E-text prepared by James Tenison
Our author had a very "informal" approach to grammar and syntax;
so apparently did his editor. I corrected several obvious errors
in the book and listed them at the end of the text. Many more
doubtful spellings and countless abbreviations remain as they
appear in the text.
I have deleted the symbols for "degree" "minute" and "second"
which appear regularly throughout the text and substituted the
full word. The symbols + and - in relation to temperature are
SOUTH WITH SCOTT
REAR-ADMIRAL EDWARD R. G. R. EVANS
C.B., D.S.O, R.N.
Illustrated with Maps and Photographs
London & Glasgow
Collins' Clear-Type Press
Lashly and Crean
THIS BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED
The object of this book is to keep alive the interest of English-speaking
people in the story of Scott and his little band of sailor-adventurers,
elseif (getClientWidth() > 430)
scientific explorers, and companions. It is written more particularly for
Britain's younger generations.
I have to acknowledge with gratitude the assistance of Miss Zeala
Wakeford Cox of Shanghai and Pay-master Lieutenant-Commander Bernard
Carter of H.M.S. "Carlisle."
Without their help, I doubt if the book would have found its way into
Edward R.G.R. Evans.
February, 27, 1921.
BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1910.
ROBERT FALCON SCOTT Captain, C.V.O., R.N. (The "Owner," "The Boss").
EDWARD R.G.R. EVANS Lieut. R.N. ("Teddy").
VICTOR L.A. CAMPBELL Lieut. R.N. ("The Wicked Mate")
HENRY R. BOWERS Lieut. Royal Indian Marines ("Birdie").
LAWRENCE E.G. OATES Captain 6th Inniskilling Dragoons ("Titus,"
G. MURRAY LEVICK Surgeon R.N.
EDWARD L. ATKINSON Surgeon R.N., Parasitologist ("Atch").
EDWARD ADRIAN WILSON B.A., M.B. (Cantab.), Chief of the Scientific
Staff, and Zoologist ("Uncle Bill").
GEORGE C. SIMPSON D.Sc., Meteorologist ("Sunny Jim.")
T. GRIFFITH TAYLOR B.A., B.Sc., B.E., Geologist ("Griff").
EDWARD W. NELSON Biologist ("Marie").
FRANK DEBENHAM B.A., B.Sc., Geologist ("Deb.")
CHARLES S. WRIGHT B.A., Physicist.
RAYMOND E. PRIESTLEY Geologist.
HERBERT G. PONTING F.R.G.S., Camera Artist.
CECIL H. MEARES In charge of dogs.
BERNARD C. DAY Motor Engineer.
APSLEY CHERRY-GARRARD B.A., Asst. Zoologist ("Cherry").
TRYGGVE GRAN Sub.-Lieut. Norwegian N.R., B.A., Ski Expert.
W. LASHLY C. Stoker, R.N.
W.W. ARCHER Chief Steward, late R.N.
THOMAS CLISSOLD Cook, late R.N.
EDGAR EVANS Petty Officer, R.N.
ROBERT FORDE Petty Officer, R.N.
THOMAS CREAN Petty Officer, R.N.
THOMAS S. WILLIAMSON Petty Officer, R.N.
PATRICK KEOHANE Petty Officer, R.N.
GEORGE P. ABBOTT Petty Officer, R.N.
FRANK V. BROWNING Petty Officer, 2nd Class, R.N.
HARRY DICKASON Able Seaman, R.N.
F.J. HOOPER Steward, late R.N.
ANTON OMELCHENKO Groom.
DIMITRI GEROF Dog Driver.
HARRY L. L. PENNELL Lieutenant, R.N.
HENRY E. DE P. RENNICK Lieutenant. R.N.
WILFRED M. BRUCE Lieutenant, R.N.R.
FRANCIS R. H. DRAKE Assistant Paymaster, R.N.(Retired), Secretary and
Meteorologist in ship.
DENNIS G. LILLIE M.A., Biologist in ship.
JAMES R. DENNISTOUN In charge of Mules in ship.
ALFRED B. CHEETHAM R.N.R., Boatswain.
WILLIAM WILLIAMS Chief Engine Room Artificer, R.N., Engineer.
WILLIAM A. HORTON Engine Room Artificer, 3rd Class, R.N., 2nd
FRANCIS E. C. DAVIES Leading Shipwright, R.N.
FREDERICK PARSONS Petty Officer, R.N.
WILLIAM L. HEALD Late Petty Officer, R. N.
ARTHUR S. BAILEY Petty Officer, 2nd Class, R.N.
ALBERT BALSON Leading Seaman, R.N.
