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Could Captain Scott have been saved?

16 Feb

An interesting article has recently appeared in the Polar Record. Written by Karen May, it is entitled, ‘Could Captain Scott have been saved? Revisiting Scott’s last expedition’. Ref. Polar Record Cambridge University Press 2012 doi:10.1017/S003224411000751 (p1-19)

The piece suggests reasons for Teddy Evans’ scurvy which, of course indirectly led to Cherry-Garrard being sent with the dog teams to replenish the stores on the Barrier. It also questions Huntford’s assertion that Scott sent ‘last minute’ verbal orders with Teddy Evans before he returned to base, concerning the dog teams being sent onto the Barrier. She thinks this unlikely, stating rather that these orders had been given in a written memorandum to Mears on 20th October 1911. Also that Scott had discussed various eventualities with other members of the team

One of the reasons that Oates hung on for so long may have been that he was hoping for the dog teams to pick up the returnees.

The article reflects on the motives and actions of the important participants in this final part of the fateful drama.

Edgar Evans, the ‘Welsh Giant’

7 Dec

I have just seen the book cover of my book on Edgar Evans. In his picture Edgar looks every inch the ‘Welsh Giant’, a man of whom Wales can be proud.

Sadly, the only memorial to Edgar in Wales was commissioned by Edgar’s widow, Lois Evans. There was no national memorial. This was probably because some London newspapers blamed Edgar for slowing the progress of the British party on their ill-fated return and so causing the deaths of the men he so admired, an ill-founded suggestion that took years to refute.

Antarctic explorers Dr Edward Wilson and Chief Petty Officer Edgar Evans

23 Sep

My interest in Antarctica started when I was a junior doctor in St George’s Hospital London, where the Antarctic explorer Dr Edward Wilson had been a student seventy years previously.

He was a wonderful artist and St George’s had many of his paintings. I became fascinated by him and wrote a biography of this remarkable man. As I wrote the book I became interested in the lives of the Ratings, the sailors, who obeyed orders, kept cheerful and kept the expeditions going.

I have now written the biography of Chief Petty Officer Edgar Evans. This is to be published by The History Press in January 2011.

Not only did Edgar go with Scott on both his Antarctic expeditions of 1901 and 1910, he was also the first to die on the ill-fated return from the Pole and was – most unfairly in my opinion – blamed by many for the demise of his four companions.