Sons of the Nimrod

Descendants of Shackleton's 1908 South Pole crew set out on another attempt

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Six years before his failed bid to transect Antarctica—the Endurance locked in ice, crew near death, 870-mile trek, courageous leader, miraculous rescue, etc.—Ernest Shackleton sailed from New Zealand on the Nimrod, on an expedition to reach the unclaimed South Pole. Roald Amundsen would get there first, in 1911. The closest the starving, four-man British team got, before eating their ponies and turning back, was 88° 23′ south—only 97 miles from the pole. This month, exactly 100 years after the expedition’s Antarctic march began, five descendants of the Nimrod crew (and one from the Endurance) will attempt to complete the mission. Three of the crew of British lawyers and businessmen will ski the entire route, while the remaining three will join them at 88° 23′ south.

1. Ernest Shackleton

1874–1922 | Ireland
“The Boss” led four Antarctic expeditions and once ran unsuccessfully for Parliament. He turned his Nimrod crew back to save their lives, noting it’s better to be “a live donkey than a dead lion.”

2. Eric Marshall

1879–1963 | England
Over the course of the Nimrod expedition, Marshall removed a man’s eye, another’s tooth, and a couple of frostbitten toes.

3. Frank Worsley
1872–1943 | New Zealand
In 1915, he piloted Shackleton’s lifeboat 800 miles through dangerous seas to seek help for the stranded crew.

4. Henry Worsley* | 48
Frank Worsley’s distant cousin and the expedition’s leader, Worsley is freakishly obsessed with Shackleton. He’s even borrowing the Boss’s original compass for the trip.

5. Emily Dorman

1869–unknown | England
Dorman married Shack­leton in 1904. They had three children.

6. Will Gow* | 36
The great-grandnephew of Shackleton’s wife, Gow dreamed up the centennial expedition and has been training for several years.

7. Jameson Adams

1880–1962 | England
The stocky bachelor ran away to sea at 13, serving in the Royal Naval Reserve in both world wars.

8. Frank Wild
1874–1939 | England
Shackleton’s loyal right-hand man, Wild was the only person to accompany Shackleton on all of his expeditions. He earned four polar medals.

9. Tim Fright | 25
The great-grandnephew of Wild, Fright is an assistant to the chairman of Cobra Beer.

10. Henry Adams* | 34
Adams’s great-grandson learned about the expedition from the radio and asked to join.

11. Patrick Bergel | 37
Bergel claims to lack his great-grandfather’s “appetite for polar exploration.” But he’s still going.

12. David Cornell | 39
Adams’s great-grandson was tasked with raising $1.2M for the expedition and its foundation.

13. Rhys Ifans | 40
Over the course of Notting Hill, he removed most of his clothes.

* Attempting the entire route

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