JOSEPH LEESE Able Seaman, R.N.
JOHN HUGH MATHER Petty Officer, R.N.V.R.
ROBERT OLIPHANT Able Seaman.
THOMAS F. MCLEOD Able Seaman.
MORTIMER MCCARTHY Able Seaman.
WILLIAM KNOWLES Able Seaman.
CHARLES WILLIAMS Able Seaman.
JAMES SKELTON Able Seaman.
WILLIAM MCDONALD Able Seaman.
JAMES PATON Able Seaman.
ROBERT BRISSENDEN Leading Stoker, R.N.
EDWARD A. MCKENZIE Leading Stoker, R.N.
WILLIAM BURTON Leading Stoker, R.N.
BERNARD J. STONE Leading Stoker, R.N.
AGUS MCDONALD Fireman.
THOMAS MCGILLON Fireman.
CHARLES LAMMAS Fireman.
W.H. NEALE Steward.
I. SOUTH POLAR EXPEDITION - OUTFIT AND AIMS
II. VOYAGE OF THE "TERRA NOVA"
III. ASSEMBLING OF UNITS - DEPARTURE FROM NEW ZEALAND
IV. THROUGH STORMY SEAS
V. ANTARCTICA - THROUGH THE PACK ICE TO LAND
VI. SETTLING DOWN TO THE POLAR LIFE
VII. ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WINTER
VIII. THE WINTER CLOSES IN
IX. PRELIMINARY EXPLORATIONS
X. SPRING DEPOT JOURNEY
XI. PREPARATIONS AND PLANS FOR THE SUMMER SEASON
XII. SOUTHERN JOURNEY - MOTOR SLEDGES ADVANCE
XIII. THE BARRIER STAGE
XIV. ON THE BEARDMORE GLACIER AND BEYOND
XV. RETURN OF THE LAST SUPPORTING PARTY
XVI. THE POLE ATTAINED - SCOTT'S LAST MARCHES
XVII. THE SECOND WINTER - FINDING OF THE POLAR PARTY
XVIII. ADVENTURES OF THE NORTHERN PARTY
XIX. NARRATIVE OF THE "TERRA NOVA"
SOUTH POLAR EXPEDITION - OUTFIT AND AIMS
It is nine years since the last supporting party bid farewell to Captain
Scott and his four brave companions, whose names are still fresh in the
memory of those who were interested in Captain Scott's last Polar
Expedition. The Great War has come and gone and the majority of us wish
to forget it, but the story of Scott undoubtedly appeals still to a great
number of people. It is a good story, and my only hope is that I can
retell it well enough to make my volume worth while reading after so much
has already been published concerning the work of the British Antarctic
Expedition of 1910.
The main object of our expedition was to reach the South Pole and secure
for the British nation the honour of that achievement, but the attainment
of the Pole was far from being the only object in view, for Scott
intended to extend his former discoveries and bring back a rich harvest
of scientific results. Certainly no expedition ever left our shores with
a more ambitious scientific programme, nor was any enterprise of this
description ever undertaken by a more enthusiastic and determined
personnel. We should never have collected our expeditionary funds merely
from the scientific point of view; in fact, many of our largest
supporters cared not one iota for science, but the idea of the Polar
adventure captured their interest. On the other hand, a number of our
supporters affected a contempt for the Polar dash and only interested
themselves in the question of advanced scientific study in the Antarctic.
As the expedition progressed, however, the most unenthusiastic member of
the company developed the serious taste, and in no case did we ever hear
from the scientific staff complaints that the Naval members failed to
help them in their work with a zeal that was quite unexpected. This
applies more particularly to the seamen and stokers.
Captain Scott originally intended to make his winter quarters in King
Edward VII. Land, but altered the arrangement after the fullest
discussion with his scientific friends and advisers, and planned that a
small party of six should examine this part of the Antarctic and follow
the coast southward from its junction with the Great Ice Barrier,
penetrating as far south as they were able, surveying geographically and
geologically. This part of the programme was never carried out, owing to
the ice conditions thereabouts preventing a landing either on the Barrier
or in King Edward VII. Land itself.
The main western party Scott planned to command himself, the base to be
at Cape Crozier or in McMurdo Sound, near the site of the "Discovery's"
old winter quarters at Cape Armitage, the exact position to be governed
by the ice conditions on arrival.
Dogs, ponies, motor sledges and man-hauling parties on ski were to
perform the Polar journey by a system of relays or supporting parties.
