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The Death of the Endurance 1915

Photograph of Frank Wild (1873-1939) standing on the left of the picture with a pipe in his left hand as he takes a last look at the wreckage of the

Wild observes the wreck ©

During the winter, Endurance had drifted almost 600 miles while stuck in ice. In October, the pressure of the floes increased, forcing the ship over at an angle. The men began to move their stores off the ship as she broke up. Following the final order to abandon ship, issued on 26 October, the men set up ‘Dump Camp’ on the ice. The Endurance went down on 21 November.

Hurley photographed the ship as she was crushed and disappeared into the icy waters. He had managed to rescue all his glass negatives from the wreck, but then had the heart-wrenching task of selecting only 120 from a total of over 500. The glass was too heavy for the men to carry, so the remaining negatives were destroyed.

The men camped on the drifting ice for several months. There was an attempt to march to Paulet Island, but the conditions defeated them. Eventually, on 9 April 1916, Shackleton gave the order to take to the lifeboats and head for Elephant Island.