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“Better a live donkey than a dead lion”


Written by Craig Allan

“Better a live donkey than a dead lion”

On 1st January 1908, after the failed attempt of Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery expedition to the South Pole, Ernest Shackleton led his own expedition on a ship called Nimrod.

It was on this trip that he would acquire the nickname “the Boss”, due to his exceptional leadership skills and a uniquely warm style, that focused on close friendships and genuine admiration for each member of his team. 

Legendary Leadership

One example of this was on the return trek from this expedition. They were all on half rations, due to one of their pack mules falling into a deep crevasse, taking most of their food rations with it. His close friend, Frank Wild had been injured in that same incident and concerned for his welfare and the risk of starvation, Shackleton gave Wild his only biscuit ration for the day.

This might seem like a simple gesture, but under the circumstances, fighting against horrible terrain, heavy snow blizzards and temperatures reaching well below minus 100 degrees, this action not only helped revitalise Wild, but also lifted the entire team and saw them support each other, so that they all came home to their families. 

A Journey of Firsts

Although this expedition failed to reach the South Pole, it achieved so many great feats. Reaching further south than anyone before, conducting the first ascent of an Antarctic mountain (Mount Erebus) and completing the first crossing of a trans-Antarctic mountain range to name but a few.

This time Shackleton returned to the UK a hero and soon after, he was knighted.

It was around this time that Shackleton remarked to his wife, “Better a live donkey than a dead lion.”

A truly amazing man and we at Shackleton Technologies are proud that he is our namesake and our inspiration.

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