Scott's old comrade, Dr. E.A. Wilson of Cheltenham, was selected as chief
of the scientific staff and to act as artist to the expedition. Three
geologists were chosen and two biologists, to continue the study of
marine fauna and carry out research work in depths up to 500 fathoms. The
expeditionary ship was to be fitted for taking deep-sea soundings and
magnetic observations, and the meteorological programme included the
exploration of the upper air currents and the investigation of the
electrical conditions of the atmosphere. We were fortunate in securing as
meteorologist the eminent physicist, Dr. G. Simpson, who is now head of
the Meteorological Office in London. Dr. Simpson was to have charge of
the self-recording magnetic instruments ashore at the main base.
Study of ice structure and glaciation was undertaken by Mr. C.S. Wright,
who was also assistant physicist. The magnetic work of the ship was
entrusted to Lieut. Harry Pennell, R.N., an officer of more than ordinary
scientific attainments and a distinguished navigator. Lieut. Henry
Rennick was given control of the hydrographical survey work and deep-sea
sounding. Two surgeons were lent by the Royal Navy for the study of
bacteriology and parasitology in addition to their medical duties, and
Mr. Herbert G. Ponting was chosen as camera artist and cinematographer to
To my mind the outfit and preparations were the hardest part of our work,
for we were not assure of funds until the day of our departure. This did
not lighten Scott's burden. The plans of the British Antarctic Expedition
of 1910 were first published on September 13, 1909, but although Scott's
appeal to the nation was heartily endorsed by the Press, it was not until
the spring of 1910 that we had collected the first 10,000 pounds.
Personally, I was despatched to South Wales and the west of England to
raise funds from my Welsh and west country friends. Scott, himself, when
he could be spared from the Admiralty, worked Newcastle, Liverpool, and
the North, whilst both of us did what we could in London to obtain the
money necessary to purchase and equip the ship. It was an anxious time
for Scott and his supporters, but after the first 10,000 pounds had been
raised the Government grant of 20,000 pounds followed and the Expedition
came properly into being. Several individuals subscribed 1000 pounds
each, and Government grants were subsequently made by the Australian
Commonwealth, the Dominion of New Zealand and South Africa. Capt. L.E.G.
Oates and Mr. Apsley Cherry-Garrard were included in the donors of 1000
pounds, but they gave more than this, for these gallant gentlemen gave
their services and one of them his life. An unexpected and extremely
welcome contribution came from Mr. Samuel Hordern of Sydney in the shape
of 2500 pounds, at a time when we needed it most. Many firms gave in cash
as well as in kind. Indeed, were it not for the generosity of such firms
it is doubtful whether we could have started. The services of Paymaster
Lieut. Drake, R.N., were obtained as secretary to the Expedition. Offices
were taken and furnished in Victoria Street, S.W., and Sir Edgar Speyer
kindly consented to act as Honorary Treasurer - without hesitation I may
say we owe more to Sir Edgar than ever we can repay.
We were somewhat limited in our choice of a ship, suitable for the work
contemplated. The best vessel of all was of course the "Discovery," which
had been specially constructed for the National Antarctic Expedition in
1900, but she had been acquired by the Hudson Bay Company, and although
the late Lord Strathcona, then High Commissioner for Canada, was
approached, he could not see his way to obtaining her for us in view of
her important employment as supply ship for the Hudson Bay Trading
Stations. There remained the "Aurora," "Morning," "Bjorn," "Terra Nova,"
Shackleton's stout little "Nimrod," and one or two other old whaling
craft. The "Bjorn," a beautiful wooden whaler, would have served our
purpose excellently, but, alas! she was too small for the enterprise and
we had to fall back on the "Terra Nova," an older ship but a much larger
craft. The "Terra Nova" had one great defect - she was not economic in the
matter of coal consumption. She was the largest and strongest of the old
Scotch whalers, had proved herself in the Antarctic pack-ice and
acquitted herself magnificently in the Northern ice-fields in whaling and
sealing voyages extending over a period of twenty years. In spite of her
age she had considerable power for a vessel of that type.
After a preliminary survey in Newfoundland, which satisfied us as to her
seaworthiness in all respects, the "Terra Nova" was purchased for the
Expedition by Messrs. David Bruce & Sons for the sum of 12,500 pounds. It
seems a high price, but this meant nothing more than her being chartered
to us for 2000 pounds a year, since her owners were ready to pay a good
price for the ship if we returned her in reasonably good condition at the
conclusion of the Expedition.
