2016 is the year when we mark the 100th anniversary of the Imperial Trans-Antarctica Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. The Isle of Man have used this occasion to introduce a limited miniature sheet. This sheet consists of two 175p post stamps. One of them is depicting Henry Worsley, an adventurer who experienced the same route that Shackleton used, but one century later and the other is featuring the captain of the famous Endurance – Frank Worsley. Henry Worsley is said to be distantly related to Frank Worsley although there is no clear evidence to support this point. However, given that exploring was in their blood, the connection is likely to be more than co-incidental.
Both stamps include images of the expeditions and they were designed with the help of the photographer Frank Hurley. The original Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition started in 1914 and ended in 1917. Sir Ernest Shackleton used the Endurance ship to reach the Antarctic and wanted to cross the entire continent through the South Pole. There is no doubt that this was one of the toughest exploration missions of all time.
The team included 28 men and, starting from early 1915, they had to continue the mission on floating ice because the ship was trapped in the ice. They ended up in 3 boats and one of them set off to look for help. The team reunited after a few months, and luckily all team members were still alive.
In 2015, Henry Worsley decided to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps. He started the mission from Berkner Island on a solo mission. This was to be a landmark exploration of Antarctica without support and assistance. He covered more than 900 statute miles before asking for help from the Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions team. He needed just 30 miles more to reach his goal. Unfortunately, he was dehydrated and in a very bad condition when the rescue team arrived. A few weeks later he died as a result of bacterial peritonitis.
Before he died, Henry said that he didn’t regret the adventure because he wanted to raise support (£100.000) for the Endeavour Fund. These funds are used to support wounded soldiers during their process of rehabilitation.
This is definitely a story that deserves commemorating and hats-off to the Isle of Man for making this recognition.