SHACKLETON NEWS ARCHIVE
Amongst the extensive and carefully archived material of interest to Shackletonians at the 'South Pole' site is an intriguing transcript of the diary notes of Able-Bodied Seaman Alasdair MacKinnon, who was a member of the crew of the Aurora.
The Aurora, which approached Antarctica from the New Zealand end (as Shackleton had done in 1907-9 with the Nimrod expedition) set out to lay the supply depots which Shackleton's projected South Pole party would require as it completed the planned crossing via the pole from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea. Its men, left without orders or any knowledge of how the main party was faring, and enduring fatalities as their marooned colleagues did not, have been described as the 'forgotten party' of the ill-fated 1914-16 Endurance expedition, and indeed Lennard Bickel's book about the ship and its crew was entitled Shackleton's Forgotten Men.
Now a handsome new volume has appeared which tells the story in detail: Polar Castaways - the Ross Sea Party (1914-17) of Sir Ernest Shackleton, by Richard McElrea and David Harrowfield.
The story however, was fraught with ill-luck and indeed tragedy which places its crew's misfortunes almost on a par with that of the Endurance crew. One such story befel the young man pictured above: Arnold Patrick Spencer-Smith was the ship's chaplain on the Aurora, who took part in the laying of supply lines for Shackleton, but was one of the three who was not to make it home from that fateful expedition.