Captain Scott handed her over to me to fit out, whilst he busied himself
more with the scientific programme and the question of finance. We had
her barque-rigged and altered according to the requirements of the
expedition. A large, well-insulated ice-house was erected on the upper
deck which held 150 cascases of frozen mutton, and, owing to the position
of the cold chamber, free as it was from the vicinity of iron, we mounted
here our standard compass and Lloyd Creek pedestal for magnetic work. Our
range-finder was also mounted on the ice-house. A new stove was put in
the galley, a lamp room and paraffin store built, and store-rooms,
instrument, and chronometer rooms were added. A tremendous alteration was
made in the living spaces both for officers and men. Twenty-four bunks
were fitted around the saloon accommodation, whilst for the seamen and
warrant officers hammock space or bunks were provided. It was proposed to
take six warrant officers, including carpenter, ice-master, boatswain,
and chief steward. Quite good laboratories were constructed on the poop,
while two large magazines and a clothing-store were built up between
decks, and these particular spaces were zinc-lined to keep them
damp-free. The ship required alteration rather than repair, and there
were only one or two places where timber had rotted and these were soon
found and reinforced.
I shall never forget the day I first visited the "Terra Nova" in the West
India Docks: she looked so small and out of place surrounded by great
liners and cargo-carrying ships, but I loved her from the day I saw her,
because she was my first command. Poor little ship, she looked so dirty
and uncared for and yet her name will be remembered for ever in the story
of the sea, which one can hardly say in the case of the stately liners
which dwarfed her in the docks. I often blushed when admirals came down
to see our ship, she was so very dirty. To begin with, her hold contained
large blubber tanks, the stench of whale oil and seal blubber being
overpowering, and the remarks of those who insisted on going all over the
ship need not be here set down. However, the blubber tanks were
withdrawn, the hold spaces got the thorough cleansing and whitewashing
that they so badly needed. The bilges were washed out, the ship
disinfected fore and aft, and a gang of men employed for some time to
sweeten her up. Then came the fitting out, which was much more pleasant
Scott originally intended to leave England with most of the members of
the Expedition on August 1, 1910, but he realised that an early start
from New Zealand would mean a better chance for the big depot-laying
journey he had planned to undertake before the first Antarctic winter set
in. Accordingly the sailing date was anticipated, thanks to the united
efforts of all concerned with the fitting out, and we made June 1 our day
of departure, which meant a good deal of overtime everywhere.
The ship had to be provisioned and stored for her long voyage, having in
view the fact that there were no ship-chandlers in the Polar regions, but
those of us who had "sailed the way before" had a slight inkling that we
might meet more ships, and _others_ who would lend us a helping hand in
the matter of Naval stores.
Captain Scott allowed me a sum with which to equip the "Terra Nova"; it
seemed little enough to me but it made quite a hole in our funds. There
were boatswain's stores to be purchased, wire hawsers, canvas for
sail-making, fireworks for signalling, whale boats and whaling gear,
flags, logs, paint, tar, carpenter's stores, blacksmith's outfit,
lubricating oils, engineer's stores, and a multitude of necessities to be
thought of, selected, and not paid for if we could help it. The verb "to
wangle" had not then appeared in the English language, so we just
The expedition had many friends, and it was not unusual to find Petty
Officers and men from the R.N.V.R. working on board and helping us on
Saturday afternoons and occasionally even on Sundays. They gave their
services for nothing, and the only way in which we could repay them was
to select two chief Petty Officers from their number, disrate them, and
take them Poleward as ordinary seamen.
It was not until the spring of 1910 that we could afford to engage any
officers or men for the ship, so that most of the work of rigging her was
done by dock-side workers under a good old master rigger named Malley.
Landsmen would have stared wide-eyed and open-mouthed at Malley's men
with their diminutive dolly-winch had they watched our new masts and
yards being got into place.
Six weeks before sailing day Lieut. Campbell took over the duties of
Chief Officer in the "Terra Nova," Pennell and Rennick also joined, and
Lieut. Bowers came home from the Indian Marine to begin his duties as
Stores Officer by falling down the main hatch on to the pig iron ballast.
I did not witness this accident, and when Campbell reported the matter I
am reported to have said, "What a silly ass!" This may have been true,
for coming all the way from Bombay to join us and then immediately
falling down the hatch did seem a bit careless. However, when Campbell
added that Bowers had not hurt himself my enthusiasm returned and I said,
"What a splendid fellow!" Bowers fell nineteen feet without injuring
himself in the slightest. This was only one of his narrow escapes and he
proved himself to be about the toughest man amongst us.
