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The James Caird Society Newsletter has now reached its 18th issue
Sixteen colour pages make up the latest JCS Newsletter, edited by Dorothy Wright, who includes a range of recent news embracing a host of items about all things Shackleton. It is a beautiful production, and was designed by JCS Committee Member David McLean in association with Strathmore Publishing Services.

Read the entire Newsletter on line in .pdf format

The initial page ('Caird on the curriculum') draws attention to the burgeoning interest of schools in the Shackleton story and the James Caird, which an increasing number of school age pupils - from at least 12 schools - have recently visited.

The James Caird is the centre of these schoolchildren's attention
Much if not all of the credit for this continuing success belongs to the Keeper of the Archives at Dulwich College, Calista Lucy. She has produced a beautifully crafted and memorable lecture on the rigours of the Endurance expedition with its hard-won but happy outcome, and has many ways of delighting and interesting schoolchildren of all ages.

Children listen aghast to the story of the James Caird
Full of human touches, it is as entertaining as it is gripping, to judge by the children's wide-eyed and enthusiastic reactions when she delivers it to them at Dulwich. A lot of information is imparted and insights generated.

The story is new to children this age - and equally fascinating
As if to prove the children's enthusiasm and gratitude, drawings of the James Caird duly emerged. They reflected the fact that such a story can be fascinating and absorbing to children of all ages and ability.

One child's view of the James Caird
The James Caird emerges in glorious technicolor, by way of a thank-you to Calista
The JCS Chairman, Admiral Sir James Perowne, pays tribute to the capable organisers and the quality of the sermon (by the Rt. Revd. Richard Chartres, Bishop of London), readings and music (directed by Andrew Carwood) at the British Antarctic Expedition's centenary service at St. Paul's Cathedral. Captain Scott's grandson, Falcon Scott was one of the readers; Sir David Attenborough another.

Scott and his closest officers, with Ernest Shackleton top rightNot Scott himself, but a lighter moment during Captain Scott's last expedition
Plans are forging ahead for the proposed Centenary Book to commemorate 100 years since Shackleton's Endurance expedition. The book will consist of the best contributions to the JCS Journal hitherto, selected by editor Stephen Scott-Fawcett. The introduction will be by Dr. Ann Savours, and the afterword by Polar Historian Stephen Haddelsey. The special Subscriber Copy will cost £90 + P&P, and the Standard Copy £50 + p&p.

In addition, the Editor points out that there are still some back copies of the JCS Journal available. Numbers One and Two (splendidly edited by Dr. Jan Piggott) are out of print - a good reason for subscribing to the Centenary Book. But a few copies of nos. 3-6 can be obtained from the present Editor, Stephen Scott-Fawcett, price £10 (members £7.50) + £3 p&p at or Apt 6, Sutherland House, Cromer, Norfolk , NR27 0AQ, UK.

Read the entire Newsletter 18 in .pdf format

It is not always realised just how munificent a benefactor Sir James Caird (1837-1926) was - especially to his home city of Dundee. The Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarship Trust (The Caird Trust) was set up by Sir James's sister, Mrs. Marryat, a year after his death, in 1917. It especially benefits young musicians, who have included some famous and emerging musical names amongst them. The phone number is 01382 and the contact email

It is on her sails that the Alexandra Shackleton will depend for a safe passage across the stormy South Atllantic
There is a particularly splendid centre-page spread of colour pictures, focusing on the launch of the Alexandra Shackleton, an aptly-named replica of the James Caird destined under Tim Jarvis's leadership to reenact the crossing in 2013; the boat is shown garlanded as part of the moving launch ceremony; especially interesting is the picture of under deck, which gives a good idea of the cramped yet not inadequate space; although in frost, ice, hail and heavy seas the picture must have been very different!

Cramped or cosy? Let's brew up a pan of hoosh. Julian Woodall, who acted as support medic on the Alexandra Shackleton's Sea Trials, with experienced mountaineer WO Baz Gray,
Philip Rose-Taylor, the skilled sailmaker, can be seen taking his lead from the restored sails of the original James Caird. Trevor Potts, the first to reenact the crossing (albeit not the landing) performed the ceremony of stepping the mast, placing a coin in the mast-hole following tradition; Alexandra herself, our JCS President, officially named the boat and enlivened the setting with striking pink attire.

Master sailmaker Philip RoseTaylor measures up detail on the James Caierd at Dulwich
The Epic Expedition team consists of: Expedition Leader Tim Jarvis; Capt. Darren Naggs (skipper of the Alexandra Shackleton); WO Baz (Barry) Gray, who will lead the mountain crossing; and PO Sebastian Coulthard RN, Bosun of the expedition. There will also be two other (to be confirmed) members to make up the six, in line with Shackleton's own team: Shackleton, Worsley, Crean, McNish, McCarthy and Vincent.

