On Thursday 6 October, the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures (HLC) hosted a public lecture in conjunction with the Chilean Embassy on Sir Ernest Shackleton‘s ‘Endurance’ expedition, marking the centenary of the rescue of Shackleton’s crew by the Chilean navy.
The Chilean Ambassador to the UK, Señor Rolando Drago Rodríguez, was joined by a delegation also comprising Mr Maximiliano Valdés, Second Secretary to the Ambassador, and Captain Mr Ronald Baasch Barberis, Defence and Naval Attaché. The delegation was welcomed to the university by, amongst others, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Janet Beer, the Head of HLC, Professor Lin Foxhall, and the Head of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures (MLC), Professor Matthew Philpotts.
Colleagues from MLC were also in attendance, as were members of the public and members of the Angl0-Chilean Society living in Liverpool, with whom Señor Drago chatted enthusiastically as he got to know more about Liverpool’s Chilean population.
The lecture was given by Professor Fernando Wilson from the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Chile, and sought to highlight the role played by Captain Luís Pardo Villalón, or ‘Piloto Pardo’, commander of the Chilean steam tug Yelcho, in the rescue of 22 members of Shackleton’s crew from the barren, uninhabited Elephant Island after their ship had sunk (surviving on penguin and sea lion meat!). Having unsuccessfully made rescue attempts himself, Shackleton turned to the Chilean navy, which sent Piloto Pardo and the Yelcho to successfully complete the rescue mission, eventually returning to Valparaíso to a hero’s welcome.
The lecture was followed by a Q+A session, during which Professor Wilson elaborated on the links between Piloto Pardo and Liverpool, where Pardo served as Chilean Consul from 1930–34, having retired from the navy in 1919 after being showered with medals and naval honours. The Q+A session was itself followed by a wine reception (Chilean wine of course), kindly sponsored by the Chilean Embassy, which facilitated further conversation and discussion.