A Union Jack from Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917A Union Jack from Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917

A Union Jack from Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917

£ 5,400.00




United Kingdom


Flag height: 2 inches (5cm) Width: 2¼ inches (5.5cm) Framed height: 18 inches (46cm) Width: 11 inches (28m)

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A Union Jack from Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917

This small handmade silk Union Jack Flag was carried by Dr Robert Selbie Clark (1882-1950).  It is framed together with an envelope addressed to ‘Miss Laura Richards, 68 Durnford St, Stonehouse Plymouth‘ over inscribed ‘The enclosed little flag I gave to Dr Clark before leaving for the Antarctic. It was returned to me on his return with Sir Ernest  Shackleton‘, with Penzance and Plymouth postmarks dated ’27th April 1914′

Provenance:  Miss Laura Richards to her sibling and spouse, thence to their grandson.

Miss Laura Richards was the vendor’s Great Aunt, who died tragically when her house in Tavistock caught fire around 1963/4 (she had moved there from Plymouth).  He remembers going to the property with his parents to clear her belongings.  The flag was found in its accompanying envelope on which she had written the story.  Soon after, he was given the flag by his grandparents (Laura’s sibling) as he had taken a liking to it on that day.  Apparently, the vendor’s grandparents had known of Aunt Laura’s possible romantic connection with Dr Clark.

Dr Robert Selbie Clark was a Scottish Marine Zoologist who was the Marine biologist aboard ‘Endurance’ on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s (1874-1922) Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-1918.  When ‘Endurance‘ became lost to the ice pack, Clarke travelled with Shackleton aboard the ‘James Caird’ to Elephant Island and stayed there with the remaining crew while Shackleton set off for assistance.  Clarke remained on Elephant Island for four months until Shackleton’s return aboard ‘Yelcho‘ on 30th August 1916.

The voyage of the James Caird was a journey of 800 (1,300 kilometres) from Elephant Island in the South Shetland Islands through the Southern Ocean to South Georgia, undertaken by Sir Ernest Shackleton and five companions to obtain rescue for the main body of the stranded Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–1917.  The epic journey was ultimately successful with all 28 explorers saved.  Many historians regard the voyage of the crew in an open 22’ 6” (6.9 m) ship’s boat through the “Furious Fifties” as the greatest small-boat journey ever completed.

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