An Admirer of Bruce

3 Sep

I often felt, that when I researched Bruce’s life, that his significant contributions had been completely forgotten. It was surprising to find, even in Edinburg,h how few people recognised his name.

This letter, recently sent on to me, is therefore. a happy surprise. Dr Smart was clearly a remarkable person and his appreciation of Bruce is greatly welcomed. Bruce battled for years with increasing frustration to obtain the Polar Medal for his crew. This was refused by the monarch (the reasons for this are carefully explained in the book). I am not surprised that holders of the Polar Medal, a really prestigious award, were not keen to give up their medals, but it was a generous, inspiring idea.

LETTER SENT TO AMBERLEY PUBLISHING: . I have permission to print it.

I recently read a review about your new book, ‘William Speirs Bruce, Forgotten Hero’ in one of the national newspapers and I thought I would get in touch to let you know that Bruce has not been entirely forgotten.

My father, Dr I. H. M. Smart, was a lifelong admirer of Bruce and always felt he had been badly treated by the Establishment and had not received the recognition that he deserved. My father was also an ardent Scottish Nationalist. who spent a large part of his life in climbing and scientific expeditions to North East Greenland. He was a founding member of the Scottish Arctic Club and a Past President of the Scottish Mountaineering Club. He was also a reluctant recipient of the Polar Medal as he felt his achievements were not of the same calibre of other recipients.

With this in mind he came up with an idea to finally give Bruce the honour he deserved. He planned to make a plaque to Bruce and the other members of the ‘Scotia’ and donate his medal to him and ask other medal holders to donate their medals to be put on the plaque too, I think up to the number of the crew. However, unsurprisingly I don’t think this idea went down well with other holders of the medal, though I think someone did donate one though I am not sure who.

Dad passed away at the end of 2016 so was unable to achieve his goal of recognition for Bruce, but his medal and the idea for the plaque is held at the offices of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in Perth.

I have to confess, that I know little of Bruce but I shall certainly get your book and look forward to finding out more about the man who inspired my father !

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2 Responses to “An Admirer of Bruce”

  1. Anne Strathie September 3, 2018 at 3:22 pm #

    What a lovely letter to receive and to realise that you’ve helped the gentleman’s late father realise his ambition of having a memorial to Bruce.

  2. Yvana September 10, 2018 at 8:37 am #

    Really enjoyed reading the son’s letter about his father’s understanding and admiration for Bruce. An individual’s passion rarely survives a generation so it is such a pleasure to know this man may well delve deeper and who knows, even realise his father’s wish.

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