Extract from a letter written by Reginald James, the expedition's physicist, to his Uncle Lou (Atkinson) from South Georgia 11 Nov 1914:
Imperial Transantarctic Expedition
November 11 1914
Dear Uncle Lou,
This is a queer place to be writing from. We are making a stay here on our way south & shall probably be here another 10 days. You will find us on a map of South America. Our latitude is about 54 deg south….
This island gives an interesting example of the difference in climate of the northern & southern hemispheres. Our latitude here is 54 deg S. Manchester is somewhere about 54 deg N. November here of course corresponds to May in Manchester. Since we have been here the temperature has been above freezing all the time & there has been driving snow most of the time. This is due partly of course to the absence of a warm current such as the Gulf Stream & partly & probably mostly to the great Southern continent surrounding the S. Pole. This continent gets very cold & of course is constantly discharging icebergs into the sea. The pack ice is never less than about 2300 miles from the pole, while in the Northern Hemisphere it is about 540 miles. The average temperature over the Antarctic area is 10 to 15 deg lower than the arctic.
I don’t know when you are likely to get this letter. Boats only go from here very occasionally & I don’t expect it will be till the New Year is past. By that time we ought to be landed & the sooner that happens the better I shall like it.
Much love from Reg.
Lou Atkinson was the son of Reginald James' grandmother’s second marriage. Reginald's parents both died very young, his father in 1906 and his mother in 1912. His only close relatives were his younger brother George, an elderly maiden aunt who had lived with the family and helped to bring up the boys and Uncle Lou who became an accountant. Uncle Lou moved to Cheadle Hume in Cheshire and lived there until his death in the 1950s.
Letter kindly supplied by John James, son of Reginald James (the Endurance Expedition's physicist).
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