Shackleton: The Last Voyage


In the early hours of January 5, 1921, shortly after the Quest arrived in South Georgia, the explorer Ernest Shackleton suffered an atheroma, which caused his death.His autopsy was carried out the following day, extracting his internal organs and injecting formalin in anticipation for the procedure of embalming to be completed in Montevideo, which would allow for his body to arrive in England in good condition. On January 19th the remains- accompanied by Dr. Leonard Hussey- embarked on Professor Gruvel, reaching Montevideo ten days later. Coincidentally, the Captain Rupert Elichiribehety- who in June of 1916 had commanded the expedition to attempt the rescue of the men of the Endurance- was one of those who boarded the ship to receive the remains. On the 30th, the embalming process was completed at the Military Hospital, it being already known the final decision of Lady Shackleton to have the body returned to South Georgia as a symbol of inspiration to other Antarctic explorers. The Government of Uruguay determined to pay him Minister Honors on their embarkation day—the 15th of February. The last journey was fulfilled in the whaler, Woodville. Prior to setting sail though was a touching ceremony in the English Temple. From there, the carriage with the body advanced towards the port escorted by senior officials, troops, and a crowd that recognized the human values of the dead, in unanimous homage to the charismatic polar hero. This article forms a guideline for a rather touching, but not well-known, story that links the Eastern Republic of Uruguay with this exploratory figure.

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