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British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909
British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909

British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909
A Huntley & Palmers biscuit from the stores of the British Antarctic
Expedition, 1908-1909, Cape Royds, lat. 77°33'S, long. 166°07'E
circular, 3in. (7.7cm.) diameter

Lot Essay

'Particularly in food, Shackleton took care to avoid old mistakes. He
had, for example, ordered special biscuits fortified with Plasmon, the concentrated milk protein already tried on Discovery ... Besides
7½oz. of pemmican and 16oz. of Plasmon biscuits per man each day,
there was some cheese, cocoa, pure Plasmon, tea, oats and sugar, making 34oz. in all. There was too much carbohydrate, too little fat, and none of the as yet undiscovered vitamin C.' (R. Huntford, Shackleton,
London: 1985, p.251)

The biscuit from the Nimrod expedition lives particularly in the memory from Frank Wild's anecdote jotted in his journal as the Polar Party,
starving and ill, came back onto the Barrier from the plateau in
January 1909: 'They were living off pemmican and pony meat, with only
four thin biscuits each a day now [having made the food depôt on the Barrier]. Underlining every word, Wild wrote on the last day of January that Shackleton "privately forced upon me his one breakfast biscuit,
and would have given me another tonight had I allowed him. I do not
suppose that anyone else in the world can thoroughly realise how much
generosity and sympathy was shown by this; I DO by GOD I shall never
forget it. Thousands of pounds would not have bought that biscuit".'
(op. cit., p.280)

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