, the 2nd ship in Shackleton's Antarctic expedition 04 Apr 1916, Tue The Daily Telegraph (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comAnxiety about the expedition grows when the Endurance fails to arrive in Argentina when expected 15 Apr 1916, Sat Derby Daily Telegraph (Derby, Derbyshire, England) Newspapers.comNews breaks that Shackleton and expedition crew are alive & survived the wreck of the Endurance 01 Jun 1916, Thu Manchester Evening News (Manchester, Greater Manchester, England) Newspapers.comNews of Shackleton's survival makes front page of Boston newspaper 01 Jun 1916, Thu The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) Newspapers.comNewspaper photograph of the Endurance, Shackleton's ship on his Antarctic expedition 01 Jun 1916, Thu The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) Newspapers.comShackleton's firsthand account of the Endurance crew's survival story up through May 1916 02 Jun 1916, Fri The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comLady Shackleton reacts to news of husband's survival & expresses concern for men on Elephant Island 02 Jun 1916, Fri The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.comNewspaper prints map showing planned routes of Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 02 Jun 1916, Fri The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia) Newspapers.comCrew members McNish, Vincent, and McCarthy tell of journey to Elephant Island and South Georgia 04 Aug 1916, Fri The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.comShackleton expedition photos of pack ice & the Endurance trapped in the ice 05 Aug 1916, Sat Fall River Globe (Fall River, Massachusetts) Newspapers.comPicture of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance crew members of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition 04 Sep 1916, Mon The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) Newspapers.comFront-page coverage of news that Shackleton has rescued the 22 men remaining on Elephant Island 04 Sep 1916, Mon The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Newspapers.comRemaining Trans-Antarctic Expedition members on Elephant Island rescued with Chilean ship Yelcho 09 Sep 1916, Sat The Tamworth Herald, etc. (Tamworth, Staffordshire, England) Newspapers.comSecond-in-command Frank Wild gives eyewitness account of expedition and rescue from Elephant Island 09 Nov 1916, Thu Newcastle Daily Journal and Courant (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England) Newspapers.comShackleton tells of rescue of 7 surviving Aurora crew members who were stranded in the Ross Sea 12 Feb 1917, Mon Devon and Exeter Daily Gazette (Exeter, Devon, England) Newspapers.comDiscovery of wreck of Shackleton's ship Endurance is announced in 2022 09 Mar 2022, Wed Evening Standard (London, Greater London, England) Newspapers.com
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