Tag Archives: Captain Scott

A service to commemorate the life of Edgar Evans at St Mary’s Church, Central Swansea

24 Feb

This was a wonderful occasion. The great and the good of Wales and beyond gathered to give proper recognition to Edgar Evans’s contribution to Scott’s expeditions, exactly 100 years after his death. The service was attended by the Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff of West Glamorgan and other dignitaries. The navy was well represented. Edgar’s grandson, John Evans, read from Scott’s journal and made a plea for a statute for his grandfather to be erected in Swansea, Edgar’s granddaughter was also present. The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon made an excellent address stressing Edgar’s virtues, the Archdeacon of the Gower led the Intercessions. Naval Cadets marched up and down the aisle, a Petty Officer Cadet read the Naval Prayer.

The whole service was much appreciated by those of us who have come to admire Edgar.

You can read a report of the service on the BBC News website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-17071873

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.

Antarctic exhibition in the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

29 Nov

I love this exhibition. It shows the photographs of Frank Hurley and Herbert Ponting. The images are very different. Hurley’s were made under conditions of great stress when “Endurance” was caught in the ice and then when the crew were drifting on ice floes for well over a year. Ponting was a wonderful professional photographer; Hurley was not, but made a matchless record of the Endurance and her crew.

Both created memorable scenes. Ponting’s picture of the “Terra Nova” through the window of an iceberg imprints itself on the memory, whilst Hurley’s photograph of the brilliantly lit Endurance in the black Antarctic winter is an unforgettable image.

Ponting did a “mock-up” of the expedition members sitting round a Nansen cooker in a tent before they set off on their ill-fated journey to the South Pole. In this image “Taf” Evans, “Birdie” Bowers, Edward Wilson and Captain Scott smile optimistically at each other.

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.