A Modern-Day Explorer
Former Army officer turned explorer, Henry Worsley, planned to follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton and become the first man to cross the Antarctic completely unaided. He intended to do this in just 80 days without the use of a kite to help pull his sledge. After covering 1,469km, and with only 48km to go, Worsley radioed for help, suffering from exhaustion and severe dehydration. He was airlifted to hospital in Punta Arenas, where he sadly passed away from complete organ failure, after it was discovered that his abdomen was infected with bacterial peritonitis. He was 55 years old.
After 71 days alone in Antarctica, Henry Worsley’s final audio message conveyed his utter disappointment at having to bring his charity expedition to an end so close to his final destination. “Many mountaineers battle away and fail to reach the summit. My summit is just out of reach” he said with great sadness. Worsley compared his experience to that of Shackleton, whose ship Endurance was trapped and sunk by the sea ice in 1915, stranding him and his crew before they could finish their journey across Antarctica. Following his death, Worsley’s target of GBP 100,000 for the Endeavour Fund was doubled as donations flooded in. The Endeavour fund is part of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, which supports injured veterans through sport and adventure opportunities.
In honour of Henry Worsley’s memory, One Ocean Expeditions interred his ashes and transported his family to South Georgia at the end of November. His tombstone was erected in the small whalers’ cemetery in Grytviken Church, where Shackleton was buried at the behest of his wife, Lady Emily Shackleton, in 1922. After surviving the initial Endurance sinking disaster, Shackleton died of a heart-attack at the age of 47 during his fourth trip to the polar region on the largely unsuitable vessel, Quest. In 2011, the ashes of Shackleton’s fellow polar explorer, Frank Wild, were also interred in the same cemetery by One Ocean Expeditions, alongside his friend. Henry Worsley has now joined the great explorers of a bygone, heroic age. His courage and determination in the face of adversity will not be forgotten and we at One Ocean Expeditions were proud to join Henry’s wife, Joanna, and their two children, Max and Alicia, on Henry’s final journey.