The QUEST in FILM
Shackleton-Rowett Expedition 1921-1922 – Archive Video Links
This list is adapted, annotated and reordered into chronological sequence by Jan Chojecki, grandson of John Quiller Rowett, from the list made by Alan Noake. Reference “Wild” refers to Frank Wild’s book “Shackleton’s Last Voyage”, Cassell and Co, 1923.
NB Titles are those which are associated with these clips on-line, which are sadly not always accurate, as noted here where applicable.
There are various film sequences from the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition in the film of Shackleton’s Endurance expedition contained on the BFI DVD “South – Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Glorious Epic of the Antarctic”, BFIVD594. Parts of these also occur in the on-line clips, as noted herein, referring to the DVD as “BFI South – Extras”.
Note: Sequences of rough weather early in the expedition are taken by Wilkins in Bay of Biscay on October 1 1921 – referred to by Gerald Lysaght in his diary extracts. JC Bee Mason, the “cinematographer” was laid up with seasickness at this time.
1. Sir Ernest Shackleton (1921) – 48s.
Source: YouTube https://youtu.be/pYqFqgiqumI
August 1921. Ernest Shackleton and John Quiller Rowett inspect Quest – at Southampton. Same sequence included in item #3.
2. Quest leaves Southampton, England for an expedition to Antarctica and sails past RMS Aquitania – 3m 48s.
From film entitled “Shackleton’s last expedition to Antarctica”.
Long (2m) preamble of text, then a map indicating the route south through the Atlantic taken by Quest, via Rio de Janeiro (NB not the planned route via Cape Town). Shackleton on Quest at Southampton (August 1921). Quest departing Southampton 13 August 1921, Quest passing alongside RMS Aquitania. Aerial shots of Quest and Southampton Water from the Quest’s seaplane an Avro Baby , piloted by Roderick Carr (flew from Hamble airfield before heading to London for disassembling and loading on Quest). Final frame reads text “After stopping at Lisbon for repairs, THE QUEST proceeded on its 30,000 mile journey”. The sequence continues in items #6 and #7.
3. Shackleton’s Ship Tower Bridge (and Southampton)– 2m 11s.
August 1921, Quest passing through Tower Bridge sometime after arriving from Southampton and other shots in Thames, passing Tower of London; then earlier footage at Southampton – John Quiller Rowett, Shackleton and F Wild on bridge of the Quest, each at a window; Shackleton, John Quiller Rowett inspection as #1 – at Southampton, August 1921.
4. Shackleton Leaves For Antarctic (1921) – 1m 56s.
17 September 1921, Quest departs St Katherine’s Dock; Scouts hoisting Union Jack presented to the expedition by HM King George V – John Quiller Rowett watches on; Quest goes downstream through Tower Bridge after turning by London Bridge; Quest crew pose for group photo; Scout Marr and kitten (gift of The Daily Mail newspaper); Quest departs.
5. Departure of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Ship “The Quest” From Tower Bridge for South Seas/Antarctic Expedition – 30s.
Source: British Pathé https://www.britishpathe.com/video/VLVA294A7YJ9BTI8A5UAEKO635IES-NEWS/query/shackleton
17 September 1921, Quest departing St Katherine’s Dock, and passing upstream under Tower Bridge with tug Adder. Crowds on street.
6. Crew members aboard Quest catch a porpoise in the Atlantic Ocean during final expedition headed to Antarctica – 1m 16s.
4 November 1921. Eriksen harpoons a porpoise and it is brought on board Quest. See next clip (#7), this clip is likely taken out from that sequence. NB In the “Byrd edit” of the film the sequence occurs after St Paul’s Rocks – as here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8wZp9jAbQM
7. Shackleton’s final ship “Quest” underway in the Atlantic Ocean during an expedition headed to Antarctica – 1m 34s
About 5 or 6 November 1921. Consecutive film sequence from item #2, starts with text frames “After stopping at Lisbon for repairs, …”. At sea sometime after departing Lisbon; shoals of fish; passing five-masted La France. After departing St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands, on 29 October, Quest sighted La France on a day after November 4 (see Wild) and before reaching St Paul’s Rocks on 8 November.
8. Booby birds seated on St. Paul’s Rocks in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil – 2m 42s.
8 November 1921 – Quest at St Paul’s Rocks, Atlantic Ocean.
9a. The comical appearance of the penguins on South Georgia island during Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica is noted – 1m 33s.
9b. A penguin steals grass from another penguin on South Georgia island during Shackleton’s last expedition to Antarctica – 1m 36s.
9c. Elephant Seals sleep on South Georgia island during an expedition to Antarctica – 2m 57s.
9a-c: 17 January 1922 (probably) – Penguin colony (9 a & b) and Elephant seals (9c) at Cooper Bay, South Georgia (see Wild p80-81).
