British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909
Sir Ernest SHACKLETON (1874-1922), George BUCKLEY and others. A single sheet of paper bearing the signatures of 22 expedition members and George Buckley, dated 'Janry. 13th 1908 62° S. 180° E & W Long.', 4to (25.7 x 20.7cm.), 23 signatures, three postage cancellation ink stamps (dated 2.30pm 15 Jan 1908) and a mounted red one penny King Edward VII Land stamp, cancelled five times. (Some light silver-fish damage with resultant loss affecting Rupert England's signature, old crease).
A fine memento of when the Nimrod finally set off alone towards Antarctica. On 1 January 1908 Shackleton was persuaded, with two hours to spare, to allow George McLean Buckley, a wealthy New Zealand sheep-farmer, to accompany the expedition aboard the Nimrod from Lyttelton as far as the ice. The Nimrod, in an effort to save coal, was being towed south by the Koonya which was not equipped for ice-breaking and would therefore have to return (with Buckley aboard) when the start of the ice was reached. After heavy storms the weather eased as the convoy approached the ice, and on 13 January a surprise farewell dinner was held for Buckley. A.E. Harbord (second officer on the Nimrod) wrote 'The table in the ward-room is set to seat 22 persons, it's marvellous how it's done, but it is done, and we're all seated comfortably round it. Old Buckley wonders what all the fuss is about, and he's soon enlightened... The dishes are worthy of the Hotel Cecil.., and be it said with truth, that no dinner could have been more enjoyable. In good time came the speeches, and they were great. After every one somebody would yell out "Who saved Zulu?" and then we'd all yell "Buckley" at the top of our voices. His speech was like himself, he felt as we did; and when he spoke on discipline, his words didn't fall on altogether barren ground'. On the 15th the final farewells were said, Rupert England and Buckley, together with the post, transferred to the Koonya, and with cheers from both sides steamed around the Nimrod and then turned north. The signatories to the present sheet seem to include everyone who attended Buckley's farewell dinner.