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Plymouth, 23 September, 1921

Friday 23 September, 1921

Quest arrives at Plymouth and slowly crosses the Sound, pausing at Drake Island. She eventually ties up at the West Wharf of the Great Western Millbay Docks.

3.00 pm: Shackleton and John Rowett arrive at Plymouth by the Cornish Riviera Express and head directly to the ship. They are accompanied by George Valentine Williams, the son of the chief editor of Reuters, who is a Daily Mail journalist. In 1915 he had become one of the first accredited war correspondents.  

Watched by large crowds of onlookers, a civic deputation, led by the Mayor Mr W S Knight, Deputy Mayor, Mr Isaac Foot and Mr R J Fittall, the Town Clerk, visits Quest.

Scouts Marr and Mooney are taken off for a guided tour of the town conducted by Mr Vincent Winnicott, Scoutmaster of the 5th Plymouth Scouts, after which they meet with local Scout and Cub officers at Goodbody’s Café. There they are joined by the Chief Wolf Club Commissioner, Mr N D Power.

Shackleton addresses 1200 Royal Navy trainees on board training ship HMS Impregnable, commanded by Captain Gordon Campbell, VC.

Captain, later Vice Admiral, Gordon Campbell VC, DSO (1886-1953) is, like Shackleton and Rowett, an Old Alleynian, having attended Dulwich College between 1898 and 1900. He received the Victoria Cross for service on 17 February 1917 while commanding HMS Farnborough in action with a U-boat in the north Atlantic.

Immediately after Shackleton’s address, Captain Campbell writes:

“Impregnable to Quest.
Captain, Officers, men and boys, thank you very much for coming aboard, they will never forget your kindness and the words you addressed to them.
They wish you and all aboard good luck and a safe return, you are setting an example which we hope to benefit from.
Gordon Campbell, Captain”

In the evening, a dinner is hosted by John Rowett at the Grand Hotel Plymouth.

The menu is signed by: Ernest Shackleton, Isaac Foot (Deputy Mayor), James McIlroy, C R Carr, W Bridgland (the Channel pilot), G Valentine Williams, Capt. Gordon Campbell VC, J C Bee Mason, Alfred..illeg .., G S Lysaght, G Vibert Douglas, W S Knight (Mayor of Plymouth), R S Clark, Geo H Wilkins, M P Traill-Smith, R J Fittall (Town Clerk),

Robert Selbie Clark the biologist from Endurance, and international cricketer (and who had joined the Quest side in the match against the Ely Place estate on 27 July) is living in Plymouth at this time.

Commander Mervyn Patrick Traill-Smith RN, of the Admiralty Compass Department, is present to supervise the calibration of Quest’s compasses tomorrow. He is seated third from right, next to Frank Worsley, in the photo of the Grand Hotel dinner.