10. Ship Quest sails past icebergs in the Antarctic Ocean during an expedition to Antarctica – 3m 18s.
18 January 1922 and days following. “The first appearance of icebergs” – views of icebergs in the ocean (parts also in BFI South – Extras, “On the High Seas”). Includes the “curious toothed berg” mentioned in Wild (image facing p83).
The “ladder” referenced in online legend and link text is, of course, Quest’s rigging.
11. Uruguay: Funeral of Sir Ernest Shackleton at Monte Video – 1m 6s.
February 1922 – Funeral/memorial service of Sir Ernest Shackleton at Montevideo. Leonard Hussey with Uruguayan dignitaries.
12. The lying in state of the body of Sir Ernest Shackleton in Montevideo, Uruguay, and its transfer to ship for burial on the island of South Georgia, 1922 – 11m 59s.
15 February 1922 – 12 minute film with Spanish text frames. Uruguayan dignitaries attend lying in state of Shackleton at Montevideo, and transfer of the coffin by horse-drawn gun carriage to port to go aboard SS Woodville for returning to South Georgia. Speeches at the port.
13. Ship Quest sails through ice in the Antarctic Ocean during an expedition to Antarctica – 3m 34s
February 1922. Quest sailing through “young” ice. Some on noticeable swell. Then thicker ice. Same sequence as at just after start of item #10.
14. Quest ship at Elephant Island in the Southern Ocean during an expedition to Antarctica – 1m 3s
25-28 March 1922. View of Elephant Island from Quest.
15. Sir Ernest Shackleton (!!NOT!!) stands near an albatross on South Georgia island during his final expedition toward Antarctica – 2m 4s.
19 April 1922: Clearly not Shackleton, but more likely is George H Wilkins, at Albatross Island, South Georgia on 19April 1922 (see Wild p186 – quoting from Macklin’s diary).
16. Crew members of ship Quest (sic) hunt whales in the Atlantic Ocean during an expedition to Antarctica – 5m 39s.
Likely taken in April 1922, although the online legend suggests this is the Quest, the ship does not look like the Quest. A Norwegian marker flag is placed on the first whale carcass. Eriksen (the harpoon expert) did not go to the south Atlantic, he returned home from Rio, December 1921. Most probably the sequence was shot by a Quest crew member (Wilkins?) on a hunting trip with some of the South Georgia whalers, and this footage was not from on board the Quest.
17. Quest’s Logbook on Ernest Shackleton’s Death; his Grave in Grytviken, South Georgia – 1m 25s.
May 1922. Shot of Quest log book; Endurance members of Quest visit Shackleton’s grave at Grytviken, clear snow off wreaths (see Wild book). Construction of the cairn by all Quest crew (and ship’s dog, Query), May 1922. “THE END”. All same footage as contained at the end of item #18.
18. Shackleton’s Last Antarctic Expedition – 11m 22s. Source: YouTube https://youtu.be/CLKjfu1JbwI
February 1922. Ice floes and swell; Quest breaking floes “miles of young ice”; chipping ice off Quest; Quest at “furthest South” (12 February 1922); loading ice for water; taking soundings through ice; seals on ice floes; killer whales at sea; a gale and crew-member up mast. Ascension Island**, 4 August 1922: a “Wideawake” (Sooty Tern) colony visited by two people, putatively George Wilkins and Maj C A Tennyson, Commandant of the Ascension Island Garrison (see Wild p304). Then May 1922 footage of Quest crew (Endurance members) visit Shackleton’s grave at Grytviken, clearing snow off wreaths (see Wild book); construction of the cairn by all Quest crew (and Query, the ship’s dog) May 1922*** – (as item#17). “THE END”.
* A longer 1m 23s clip of Quest in Antarctic seas occurs in BFI South Extras, entitled “On the High Seas”.
** Ascension Island was visited 2-4 August 1922, on the Quest’s return journey northwards. So that clip of film is not in chronological sequence.
*** A 3m 59s sequence of the grave visit and cairn construction occurs in BFI South Extras, erroneously entitled “Shackleton’s Funeral”.
19. “The Quest” Arrives At Plymouth at End Of Antarctic Expedition – 22s.
16 September 1922: Quest returning to Plymouth 1922, including clip with John Quiller Rowett in profile.
20. Story of the Quest (1922) – 38s.
1922: Scout Marr talking to Scouts on roof of Scouts HQ, Buckingham Gate London. Same location as 17 August 1921 meeting of Marr, Mooney and other candidates when selected by Shackleton.
21. Scout Mar (sic) Wreath on Statue of Captain Scott. Alternative: A Christmas Remembrance 1922 – 37s.
1922: Scout Marr lays a wreath of the memorial statue to Captain Robert Scott, London.
22. Shackleton! ….Explorer!! – 55s.
Source: British Pathé https://www.britishpathe.com/video/shackleton-explorer/query/shackleton
11 January 1932. Lord Zetland unveils Shackleton memorial at RGS London