reed, our own services to the country in the
event of war breaking out. All hands immediately agreed, and I sent
off a telegram in which everything was placed at the disposal of the
Admiralty. We only asked that, in the event of the declaration of war,
the Expedition might be considered as a single unit, so as to preserve
its homogeneity. There were enough trained and experienced men amongst
us to man a destroyer. Within an hour I received a laconic wire from
the Admiralty saying "Proceed." Within two hours a longer wire came
from Mr. Winston Churchill, in which we were thanked for our offer, and
saying that the authorities desired that the Expedition, which had the
full sanction and support of the Scientific and Geographical Societies,
should go on.
So, according to these definite instructions, the 'Endurance' sailed
to Plymouth. On Tuesday the King sent for me and handed me the Union
Jack to carry on the Expedition. That night, at midnight, war broke
out. On the following Saturday, August 8, the '