He Met Shackleton!

The troops in North Russia, in the winter of 1918-19, were equipped with certain additional articles of clothing designed on the same principles as those used on Antarctic expeditions.

Among these were what were known as "Shackleton boots," large canvas boots with thick leather soles. These boots were not at all suitable for walking on hard snow, being very clumsy, and they were very unpopular with everyone.

The late Sir Ernest Shackleton was sent out by the War Office to give advice on matters of clothing, equipment, and so on.

When he arrived at Archangel he went up to a sentry whose beat was in front of a warehouse about three steps up from the road, and said to him, "Well, my man, what do you think of the Shackleton boot?"

To this the sentry replied: "If I could only meet the perishing blighter wot invented them I'd very soon showó"

Before he could complete the sentence his feet, clad in the ungainly boots, slipped on the frozen snow, and slithering down the steps on his back, he shot into Sir Ernest and the two of them completed the discussion on Shackleton boots rolling over in the snow!

submitted by K. D., of Elham, near Canterbury

[from "The Best 500 Cockney War Stories'', published in 1921]


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Created: 14 March 2006
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