Luncheon in honour of Ernest H. Shackleton

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

On 15 june 1909, Arthur Conan Doyle was invited at the Luncheon in honour of Ernest H. Shackleton, leader of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 at The Royal Societies Club. He gave a speech about moral and mental qualities of Shackleton.


  • President : Lord Halsbury, F.R.S.
  • Presents :
  • The Norwegian Minister
  • Prince Ronald Bonaparte (President Société de Géographie de France)
  • Archbishop Maclagan, the Bishop of Barking
  • Captain R. Muirhead Collins, the High Commissioner for the Australian Commonwealth
  • Hon. W. Hall-Jones, the High Commissioner for New Zealand
  • Lord Iveagh
  • Lord Montagu
  • Lord Howard de Walden
  • Sir Charles Dilke, M.P.
  • Admiral Sir Albert Markham
  • Rear-Admiral A. M. Field (Hydrographer of the Navy)
  • Admiral Sir Lewis A. Beaumont
  • Sir David Gill
  • Professor A. M. Worthington
  • Dr. A. M. W. Downing (editor of the "Nautical Almanac")
  • Major Leonard Darwin (President Royal Geographical Society)
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Mr. D. Lewis-Poole (founder of the club)
  • Mr. T. G. Jackson, R. A.
  • Mr. Max Pemberton
  • Captain R. F. Scott, R.N. (commander of the National Antarctic Expedition, 1900-1904)
  • Mr. Fabian Ware
  • Dr. G. Marconi
  • Sir G. Taubman Goldie
  • Mr. Thomas Bryant
  • Professor R. A. Gregory
  • Dr. J. Scott-Keltie
  • Mr. Kennedy Jones
  • Dr. Glazebrook
  • Dr. Usher
  • Sir G. M. Le Sage
  • Mr. F. Hinde
  • Captain W. Windham
  • Mr. Charles Rolls
  • Sir Francis Vane
  • Mr. W. Heinemann
  • Sir Philip Brocklehurst
  • Lieutenant J. B. Adams, R.N.R.
  • Dr. E. Marshall
  • Mr. F. Wild
  • R.L.A. Mackintosh
  • Mr. Ernest Joyce
  • Mr. B. Armytage
  • R. E. Priestley
  • Dr. Forbes Mackay

Conan Doyle speech

Report from The Times

Sir Conan Doyle proposed the toast of "The Royal Societies Club," and said it was often asked in this utilitarian age, "What is the good?" — as if every noble deed were not its own justification, as if every action which led to self-denial, endurance, and hardihood were not the most precious object-lesson to mankind. We lived in days of naval stress. When the trouble came our cry would be for men, not ships. We could pass the eight Dreadnoughts if we were sure of the eight Shackletons. Had it not been the lesson of our history that strong men in weak ships were better than weak men in strong ships? Money could buy a Dreadnought; two years could fashion it; but it took all time to fashion those moral and mental qualities which built up the great sailor or explorer. We were not sure of our ships, but we were sure of the spirit of our sailors — that was eternal. (Cheers.)

Full Report