EDGAR EVANS and TYLOR FORD

10 Feb

When I wrote ‘Captain Scott’s Invaluable Assistant, Edgar Evans’, I was very aware of the posthumous blame attributed to him in some quarters, for causing the deaths of the rest of the Polar party.
On the return from the Pole all the British party suffered from malnutrition with associated muscle and fat wasting. Edgar was affected the most. The men had equal shares of the rations. Edgar, the biggest man in the group, needed the most calories. In addition I think he had a bacteraemia (infection with bacteria in the blood stream), following a cut to his hand.
Reports at the time made no suggestion of a physical illness but rather, focused on psychological causes:
a) He was the only Rating and therefore isolated.
b) He was depressed that he would not be able to open his pub on The Gower.
c) Most upsettingly, it was suggested that because he left full-time schooling aged 10, he did not have the education to withstand the monotony of the long trek to Base after the British reached the Pole behind the Norwegians. (The thought that Oates consoled himself in his agony, by reciting Virgil, as he trudged across the ice, is ludicrous).

When the news reached England, Edgar was not included in the cigarette card illustrations that were avidly collected and seem to have included pictures of every other explorer, including Amundsen’s team; a book for children indicated that he had failed; illustrated publications missed him out completely. A sonnet included the words that it was as well that he did not know that his deterioration had caught his companions in ‘death’s snare to hold them fast’. The distress and humiliation suffered by his mother, wife and children must have been great.

I am so pleased that Edgar is having a renaissance. The Edgar Evans Club in Portsmouth, run by Rob de Silva and Ginge Fullen is exactly the project that he would have supported; also the fact that his great- great grandson, aged nine, has clearly inherited his strong, burly physique is fascinating. Tyler Ford is the Welsh, British, European and World Kick Boxing and Tae Kwon-do Champion. Tyler’s father writes that Tyler is climbing Snowdon this month in memory of his great granddad, he is also going to Dublin to fight in the world fight series.

edgar-evans-club

tyler-with-medals

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