+1
#1  Top Rated Post
Two injured Afghanistan War veterans are part of a four-man team which is to take on the route which almost defeated Ernest Shackleton 100 years ago.

The team is flying out to Argentina today to begin what promises to be a gruelling five-week trek across one of the most inhospitable wildernesses in the world.

The mission was inspired by Shackleton, who famously saved the crew of his ship Endurance more than a year after it became trapped in pack ice and sank.

The men, who are fundraising for a 300million military rehabilitation centre, will retrace the famous mission Shackleton made from Elephant Island to South Georgia in a 22ft boat and back again in a rescue ship.

Led by David Hempleman-Adams, one of the world's most experienced explorers, and former Captain in the Royal Dragoon Guards Justin Packshaw, the team will spend five weeks on the mission.

Enduring freezing temperatures, they will first retrace Shackleton's journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia (which, alongside the South Sandwich Islands, is now a British Overseas Territory 864 miles to the south east of the Falklands), before trekking across mountains to South Georgia's former Grytviken whaling station where he found help - a journey of almost 1,000 miles in total.

Thankfully they will have many more modern conveniences than Shackleton and his men - including crampons and the latest in exploring technology - but the trip is not without its dangers.

The re-enactment is in aid of the new Duke of Westminster's Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) at Stanford Hall, near Loughborough, Leicestershire which is due to open in 2018 and cost 300million.

It will replace the current national centre in Headley Court in Surrey, which the Ministry of Defence says is out of date.

It is backed by Prince William, who said: 'It is very inspiring that 100 years on wounded soldiers are following in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton's daring rescue from Elephant Island to South Georgia.

'In doing so they will be displaying the same perseverance in adversity that characterised Shackleton's 1914 Endurance expedition and which we see today in those members of the armed forces who are fighting their way back from serious injury.'


The bravest men on ice: Two wounded Afghan heroes are in team of four taking on the route which almost defeated Shackleton 100 years ago


Four British explorers fly out today to begin the five-week mission

Backed by Prince William, they include corporal wounded in Afghanistan

They are fundraising for military rehabilitation centre near Loughborough

Trip takes them on the same path as explorer's 1916 rescue mission

His ship Endurance was trapped in pack ice but the crew survived

By Dan Bloom for MailOnline
5 October 2014
Daily Mail

Two soldiers who were wounded in Afghanistan are retracing Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic rescue mission after almost 100 years.

They are part of a four-man team who are flying out to Argentina today to begin what promises to be a gruelling five-week trek across one of the most inhospitable wildernesses in the world.

The mission was inspired by Shackleton, who famously saved the crew of his ship Endurance more than a year after it became trapped in pack ice and sank.


Big shoes to fill: From left, David Hempleman-Adams (British explorer who is the first person in history to reach the Geographic and Magnetic North and South Poles as well as climb the highest peaks in all seven continents, the Adventurers Grand Slam), Ollie Bainbridge, Keith Harbridge, of the Royal Dragoon Guards, and Justin Packshaw, also of the Royal Dragoon Guards, fly out today to re-enact Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic rescue mission - 98 years after the famous explorer


Following in his footsteps: The Endurance mission (left) led by Ernest Shackleton (right) ended in a long rescue


The men, who are fundraising for a 300million military rehabilitation centre, will retrace the famous mission Shackleton made from Elephant Island to South Georgia in a 22ft boat and back again in a rescue ship.

Led by David Hempleman-Adams, one of the world's most experienced explorers, and former Captain in the Royal Dragoon Guards Justin Packshaw, the team will spend five weeks on the mission.

Enduring freezing temperatures, they will first retrace Shackleton's journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia, before trekking across mountains to the former Grytviken whaling station where he found help - a journey of almost 1,000 miles in total.

Thankfully they will have many more modern conveniences than Shackleton and his men - including crampons and the latest in exploring technology - but the trip is not without its dangers.

One of the explorers is 26-year-old Corporal Ollie Bainbridge, who was awarded the Military Cross for 'a display of personal courage, selfless commitment and inspired leadership' in Afghanistan.

The soldier was driving an armoured Jackal vehicle on his second tour of duty to the country when it hit a roadside bomb, leading to a fierce firefight.

He stayed cool under pressure, dragging a colleague to safety and making sure the injured were evacuated.


Ready to go: The team make the final preparations at the Household Cavalry's Hyde Park Barracks in London with their equipment



Trapped: The Endurance was stuck in pack ice for months before it sank, leaving its crew to fight for survival


But the next month, he was fighting insurgents when he was blown up by a grenade, shattering his elbow and hitting his leg with shrapnel.

Joining the serving soldier is Lance Corporal Keith Harbridge, whose ear was injured in a grenade attack in Afghanistan in 2010.

Despite having long-term problems he has returned to the Royal Dragoon Guards and is still playing an active part in the Army - managing to go skydiving and caving in his spare time.

He told the Sunday Telegraph: 'I get vertigo when I’m climbing now and I can’t run as fast as I used to.

'I’m sure those things will slow me down. My main worry is that I will become a burden.'

Just as the First World War was breaking out in August 1914, the Endurance's crew set out from London with the lofty ambition of becoming the first to cross the Antarctic continent.

In January 1915 the ship became trapped in pack ice and began drifting, its crew unable to do anything except hope it would become unstuck.


Once the ship (left) went down, Shackleton travelled almost 1,000 miles to the Grytviken whaling station on South Georgia (right)



Hard graft: The men pulled their remaining 22ft boat - fortunately the new expedition will have better equipment


They remained by the ship for most of the year until finally, in November 1915, it sank beneath the ice.

That left the exposed crew to march across the inhospitable Antarctic ice, setting up camps in freezing conditions in their bid to be rescued.

By March 1916, the crew had shot the last of their original team of 69 dogs and eaten the youngest ones.

The next month, when the crew were camped on Elephant Island, Shackleton announced he was doing what most would have thought impossible - vowing to sail a boat just 22ft long more than 800 miles to South Georgia.

Once he arrived he and two others trekked over glacier-covered mountains to fetch help from a whaling station, which sparked the eventual rescue mission. All the crew survived.

The re-enactment is in aid of the new Duke of Westminster's Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) at Stanford Hall, near Loughborough, Leicestershire which is due to open in 2018 and cost 300million.


Poignant: The images of the Endurance stuck in Antarctic ice have become a symbol of perseverence


It will replace the current national centre in Headley Court in Surrey, which the Ministry of Defence says is out of date.

It is backed by Prince William, who said: 'It is very inspiring that 100 years on wounded soldiers are following in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton's daring rescue from Elephant Island to South Georgia.

'In doing so they will be displaying the same perseverance in adversity that characterised Shackleton's 1914 Endurance expedition and which we see today in those members of the armed forces who are fighting their way back from serious injury.'

To donate to the expedition visit the team's JustGiving page.


Grytviken, in the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI), today


An artist's impression of the new Duke of Westminster's Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) at Stanford Hall, near Loughborough, Leicestershire which is due to open in 2018 and cost 300million


The trek is supported by Prince William, with the future king calling it "very inspiring"



Read more: Wounded soldiers retrace Shackleton's Antarctic rescue mission after almost 100 years | Daily Mail Online
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Last edited by Blackleaf; Oct 5th, 2014 at 12:51 PM..