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November 2023

Shackleton’s Sledging Compass and Replica Sledging Flag
Object Title:  Sledging Compass & Replica Flag
This month we bring you two objects with a significant connection to expeditions to the south polar region.

After working on the Discovery Expedition (British National Antarctic Expedition), led by Robert Falcon Scott, Shackleton went on to lead his own expedition south – the Nimrod Expedition (British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909).

Having received backing from a wealthy businessman, Shackleton headed south with a team of eminent scientists. One team set out with a goal to climb Mount Erebus, another to reach the Magnetic South Pole and a third team, led by Shackleton, tried to reach the South Pole. Shackleton’s team managed to climb up to and trek across the polar plateau before Shackleton made the decision to turn back in order to save the lives of his starving men. They were just 97 nautical miles from the Pole; closer than anyone had achieved before.

This compass was one of a pair used by Shackleton on the expedition.

The flag is a half-size replica of the sledging flag that would have been attached to the back of the sledge. It features elements from the Shackleton family crest – three yellow lozenge-buckles on a red field, yellow field left and right.

Compass donated by the honourable Alexandra Shackleton. Flag donated by Jonathan Shackleton.