A two-page spread is thus, appropriately, devoted to an article by Sebastian Coulthard about the expedition. Especially enlightening is the detailed information he shares about the meticulously careful construction of the Alexandra Shackleton. A keel of larch, keel of strong English oak and upper deck of Scots pine provide a robust frame; the masts are of Douglas fir. Especial care was given to reproducing the right kind and size of sail. Thus, although the boat is, Seb observes, 'poorly ventilated, damp and dark', it may hopefully, at least, prove safe.

Alexandra Shackleton with Trevor Potts, the first to attempt to recreate Shackleton's boat journey, watch the launching of the Alexandra Shackleton
Much more fascinating detail is given in Seb's very full article on pp 6-7 of the Newsletter, which is heartily recommended to readers.

Read the entire 16-page Newsletter in .pdf format

JCS Committee member David McLean furnished an entertaining but surprisingly insightful 'parody' of Shackleton, listing the 'Boss''s imagined advice to the forthcoming Shackleton Centenary Expedition. Stephen Scott-Fawcett pays an additional tribute to Captain Scott's expedition by briefly reviewing Scott's Forgotten Surgeon, a biography of Discovery expedition member Dr. Reginald Koettlitz. He praises the striking unfamiliar photographs and archive material included. (A fuller review is promised for JCS Journal No. 7.)

Scott's forgotten surgeon: Dr Reginald Koettlitz of the _Discovery_ expedition
Ireland played an important place in Shackleton's background, and in his heart: he consistently referred to himself as 'An Irishman'. The event celebrating the centenary of Shackleton's Nimrod lecture in Dublin, a piece on living descendants of Shackleton's forebears, and a striking picture of the President, Hon. Alexandra Shackleton, with the President of Ireland, Michael Higgins, make an attractive 'Irish' page (see also the 'Irish' page here on the JCS Website). Alexandra's visit to Belfast in late 2011, and to the famous Giant's Causeway (Clochán na bhFomhórach), the coastal area comprising some 40,000 massive blocks of layered basalt, in Co. Antrim, prior to the Shackleton Autumn School, is also covered.

The Hon Alexandra Shackleton meets President Michael D. Higgins together with composer and Shackleton enthusiast Michael Holohan
The most enduring of these 'Irish' items is the exhibition Endurance: Shackleton's legendary Antarctic Expedition, promoted by the AMNH (American Museum of Natural History) which, having run its course visiting some 35 locations wordwide, and been seen by perhaps 2 million people, on the initiative of John O'Reilly and others has found a permanent home at Dun Laoghaire, the port of Dublin, at the old Carlisle Pier, where a replica of the James Caird and Frank Hurley's monochrome images will form a central part of this important and impressive exhibition.

Get details here of the 12th Annual Autumn Shackleton School at Athy

Also in the Republic of Ireland, The 12th annual Shackleton Autumn School will take place at Athy, Co. Kildare from Fri 26 to Mon 29 October 2012.

This year's Shackleton Autumn School runs from Fri 16 to Mon 29 October
One of the key events of the year has been the release, and showing on BBC Television, of Angie Butler's moving film about Frank Wild. Thanks to her efforts, following a hunch based on a 1966 newspaper cutting (referring to 'a chapel') Wild's long-mislaid or forgotten ashes were located in a cemetery chapel at Braamfontein (close, by happy chance, to her parents' grave, so she was familiar with the location). Even more ingeniously, she and a helpful cemetery worker located Wild's casket hidden behind another in the packed vaults below the chapel. The casket and a striking memorial stone made in England describing Wild as 'Shackleton's right-hand man' were transported to the Falkland Islands and on to South Georgia, where on 27 November 2011 the casket and ashes, carried by Wild's great-niece Julie George, were interred close to Shackleton's grave at Grytviken. Two cards secured to flowers from Wild's funeral in Johannesburg in 1939, one from his wife Trixie, were attached to the wreath which Angie Butler laid on the new grave.

Frank Wild's new grave, with its imposing inscription, which lies close to Shackleton's in the whaler's' cemetery in Grytviken, South Georgia
Angie Butler's company Ice-Tracks ( will be running a Frank Wild Anniversary voyage in November 2012. Details from

Alexandra Shackleton with Angie Butler, who discovered Frank Wild's ashes and initiated their return to South Georgia
As usual, a list of some of the President's busy programme of Shackleton-related events is given. To celebrate the creation of a new Whyte and Mackay Scotch whisky to match that of Mackinlays found beneath Shackleton's
hut, a dinner was held - most aptly - at Channings Hotel, which embraces the house where her grandfather and grandmother, Ernest and Emily, used to live while he was Secretary to the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Channings Hotel, Edinburgh, which incorporates the property in which Emily and Ernest Shackleton lived during their time in the Scottish  city
Her fellow-speaker was Tim Fright, great-great nephew of Frank Wild (Tim -appropriately - was a key back-up member of Henry Worsley's Matrix-sponsored Shackleton Centenary Expedition), the interment of whose ashes she also witnessed in South Georgia.

