17-31 May 1921

Friday 20 May 1921

Ernest Shackleton visits the Rowetts at Ely Place and stays the night. Lady Shackleton, already there since 12th, stays on after he leaves the next day.

John Quiller Rowett has by now agreed to fund the whole expedition – which will amount to an outlay of around £100,000 (over £5m in 2021 equivalent). There is an expectation that the investment will be returned out of future lectures, films and books.

However, it is now too late in the year for an Arctic expedition. Shackleton does not want to wait another year and so changes plans and aims to go to the Antarctic instead, as he has already indicated to Macklin. Rowett agrees to this drastic change of plan but it means there is little more than three months to prepare – instead of even six months in which Shackleton’s previous expeditions, on Nimrod and Endurance, had been planned.

John Rowett and Shackleton with Lewis Rickinson at Southampton

Tuesday 24 May 1921

Sir Ernest Shackleton stays the night at Ely Place, and leaves the next day with Lady Shackleton.

John Quiller Rowett and Ernest Shackleton in discussion with Sir Daniel Gooch at Southampton. “Curly” Gooch assisted in the Endurance expedition with the dog team, accompanying as far as South Georgia before returning home. In 1921 he is living in Totton, near Southampton

Monday 30 May 1921

The Daily Sketch announces: “Captain Frank Wild and Dr J. A. McIlroy, who served in Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition [Endurance], arrived at Plymouth from Nyasaland. They have returned from Central Africa in response to a cabled invitation from Sir Ernest to take part in his forthcoming trip to the Arctic”