Tribute was paid to the courage and endurance of the Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, and his men at a centenary service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in London on Friday, May 20th commemorating their survival in their Trans- Antarctic expedition.
The service took place exactly one hundred years to the day since Shackleton and two of his comrades walked into Grytviken whaling station in St. Georgia, to reveal to the world that they had survived the sinking of their ship Endurance and many months trapped in the Antarctic ice.
The packed congregation was headed by the Princess Royal, Patron of the United Kingdom Antarctic Trust, accompanied by her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence. Civic dignitaries included the Lord Mayor of London. The Ambassadors of Uruguay and Chile were also present representing two countries with close links with Shackleton.
The Chilean Navy provided the ships to enable Shackleton to rescue the remaining 22 members of his expedition marooned on Elephant Island. After Shackleton’s death on a subsequent expedition, Uruguay gave him what was similar to a State funeral in Montevideo before he was buried in South Georgia.
The Princess Royal read a passage from the Bible and the Honourable Alexandre Shackleton, the explorer’s grand-daughter, read an extract from a book about Shackleton’s boat journey to South Georgia to begin the rescue attempt. This paid tribute to his outstanding leadership at times of greatest peril and difficulty, as told by the Bishop of London, Sir Richard Chartres, in his address. The congregation included many representatives of organisations active in the Antarctic.
Harold Briley, London