Ross Sea Party

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The Ross Sea party was a component of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914–17. Its task was to lay a series of supply depots across the Great Ice Barrier from the Ross Sea to the Beardmore Glacier, along the polar route established by earlier Antarctic expeditions. The expedition's main party, under Shackleton, was to land on the opposite, Weddell Sea coast of Antarctica, and to march across the continent via the South Pole to the Ross Sea. As the main party would be unable to carry sufficient fuel and supplies for the whole distance, their survival depended on the Ross Sea party's depots, which would cover the final quarter of their journey.

Shackleton set sail from London on his ship Endurance, bound for the Weddell Sea in August 1914. Meanwhile, the Ross Sea party personnel gathered in Australia, prior to departure for the Ross Sea in the second expedition ship, SY Aurora. Organisational and financial problems delayed their start until December 1914, which shortened their first depot-laying season. After their arrival the inexperienced party struggled to master the art of Antarctic travel, in the process losing most of their sledge dogs. A greater misfortune occurred when, at the onset of the southern winter, Aurora was torn from its moorings during a severe storm and was unable to return, leaving the shore party stranded.

Despite these setbacks, the Ross Sea party survived inter-personnel disputes, extreme weather, illness and the deaths of three of its members, to carry out its mission in full during its second Antarctic season. This success proved ultimately without purpose, because Shackleton's main expedition was unable to land after Endurance was crushed in the Weddell Sea ice. Shackleton eventually led his men to safety, but the transcontinental march did not take place and the Ross Sea party's depots were not required. The Ross Sea party remained stranded until January 1917, when Aurora, which had been repaired and refitted in New Zealand, arrived to rescue them. Public recognition of their efforts was slow in coming, but in due course four Albert Medals were awarded to members of the party, two posthumously. Shackleton later wrote that those who died "gave their lives for their country as surely as those who gave up their lives in France or Flanders."

Read more about Ross Sea PartyBackground, Personnel, Problems in Australia, Rescue, Aftermath

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Aeneas Mackintosh - Ross Sea Party - Disappearance and Death
... The unstable condition of the sea ice in McMurdo Sound prevented them from completing the journey to the Cape Evans base ... On 8 May 1916, after carrying out reconnaissance on the state of the sea ice, Mackintosh announced that he and Hayward were prepared to risk the walk to Cape Evans ... the ice, or that the ice on which they had been walking had been blown out to sea during the blizzard ...
SY Aurora - Trans Antarctic Expedition - 1917 Ross Sea Party Rescue
... refit of the Aurora for the rescue of the Ross Sea Party ... After his legendary ordeal on the Endurance in the Weddell Sea sector, Shackleton arrived in New Zealand during December 1916 ... week later, the seven survivors of the original ten members of the Ross Sea Party were headed back to Wellington, New Zealand aboard the Aurora ...
Ross Sea Party - Aftermath
... than a year after her final return from the Ross Sea ... Aboard her was James Paton of the Ross Sea ship's party, who was still serving as her boatswain ... Near the end of his life Dick Richards, the last survivor of the party, was without regrets and did not regard the struggle as futile ...
Aeneas Mackintosh - Assessment
... The two main sources available to Ross Sea party historians are Joyce's diaries, published in 1929 as The South Polar Trail, and the account of Dick Richards The Ross Sea Shore Party 1914–17 ... Alexander Stevens, who was the Ross Sea party's chief scientist, found Mackintosh "steadfast and reliable", and believed that the Ross Sea party would have achieved much less, but for Mackintosh's ... that Mackintosh and his men achieved their object, praises the party's qualities of endurance and self-sacrifice, and asserts that Mackintosh died for his country ...
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... from Europe to Asia and back, and from northern Africa to the Baltic Sea ... An important raw material, amber was transported from the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts overland by way of the Vistula and Dnieper rivers to Italy, Greece, the Black Sea, and Egypt thousands of years ago ... land of the Boii (modern Czech Republic and Slovakia) to the head of the Adriatic Sea (modern Gulf of Venice) ...

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