Tag Archives: Swansea Museum

Edgar Evans

15 Jul

Some years ago I wrote the biography of Edgar Evans. Edgar was a Petty Officer with Scott on ‘Discovery’ and a Chief Petty Officer on the ‘Terra Nova’ Expedition. He was the first to die on the ill-fated return from The South Pole and in some circles, was blamed, most unfairly in my opinion, for the deaths of the whole party.

The book is entitled ‘Captain Scott’s Invaluable  Assistant, Edgar Evans’. Details can be found in the book section of this blog.

Now, I am delighted to say, a documentary and film are planned on Edgar.  The reason  for this, is that Edgar’s great grandson, Tyler Ford, aged 11, is a  World Champion Kick Boxer and a film focussing on Edgar’s family is apparently to be made this year. Ross O’Hennesy (from Game of Thrones), is to play the adult Edgar, whilst Tyler plays Edgar as a boy. Tom Delmar is the Producer.

I hope it all works out!.  A film will certainly revive interest and pride in Edgar in South Wales and, perhaps, money will be available finally for the much planned statute of Edgar in his Antarctic kit ( the maquette is excellent), which, it is hoped, will be erected in front of the Swansea Museum.

This is a clip from the ‘Swansea Sound’ related to the film ‘Terra Nova’. Here Ross O’Hennessy describes the current position.



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 Statute appeal

4 Dec

The appeal for funds to go towards a bronze statute of the Welsh hero Edgar Evans moves slowly. The statute is to be erected near to Swansea Museum,

Edgar Evans died over one hundred years ago in Antarctica, He had  suffered terribly from malnutrition; food and fluid intakes that were totally inadequate for his needs, from frostbite and from a cut hand that festered and was almost certainly the source of entry of virulent bacteria into his bloodstream. He had lost weight,muscle and fat. He must have suffered dreadfully.

The fact that, most unfairly, he was blamed in some quarters for being the pivotal cause of the deaths of his companions, would have been terrible to him. The slurs must have contributed to there being no national memorial for Edgar.

We now have a greater understanding of the physical causes that led Edgar to falter  and his reputation has been restored and enhanced in resent years. We know he was a tough, resilient, impressive man who gave his all for Scott and Antarctic exploration. In summary he was a Welsh hero.

On the centenary of the deaths of Scott’s party, an appeal was launched for a memorial to Edgar to be erected. This is to be a bronze statute that will stand 9 feet on its plinth The sculptor is Roger Andrews, the appeal is headed by Councillor Tony Colburn who heads the 8 man committee that boasts the Lord Lieutenant as its Vice President. £10,000 has been raised of the £90,000 needed. Money has already been spent on a 3 foot bronze maquette. There are big plans for fund raising activities in Swansea at Christmas, in shopping areas and in rugby and soccer stadiums. It is hoped that the funds will swell significantly.

If you want to contribute, the Treasurer of the appeal is  Councillor Miles Thomas. He can be reached on Miles.thomas@Swansea.Gov.uk

Statute for Edgar Evans in Swansea

20 Nov

Throughout the centenary year of the deaths of Scott’s Polar Party members, there has been a move in Swansea to erect a memorial near Swansea Museum.

Although this was suggested at the time of Edgar’s death there was little enthusiasm for the project.  This was for two reasons. It was a time when money was tight, also, in some circles, Edgar had been uncompromisingly criticized for holding up the whole party and thus indirectly causing the deaths of his companions. Since impressive newspapers in London published this, it was thought that there could be some truth in the comments and therefore, it would not be wise to draw too much attention to the dead Welshman. It took years for Edgar’s reputation to be reconsidered.

Now however, plans are moving!   A 9 ft. high bronze resin statute is proposed. The official launch for the appeal is in Swansea Museum tomorrow with an Appeal Committee of four members. The National Heritage Trust is giving £10,000 apparently. Appeals are being made to local businesses and universities.

There is a bust of Edgar in Swansea Museum but it is thought that a more visible record of the Gower Hero is now appropriate.

I am speaking in Swansea this weekend. I will hear all about it.I wonder what will happen.

The Centenary of the Terra Nova

29 Dec

Many, many events have celebrated or are to celebrate, this centenary:

On June 15 2010, The Captain Scott Society celebrated the centenary of the ‘Terra Nova’ sailing from Cardiff and in June 2011 Plymouth celebrated some of the scientific findings of Scott’s last expedition. Many other places with connections with the expedition plan to honour the memory of the ‘Terra Nova’ expedition of 1910-1913.

The diary of these events can be found at: wwwScott100centenary:celebrating 100 years since Terra Nova.

I will be attending the Swansea celebrations of the local Welsh hero, Edgar Evans on 17.18th February. There is to be a service at St Mary’s Church on the 17th and on the 18th there will be a book launch for my book ‘Captain Scott’s Invaluable Assistant,  Edgar Evans’ in the Swansea Museum.

I look forward to this, also to a celebration in Gloucester Cathedral and a service in Cheltenham College to be held in memory of Dr E.A.Wilson. This is to be followed by a re-dedication of the Wilson statute in central Cheltenham which was sculpted by Scott’s wife, Kathleen Bruce. I am to give a talk to the College about their famous Old Boy.

Wherever you are, I hope you will be able to enjoy some of the planned events.