10-16 September, 1921

Saturday 10 September, 1921

Donald Maxwell, artist, author and yachting correspondent writes in The Graphic “The organisers of the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition are to be congratulated on their splendid spirit and enterprise. ……..to misquote from an old and popular song….They’ve got the ship, They’ve got the men, They’ve got the money too.”

Monday 12 September, 1921

Sire Robert Baden-Powell’s message – Be Prepared!

Tuesday 13 September, 1921

The Times carries a Reuters report from Cape Town stating that Dr E J Goddard, Professor of Geology and Zoology at Stellenbosch University has been officially nominated to the staff of the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition. As well as strengthening the scientific composition of the team, this is in line with John Quiller Rowett’s ambition to have representation from all Dominion nations.

The Daily Mirror reports: “Football on the Floe. Sir Ernest Shackleton, who is about to set forth on The Quest, is taking a number of footballs with him. He told me the other day that a game of football in polar regions was one of the best expedients for keeping men in good temper”

Wednesday 14 September, 1921

Shackleton receives a telegram from HM Queen Alexandra from Sandringham:

“Sir Ernest Shackleton, Marlborough Club, Pall Mall. I wish you and all on board the Quest God speed and the best of good fortune in your expedition to the Antarctic, a prosperous voyage and a safe return”

On the same day, in Edinburgh, Scouts Marr and Mooney are guests of the Scottish Executive of the Scouts Association and are given cameras and a supply of film. They then visit the City Chambers and meet the Lord Provost, Sir Thomas Hutchinson. After “attending a picture house” and supper, they are seen off at Waverley Station by friends, relatives and Scout officials, on the overnight sleeper train to London, King’s Cross.

Thursday 15 September, 1921

Scouts Marr and Mooney visit Quest and load some of their baggaga and then head to Ely Place where they are billeted at the home of the estate bailiff for two nights, until the Quest’s departure.

Last minute work is still going on loading and preparing Quest, including work by divers fitting plates (for wireless earth) to the hull. Quest is very tightly packed with many items stacked around the decks and not stowed to begin with. A shipment of items is sent ahead by ship to Cape Town – including the wings and floats of the seaplane, extra warm clothing and footwear for Antarctic use, sledges and harnesses and many other stores and items for colder climes.

The Daily Mail presents the Quest with a black kitten as a mascot. It is named “Questie”

As well as the Questie, many other mascots and gifts have been showered on the expedition. Among the most treasured are jackknives given by Mrs Oates, mother of Captain “Titus” Oates who perished with Scott on the Terra Nova expedition in 1912.

There are in fact two kittens in Quest’s complement, as Roddy Carr also has one, and by departure they are both adept at climbing about in the rigging.

Friday 16 September, 1921

Quest’s ship’s motto is

On the strength of one link in the cable, dependeth the might of the chain.

These lines are from the poem “The Laws of the Navy” by Rear-Admiral Ronald A Hopwood published in the British Army and Navy Gazette of 23 July 1896. Hopwood sends the Quest a picture, on which he has written the motto, with images of “famous ships that have made England, and made London possible, because of the mariners of England”.

The full verse reads:

On the strength of one link in the cable,
 Dependeth the might of the chain.
 Who knows when thou may'st be tested?
 So live that thou bearest the strain!