On his last expedition, to Enderby Land in Antarctica,
Shackleton died aboard ship and is buried on South Georgia Island.
The polar exploration of the Masonic trio are
inevitably interlinked in their rivalry as intrepid explorers. It was after Shackleton's 1907-9 failure to reach the South Pole - falling just 97 miles short - that Amundsen
studied his rival's attempt and prepared for his own assault on this daunting task.
In 1911 Scott and
Amundsen were rivals to reach the South Pole. Amundsen was
successful; the Scott's expedition ended in tragedy. Amundsen put his success down to his carefully selected sled dogs, whereas Scott had used Siberian ponies rather than dogs.
On 18 October 1911, the Norwegian, known as 'the last of the Vikings' set off on his final drive to his destination
from the Bay of Whales, on Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf. The weather was in their favour.
Scott set off three weeks later. On 14 December 1911,
Amundsen raised the
Norwegian flag at the South Pole, returning to their base
camp on 25 January 1912, 99 days and 1,860 miles after their departure.
Scott's expedition spent five days confined to their tents because of the blizzards, reaching the South Pole on 17
January 1912. They headed back for a journey they would never complete, for on 29 March 1912, with temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, Scott and two surviving companions crawled into a tent. Eight months later their frozen corpses were found, only
11 miles from a food and supply depot they had left on their outward trek.
Two of the great polar explorers had died in the frozen waste. A third was to be added when Amundsen, flying on a rescue mission in 1928, was killed when his plane crashed into the Arctic Ocean.
Three great polar explorers - a trio of famous Freemasons
- have given their lives in the cause of human endeavour. Their inspiration of indomitable spirit lives on. As the Freemasons' Chronicle said in
an obituary to Shackleton on 4 February 1922: 'The whole of the Masonic Craft shares regret at the untimely death of the great scientist Sir Ernest Shackleton. He was a member of our Order, and at a Ladies Festival (of which Lodge he was an honorary member), announced to the public his last Antarctic Expedition via New Zealand.' It is
encouraging to know that his name and achievements are still so much alive today.
Web site created by Mark Griffin