Quite a lot could be written of the volunteers for service with Scott in
this his last Antarctic venture. There were nearly 8000 of them to select
from, and many eligible men were turned down simply because they were
frozen out by those who had previous Antarctic experience. We tried to
select fairly, and certainly picked a representative crowd. It was not an
all-British Expedition because we included amongst us a young Norwegian
ski-runner and two Russians; a dog driver and a groom. The Norwegian has
since distinguished himself in the Royal Air Force - he was severely
wounded in the war whilst fighting for the British and their Allies, but
his pluck and Anglophile sentiments cost him his commission in the
Norwegian Flying Corps.
Dr. Wilson assisted Captain Scott in selecting the scientific staff,
while the choice of the officers and crew was mainly left to myself as
Commander-elect of the "Terra Nova."
Most Polar expeditions sail under the Burgee of some yacht club or other:
We were ambitious to fly the White Ensign, and to enable this to be done
the Royal Yacht Squadron adopted us. Scott was elected a member, and it
cost him 100 pounds, which the Expedition could ill afford. However, with
the "Terra Nova" registered as a yacht we were able to evade those Board
of Trade officials who declared that she was not a well-found merchant
ship within the meaning of the Act. Having avoided the scrutiny of the
efficient and official, we painted out our Plimsoll mark with tongue in
cheek and eyelid drooped, and, this done, took our stores aboard and
packed them pretty tight. The Crown Preserve Co. sent us a quantity of
patent fuel which stowed beautifully as a flooring to the lower hold, and
all our provision cases were thus kept well up out of the bilge water
which was bound to scend to and fro if we made any quantity of water, as
old wooden ships usually do. The day before sailing the Royal
Geographical Society entertained Scott and his party at luncheon in the
King's Hall, Holborn Restaurant. About 300 Fellows of the Society were
present to do us honour. The President, Major Leonard Darwin, proposed
success to the Expedition, and in the course of his speech wished us
God-speed. He congratulated Captain Scott on having such a well-found
expedition and, apart from dwelling on the scientific and geographical
side of the venture, the President said that Captain Scott was going to
prove once again that the manhood of our nation was not dead and that the
characteristics of our ancestors who won our great Empire still
flourished amongst us.
After our leader had replied to this speech Sir Clements Markham, father
of modern British exploration, proposed the toast of the officers and
staff in the most touching terms. Poor Sir Clements is no more, but it
was he who first selected Captain Scott for Polar work, and he, indeed,
who was responsible for many others than those present at lunch joining
Antarctic expeditions, myself included.
VOYAGE OF THE "TERRA NOVA"
Sailing day came at last, and on June 1, 1910, when I proudly showed
Scott his ship, he very kindly ordered the hands aft and thanked them for
what they had done.
The yards were square, the hatches on with spick-and-span white hatch
covers, a broad white ribbon brightened the black side, and gold leaf
bedizened the quarter badges besides gilding the rope scroll on the
stern. The ship had been well painted up, a neat harbour furl put on the
sails, and if the steamers and lofty sailing vessels in the basin could
have spoken, their message would surely have been, "Well done, little
What a change from the smudgy little lamp-black craft of last
November - so much for paint and polish. All the same it was the "Terra
Nova's" Indian summer. A close search by the technically expert would
have revealed scars of age in the little lady, furrows worn in her sides
by grinding ice floes, patches in the sails, strengthening pieces in the
cross-trees and sad-looking deadeyes and lanyards which plainly told of a
But the merchant seamen who watched from the dock side were kind and said
nothing. The old admirals who had come down to visit the ship were used
to these things, or perhaps they did not twig it. After all, what did it
matter, it was sailing day, we were all as proud as peacocks of our
little ship, and from that day forward we pulled together and played the
game, or tried to.
Lady Bridgeman, wife of the first Sea Lord, and Lady Markham hoisted the
White Ensign and the Burgee of the Royal Yacht Squadron an hour or so
before sailing. At 4.45 p.m. the visitors were warned off the ship, and a
quarter of an hour later we slipped from our wharf in the South-West
India Docks and proceeded into the river and thence to Greenhithe, where
we anchored off my old training ship, the "Worcester," and gave the
cadets a chance to look over the ship. On the 3rd June we arrived at
Spithead, where we were boarded by Captain Chetwynd, Superintendent of
Compasses at the Admiralty, who swung the ship and adjusted our
compasses. Captain Scott joined us on the 4th and paid a visit with his
"yacht" to the R.Y.S. at Cows. On the 6th we completed a series of
magnetic observations in the Solent, after which many officers were
entertained by Captain Mark Kerr in the ill-fated "Invincible." We were
royally looked after, but I am ashamed to say we cleared most of his
canvas and boatswain's stores out of the ship. Perhaps a new 3 1/2-inch
hawser found its way to the "Terra Nova"; anyway, if the "Invincible's"
stores came on board the exploring vessel she made good use of them and