Ernest Joyce collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton) and the Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917, [Ross Sea Party] (Captains Stenhouse and Mackintosh) and correspondence by Joyce.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ernest Edward Mills Joyce was born in Bognor, England in 1875. He entered the Royal Navy in 1891, serving with the Royal Naval Brigade in the South African War. While in South Africa, he joined the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), as able seaman on Discovery. He took part in sledging activities and on return from the expedition, was rated petty officer.

Joyce left the Navy to join the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton) and was placed in charge of dogs, sledges and general stores, as well as the zoological collection. From September 1908 onwards, he took part in the sledging programme to lay depots southward for the party attempting to reach the South Pole.

After the expedition, Joyce helped to select and ship dogs to Tasmania for the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914 (leader Douglas Mawson). While working for the Sydney Harbour Trust in Australia, he was enlisted for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Ross Sea Party], 1914-1917, organized by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton to meet the Weddell Sea Party. Joyce became second-in-command of the Ross Sea shore party with the responsibility of laying depots across the Ross Ice Shelf towards the Beardmore Glacier, providing all that was needed for Shackleton and the trans-polar party. Despite a lack of food and equipment, the party successfully completed this task, although their efforts cost three lives. Joyce was awarded the Albert Medal for his bravery during the expedition. He died on 2 May 1940.

Published work The South Polar trail ...the log of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition by Ernest Edward Mills Joyce, Duckworth London (1929) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1914-1917 Shackleton]


The collection is split into three sub-fonds comprising of material relating to the two expeditions and correspondence respectively.

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034 and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and Shackleton's Lieutenant; the Nimrod Diary of A.L.A. Mackintosh, British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 edited by Stanley Newman, Polar Publications Ltd (1990) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1907-1909 Shackleton] and SPRI Library Antarctic Biographies Card Index

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible.

Related Material

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a number of photographs, film and other illustrative material in the Picture Library, some of which covers the expeditions Joyce was involved with. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.