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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 6 (October 2, 1933)

Worsley Joins Shackleton

Worsley Joins Shackleton.

In his book “Endurance”—an inspiring story which shows that a sailor can often write as well as he can navigate a ship—Worsley describes his first meeting with Sir Ernest Shackleton, an interview which proved the most momentous in his career. In London, one night in 1914—it was before the Great War—he dreamed that Burlington Street was full of ice blocks and that he was navigating a ship along it. “Sailors are superstitious, and when I woke up next morning I hurried like mad into my togs and down Burlington Street I went. I dare say that it was only a coincidence, but as I walked along, reflecting that my dream had certainly been meaningless, and uncomfortable, and that it had cost me time that I could have used to better purpose, a sign on a doorpost caught my eye. It bore the words ‘Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition,’ and no sooner did I see it than I turned into the building, with the conviction that it had some special significance for me. Shackleton was there. He and I spent only a few minutes together, but the moment that I set eyes on him I knew that he was a man with whom I should be proud to work. He quickly divined what I wanted, and presently said to me: ‘You're engaged. Join your ship until I wire for you.’ (I was then second officer in the Canadian trade, and had been in command of small vessels.) ‘I'll let you know all details as soon as possible. Good morning.’ He wrung my hand in his hard grasp, and that was all. Not a superfluous word had been spoken on either side, but we knew by instinct that we were to be friends from that hour, and as a matter of fact we were together until Shackleton died.”