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In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set forth to make history with the first-ever crossing of the Antarctic continent. He could not undertake this epic journey, some seventeen hundred miles, without support. On the eve of the Great War, Shackleton disappeared into the Weddell Sea aboard the Endurance, while a ship called the Aurora made for the Ross Sea on the opposite side of the continent. Under the command of Aeneas Mackintosh, the Ross Sea Party, twenty-eight strong, was poised to build a lifeline of vital food and fuel dep#ts to supply the crossing. "This programme would involve some heavy sledging, but the ground to be covered was familiar and I had not anticipated that the work would present any great difficulties," Shackleton wrote.
Yet all went tragically wrong when the Aurora tore free of its moorings in a storm, leaving ten men stranded ashore with woefully inadequate gear to perform their task. Left with little more than the clothing on their backs and rudimentary equipment cobbled together from salvaged materials, the men vowed to carry on in the face of impossible odds. Meanwhile, the crew of the disabled Aurora, cast adrift at the mercy of the elements, battled for survival. With no hope of rescue from civilization, the lost men struggled to save themselves and carry out their mission.