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Monday 18 July, 1921

In the fall-out following his comments at Becker’s event on 8 July, Ernest Shackleton writes to John Quiller Rowett’s wife, Ellie, from the Marlborough Club, Pall Mall:

never the lowered Banner, never the lost Endeavour” I like these lines.

My dear Ellie,  

I have just left John and cannot refrain from writing to you. Everything is all right between us again. I know there was much to justify his being upset for I was careless in the way I spoke at Becker’s but little did I think it would be taken up like that and blazoned around the world.  God knows that I fully realize and feel all that John has done for me and that you have ever, as I know from him as well as I know intuitively myself, always backed this effort of mine. So, Ellie, I would not do anything to hurt or belittle John. I have no ulterior motive to anyway. I just look to John to stand by me as he is doing. I am not good at business but I am an explorer and backed by his trust I know I will make good. Ellie in many ways I have had a hard row to hoe but I feel I will win through this time. I have my chance and I won’t fail either of you.


  …John is big but sensitive above ordinary men.”

Wednesday 20 July, 1921

Sir Ernest Shackleton is received by HM Queen Alexandra at Buckingham Palace. Afterwards, he and Lady Shackleton travel to the Rowett’s at Ely Place where they stay until Sunday.

Thursday 21 July, 1921

Sir Ernest Shackleton and John Quiller Rowett inspect Quest being refitted at the Thornycroft yards at Southampton, with others recruited to the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition.

Frank Wild, John Quiller Rowett and Sir Ernest Shackleton inspecting the Quest at Southampton. Lewis Rickinson at right, behind Shackleton
Frank Wild, Lewis Rickinson, George Hubert Wilkins, Shackleton and John Rowett at Southampton

Sunday 24 July, 1921

Sir Ernest Shackleton is received by King George V and Queen Mary and is presented with a silk Union Jack for the forthcoming expedition.

Wednesday 27 July, 1921

A cricket match takes place at John Quiller Rowett’s home, Ely Place, Frant between members of the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition and the Ely Place Estate team.

Sir Ernest and Lady Shackleton and their three children, Raymond (16), Cecily (14) and Edward (just turned 10), all attend, joined by Dr and Mrs Hugh Robert Mill.  At the cricket match, Mill presents a copy of his book the Siege of the South Pole (1905) to John Rowett, with the inscription “J Q Rowett with the kind regards of the author and best wishes for the Quest of Rowettia.  27 VII 21”.

Also participating are expedition members Frank Wild, Roddy Carr, James McIlroy, Douglas Jeffrey, Alexander Macklin, Leonard Hussey, Frank Worsley, and George Hubert Wilkins.

Also present are veterans of the Endurance expedition – the biologist Robert Selbie Clark and Lewis Rickinson. Clark (1882-1950) is a zoologist from Aberdeen and has played cricket for Scotland (1912 and 1924). He served in the Royal Navy in WW1 after returning from the Endurance expedition. Currently, he is living in Plymouth. He later moves back to Aberdeen and becomes Director of the Fisheries Research Laboratory at Torry, Aberdeen.  Rickinson had been First Engineer on Endurance. He has been heavily involved in the refitting and preparation of the Quest but, being married and with two young children, he has decided not to join the expedition.

Sir Ernest and Lady Shackleton watching the cricket at Ely Place
Sir Ernest and Lady Shackleton at the left. Ellie Rowett’s motorised chair can be seen further along the boundary rope