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Signed copy of book about Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition to go under hammer

Signed copy of book about Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition to go under hammer
The book, titled South, has been signed by Ernest Shackleton’s second-in-command, Frank Wild.

A copy of an account of Ernest Shackleton’s famous Antarctic expedition, signed by one of his companions, is to go under the hammer.

The book details explorer Shackleton’s attempt to become the first person to cross the Antarctic by land from one side to the other.

It has been signed by Frank Wild, who was second-in-command on the expedition which set off in 1914.

The expedition did not go as planned and Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, sank after it was crushed by sea ice.

The copy of the account of the expedition is inscribed by Shackleton’s second-in-command Frank Wild, ‘To Vince, from those who appreciate his worth & villanies,’ and additionally signed below by the trip’s surgeon, James McIlroy (Lyon & Turnbull/PA)
The copy of the account of the expedition is inscribed by Shackleton’s second-in-command Frank Wild, ‘To Vince, from those who appreciate his worth & villanies,’ and additionally signed below by the trip’s surgeon, James McIlroy (Lyon & Turnbull/PA)

The 27-strong crew managed to escape in three lifeboats and reached uninhabited Elephant Island, off the coast of Antarctica.

With five others, Shackleton set off in a small boat for a whaling station on the island of Sør-Georgia, 800 miles unna.

In an incredible feat, Shackleton and his men successfully made the voyage before three of them made a journey of about 40 miles over mountainous and icy terrain, including a climb of almost 3,000 føtter, to reach help.

Shackleton and his men did not return to the United Kingdom før 1917.

Although his Antarctic crossing was unsuccessful, his ability to ensure he and his crew survived made him a national hero

Dominic Somerville-Brown, Lyon & Turnbull

The copy of the account of this expedition, called South, has an inscription by Mr Wild which says: “To Vince, from those who appreciate his worth & villanies,” and also by the trip’s surgeon, James McIlroy.

The recipient of the book is likely to have been John Vincent, from Birmingham, who was the deck boss during the expedition, but who was later demoted due to his aggressive behaviour.

Sør, which is considered one of the great books of Antarctic exploration, will go on auction live and online through Edinburgh-headquartered auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull on July 13.

Bidding for the rare copy will begin at £1,000, the auction house said.

Lyon & Turnbull’s rare books, manuscripts & maps specialist, Dominic Somerville-Brown, said the story of the sinking of the Endurance and the crew’s survival has attained “an almost mythical status” and the copy is “an amazing piece of history”.

“Although his Antarctic crossing was unsuccessful, his ability to ensure he and his crew survived made him a national hero," han sa.

“As well the physical fortitude required, he had to deal with challenging relationship dynamics.

“The fact that the book is inscribed to John Vincent makes it particularly interesting.

“Shackleton’s strained relationship with Vincent is evidenced by the fact that on the return to England he was one of only four expedition members not to be recommended by Shackleton for the Polar Medal.”

Han la til: “I anticipate that this copy of the expedition will generate quite a bit of interest.”

Shackleton never returned to the Antartic and died of a heart attack in 1922.

I mars i år, his ship, the Endurance, was found largely intact on the seabed.