Tim Fright, Frank Wild's great-great-nephew and a key support of the Shackleton Centenary Expedition
In Norway she witnessed the opening of a fine exhibition at Oslo's Fram Museum (Fram was the name of Nansen's flat-bottomed polar ship, which he offered to Shackleton) to celebrate the centenary of Roald Amundsen's conquest of the South Pole. Important also were the events at Portland and Dublin mentioned above; and the service to commemorate Captain Scott and his companions at St. Paul's Cathedral on 29 March 2012.

The imposing and modernistic design of Norway's Fram Museum, commemorating the great Arctic explorer Fridtjof NansenA view from above of the Fram, inside the museum
Lifeboats attached to the side of the restored Fram The striking, ship-like interior of the Museum - shop and library
There are reports of two lectures: that by Dr. Jan Piggott, former Dulwich College archivist and a founder committee member of the Society, who gave an inspirational lecture on Scott and Shackleton, exploring the strengths and foibles of both these two great men; and that by Richard Paterson, the Master Blender for Whyte & Mackay Scotch Whisky distillers of Glasgow, on the 100-year-old Highland Malt discovered under Shackleton's hut.

Plans are afoot to sail the Sir Ernest Shackleton, Trevor Potts's boat used on his recreation of the James Caird journey in 1994, from Scotland to the Scott-Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, arriving in July, as a centrepiece to the planned exhibition to celebrate the Endurance centenary. Lectures en route are planned, and you can even volunteer as a crew member!

Trevor Potts astride his splenmdid replica the Sir Ernest Shackleton, built by McNulty's shipyard on Tyneside
An ancient bellows-type camera similar to that used by Frank Hurley was included in the exhibition at the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, has now been acquired by Dulwich College for its display alongside the James Caird. The camera allows children both to hear and to see the kind of landscape and images Frank Hurley captured in Antarctica. Visitors young and old can put their heads under the back photographic hood and experience the kind of sensations Hurley would have felt, reliving what life was like during the crew's Antarctic ordeal.

An older pupil takes advantage at Dulwich of a view through the 'Hurley' bellow-type camera
The number and quality of pictures which Dorothy has included in Newsletter 18 is truly remarkable. Its colourful appearance and choice of images are both superb. This is certainly a document to treasure, and surely a fine commentary on Shackleton events.

Read the entire 16-page Newsletter in .pdf format



The James Caird Society Annual Newsletter, circulated free of charge to all members, keeps them in touch with activities and developments.

Items featured in more recent Newsletters include extensive information the planned 2008 Shackleton Centenary Expedition, reconstructing the journey south from the Nimrod in 1908-9; a welcome to Admiral Sir James Perowne as the Society's Chairman and a farewell to Major-General Patrick Fagan; the arrival of Captain Bob Tarrant as commander of the Polar vessel HMS Endurance; a report on the visit of the James Caird to the National Maritime Museum, Cornwall's 'Ships and the Sea' exhibition in Falmouth; sundry reports on the repair and preservation of Shackleton's and other huts on the Ross Sea Island; reports from the annual Shackleton School at the Athy Heritage Centre; and Dr. Hussey's famous banjo from the Endurance

Earlier editions included the Pole2pole expedition, a journey by sledge wheelchair and on foot to the Pole in aid of Muscular Dystrophy, by a sufferer who had already made it to the North Pole; the James Caird's years at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich; 'The American on Endurance', an overview of William Bakewell; the opening of the acclaimed IMAX film Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure and the film Shackleton, starring Kenneth Branagh; a review of Williams Mills's groundbreaking Historical Encylopedia Exploring Polar Frontiers; the South Georgia Museum; William Speirs Bruce and the voyage of the Scotia (Scottish Antarctic Expedition); the widely acclaimed Shackleton, the Antarctic and Endurance Exhibition at Dulwich College; the Hon. Alexandra Shackleton's visit to Chile; the Endurance exhibitions in New York and Washington; David Mearns' proposals for locating and retrieving the sunken Endurance; action in support of Albatrosses; the opening by Alexandra Shackleton of the Shackleton Library at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge; the Irish South Aris expedition; Borge Ousland's solo crossing of Antarctica and the Society's celebration of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 125th anniversary.

The James Caird Society Newsletter was edited until 2007 by Margaret Slythe, the former Dulwich College Archivist and a JCS Committee Member. The Society very much welcomes material relating to all things Shackletonian, for possible inclusion in future issues.

It is hoped that back copies of the Society's Newsletter will be in due course appearing on the website in .PDF format. The current Newsletter is available to Society Members only.



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