DR LEONARD DUNCAN ALBERT HUSSEY (1894-1965)
Autograph manuscript journal, 'Diary of L.D.A. Hussey of The (late) Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition stranded on the sea Ice on the Weddell Sea Position Tuesday 2nd November 1915 Lat 69° 7½' S Long 52° 5' W PRIVATE Left ship at about 8 P.M. on the 27th October 1915', 2 November 1915 - 6 May 1916, in pencil, f.25v has table of temperatures and weather conditions for an unidentified month [probably May 1916], f.24r has a brief meteorological note entitled 'May', sketch on back end-paper of 'Our pannikins': 'They don't want washing They're scraped too clean after each meal', 30 leaves, 8vol (of which 7 blank) (heavy original staining and soiling, presumably sea-water and soot), canvas-covered boards (soiled and worn).
PROVENANCE: Dr. Leonard Duncan Albert Hussey, and thence by descent to the present owner. The meteorologist's narrative of the extraordinary escape of the Endurance expedition. Hussey's journal begins after the evacuation of the ship -- 'Ship began to groan last Sunday-week; & finally gave in on Thursday last. We had to leave hastily with just bare necessities... Thank God my old Banjo is safe'. From the earliest stages the chief preoccupation is with food, listing what is eaten, and fantasising about meals on his return home. At first the party's spirits are evidently low -- 'Weak as a rat today. Can hardly write ... Marston today spoke of a dose of laudanum rather than a winter here' -- but even then a good meal changes everything ('Felt ever so much better at night. Had a good thick Penguin Hoosh & jolly good cocoa & all felt warm & contented'. Hussey's banjo recitals were a feature in the swift raising of spirits -- 'Had a go at the old Banjo. The Boss came in, he looked very old & grey -- & pleased to hear the music & songs' and, although a glance in a mirror gives pause for thought ('I do look a tramp!'), from only a few days after its gloomy beginning the journal manifests the extraordinary confidence and belief that characterised the expedition's survival: 'We're all very cheerful & contented'. On 12 November, Hussey records his first wash since leaving the Endurance, and the effects of polar sunburn -- 'My nose & face are peeling as though I'd been at Margate for a month'; conditions are 'just fine for snow-balling now ... Wild & I had a go'. 21 November sees the last of the Endurance, 'a relief in a way, but it's rotten to watch', and an outburst of confidence, with 'all hope of getting out of this safely & creating a sensation at home. Shall we get the Polar Medal? I hope so'. The following weeks are preoccupied with the gradual shifting of the camp as the floes break up. 21 January: 'Boss seems to have great confidence in my power as a meteorologist; He asks me every 4 hours in the day ... what the weather will be'. On 5 February Hussey records a rare polar erotic fantasy about the privileges of 'Ladies' Leap Year': 'we are such ugly looking divils that a girl would be scared to speak to us, let alone -- o! crumbs!! Fancy!!!!!!'; but the predominant obsessions are still thoughts of food and of home ('O! for a nice fruit salad with plenty of cream, and a crusty loaf!!!'), as Hussey notes the changing goals of Shackleton's escape route, from Paulet Island to Deception Island to 'one of the South Shetland Islands -- Clarence Island or Elephant Island'. The final escape from the floes to Elephant Island is represented by a gap in the journal from 3 April to 26 April, when Hussey gives a resume of the terrible voyage: '6 of the party went off their head. 2 have not yet recovered -- Shackleton himself was nearly off his head -- he was quite hysterical' [this last is an apparently unique criticism of Shackleton]. Hussey's feelings on reaching land are heartfelt; but the confidence in Shackleton after his departure in the little boat for South Georgia Island is ringing: 'We're all very weak ... but very cheerful -- and the Boss is safe!! Hooray!!!'. The final entry is a brief record on 6 May that this is Hussey's 25th birthday. It was to be 30 August before the Yelcho relieved the party from Elephant Island. Hussey published a ghost-written account of his experiences with Shackleton in 1949 as South with Shackleton; but the present diary is apparently unpublished.