9-16 August, 1921
Saturday 13 August 1921
At Southampton, a lunch is held on board RMS Aquitania, attended by, amongst others, Shackleton, John Rowett, Wild, Jeffrey, Kerr, Macklin, Rickinson, Eriksen and Captain W Bridgland, the Channel Pilot. The Daily Mail (15 August) reports “Mr Harris, the manager of the Southampton office of the Cunard Line, was the host and Chief Steward Jones served a wonderful meal at short notice in the Aquitania’s dining room, with a centrepiece representing the South Pole in icing sugar surmounted by fur-clad explorers and guarded by penguins, and a menu-card inscribed “May your Quest be fruitful and success attend your high adventure.”
Quest leaves Southampton, passing the RMS Aquitania on way down Southampton water. Quest is guided by Capt W Bridgland, the Channel Pilot.
At Netley, Southampton Water, Roderick Carr flies Quest’s Avro Baby seaplane over from Hamble airfield. He then flies the plane to London to be dismantled prior to loading.
Off Southsea, Shackleton orders a small change of course to greet a party of Boy Scouts who have sailed out towards Quest.
Sunday 14 August, 1921
Quest proceeds up the English Channel, in heavy seas, to Eastbourne, where Shackleton lives, and anchors just offshore as it is too rough to dock at the pier. Chaotic scenes ensue as members of the press and the public row out to inspect the vessel. The lucky ones, including a party of Girl Guides, get a tour aboard. Lady Shackleton is Divisional Commissioner of the Guides at Eastbourne. The Eastbourne Guides present the expedition with a prismatic compass.
Monday 15 August, 1921
Quest arrives at Ramsgate at 10 am and docks between the bridges of the crosswall of the harbour. This visit is by arrangement with Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills. Ernest Shackleton arrives by car from Eastbourne for tours by local dignitaries. Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills hoists the flag presented by King George V, watched by a crowd of “over 5000”. After a private dinner on board, the Quest departs at 10pm, with a fireworks send-off.
Tuesday 16 August, 1921
Quest docks at Hay’s Wharf. Meanwhile, the ten short-listed scouts arrive in London for interview to be Cabin Boy on the expedition.