The Aurora Crew Are Rescued.
Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
On this day, January 10th 1917, over four months after Ernest Shackleton, Tom Crean and Frank Worsley had rescued the last of the Endurance crew from Elephant Island, Shackleton arrived at Cape Royds, Antarctica, to save the stranded men of the Aurora.
The Aurora crew had been tasked with laying the supply depots, that Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic team would avail of, having come through the Pole from the Weddell Sea. Of course this would never happen as the Endurance was held fast in the ice of the Weddell, and never even made landfall on Antarctica.
As the expeditions second ship, the Aurora sailed to the other side of the continent, through the Ross Sea, and made landfall at McMurdo Sound. They followed in the footsteps of Scott, and laid supply depots across the Ross Ice Shelf all the way to the foot of the Beardmore Glacier.
Ross Sea party members: Back row from left: Joyce, Hayward, Cope, Spencer-Smith. Centre: Mackintosh third from left, Stenhouse fourth from left.
The ten men from the shore party, that ultimately completed the task of laying all the depots, had been left stranded after the Aurora was ripped from its moorings in May 1915, and was unable to return, due to the drifting ice which carried it out to sea. The ice would hold the ship captive on a drifting course of over 1,600 mile before she managed to cut free, and then sailed to New Zealand for repairs.
Three of the men had died before Shackleton accompanied the re-equipped Aurora to rescue them on January 10th 1917. The expeditions photographer and chaplain, Arnold Spencer Smith succumbed to scurvy, returning from the Beardmore Glacier, in March 1916, and the Commander Aeneas Mackintosh and Victor Hayward perished after attempting to walk to Cape Evans across very unstable sea ice, on May 8th 1916.