Tom's third and final expedition to the South
Pole took place in 1914. The ship was called Endurance.
This expedition was headed by Sir Ernest Shackleton. He wanted to walk
from coast to coast of the Antartic Continent, a very daring and dangerous
mission of over 2800 kms.
But Endurance encountered many hardships and became totally surrounded
and embedded in floating ice. There was nothing the crew could do except
wait to see what happened or where they would drift to. In the meantime
they carried on with their daily chores. One of Tom's jobs was to look
after the sleigh dogs, one of which had four pups born on board. Tom
named them Roger, Toby, Nell and Nelson.
The Endurance drifted over 1500 kms away
from where it had intended to land
but it still had not broken free from the ice. Suddenly the 28 crewmen
heard the timber of the ship beginning to weaken under the huge pressure
from the ice. They knew Endurance was going to sink. They packed as
they could and prepared to leave with the animals and equipment.
The ship sank in November 1915.
They tried travelling through the ice but could only manage about two
kms a day. They had to shoot some of the animals as they could not feed
them, heartbreaking as this was for all of them. Food was running low
and they men were exhausted but the nearest land was still hundreds
of miles away.
When water eventually opened up through the ice the men travelled in
the lifeboats they had taken from the ship to Elephant island. A small
uninhabited island where nobody had ever been. They reached this island
over a year and four months after they had first set sail.
Six men including Tom set sail for South Georgia for help. It was a
viciosly dangerous task but they had no choice. It was either that or
face death on Elephant Island and yet there were no guarantees they
would reach there destination alive. It was over 1000kms through deadly
After many narrow escapes at the mercy of the weather they men reached
land and almost collapsed on the beach.
Three of them, Tom, Shackleton and Skipper Worsley then had to walk
for a day and a half, through tough icy conditions,to find people working
in the whaling stations.
The following day their three comrades were rescued. However it took
a few months to rescue the men on Elephant Island due to the severity
of the weather. They had all suffered enormously and were lucky to be
The 28 courageous men were taaken to Chile where they received a wondrous
reception and later travelled back to their own countries.