SIR ERNEST HENRY SHACKLETON (1874-1922) and OPERATION SYREN, NORTHERN RUSSIA, 1918-1919
F.A. SWAINE (photographer). Portrait photograph of Shackleton, [London: 1918]. Brown-toned matt print (200 x 147mm.), on original cream card mount (222 x 155mm.), the mount signed by the photographer. Shackleton is shown half-length turned to his right, in the uniform of a Major in the British Army.
A pair of patinated brass lapel badges (34 x 40mm.) showing the Royal Arms in low relief, [London?: circa 1918]. Early box. These badges signified that the wearer was on general service: Shackleton can be seen wearing these or similar badges in the portrait photograph described above.
Sir Ernest Henry SHACKLETON. A seven line autograph note, initialed 'EHS', [North Russia, 1918-1919]. 1p. (135 x 178mm.), reading: 'Finito /Make out Petchenga for/2 squads only ignore/the rest of the men./when finished diss [?]/until after lunch/EHS'
[Lieut.-Colonel G.O. LEWIN]. Secret. Organization and Training of Mobile Columns. Issued under the Instructions of Major-General C.C.M. Maynard... Commanding-in -Chief, "Syren" Force. Part I. - Organization. Part II. - Training. [N.p.]: 10th December 1918. 2° (332 x 210mm). One lithographic plate. Stapled within original drab paper wrappers (some soiling to wrappers, backstrip torn). The verso of the title of this fascinating document is printed with a memorandum detailing the duties of 'Major Sir E. Shackleton, together with Captain Brocklehurst, Captain Hussey and Lieutenant Stenhouse' and 'Commander V. Campbell'. Shackleton was appointed 'Director of Equipment, winter clothing, rations and transport for Mobile Columns, and Director of Winter Clothing for the "Syren" Force'; Campbell was appointed 'chief Instructor for the Mobile Columns'.
[British Government Blue Book] - Army. The Evacuation of North Russia, 1919. Presented to Parliament by Command of His Majesty London: H.M.S.O., 1920. 2° (322 x 210mm). 2 folding maps (one coloured). Stapled within original blue paper wrappers (lower joint split).
A pre-revolution Russian white metal badge commemorating the traverse of the North East Passage by the ice-breakers Taimyr and Veijah, 1914-15 and the discovery of Novaya Severaya, the traverse route marked on a map of Northern Russia and the Arctic, the whole surmounted with the cipher of Czar Nicolas II.
Provenance: Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922), and thence by descent.
A fine selection of ephemera recalling Shackleton's service in Northern Russia between the Autumn of 1918 and February 1919. Following his experiences during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition expedition and his eventual return to Britain in late May 1917, Shackleton was very keen to contribute to the Allied war effort. After a relatively successful propaganda mission to South America between September 1917 and March 1918, Shackleton was at last given employment that he felt made use of his particular skills: in August the War Office appointed him to take charge of winter equipment for the Allies' North Russian expedition. In the autumn he sailed to join the Murmansk task force (code-named 'Syren') where he served under Maj.-Gen. Maynard, along with a number of his old companions including Hussey, Macklin, Stenhouse and Worsley. With the signing of the Armistice in November, the emphasis of the campaign shifted and by February 1919 Shackleton evidently felt that he had fulfilled his patriotic duty and resigned. (6)