Shackleton Centenary Service - 20 May 2016
A service of thanksgiving for the courage and endurance of Sir Ernest Shackleton CVO and his men on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914 - 17) was held at Westminster Abbey on Friday, 20 May 2016. The date chosen for the service was the centenary of the day when Shackleton, Frank Worsley and Tom Crean stumbled, exhausted, unkempt and unrecognisable, into the whaling station of Stromness in South Georgia following their epic voyage of 800 nautical miles in the tiny James Caird and their crossing of the uncharted central mountain range of South Georgia to raise the alarm about their marooned colleagues on Elephant Island, which led eventually to their rescue on 30 August 1916.
The service was organised by the trustees of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University. It was attended by HRH the Princess Royal, patron of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, accompanied by Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, KCVO, CB, and by the Lord Mayors of London and Westminster and representatives of the High Sheriff and of the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, who were received by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev'd and Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres KCVO, delivered the address to a congregation of well over 2,000 people. Members of the Shackleton family were present including Sir Ernest's grand daughter, the Hon Alexandra Shackleton.
The service was followed by a reception for invited guests at the Institute of Civil Engineers.
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