This week our photo Friday is taken from “To the South Pole: Captain Scott’s Own Story” published in volume 46 of The Strand magazine in July 1913. The article relates the events of the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913 through Scott’s journals, and claims to give ‘the first connected story’ of the expedition. Although news of the tragedy had reached the world when the Terra Nova returned to New Zealand in February 1913, this would have been the first full account of the expedition most people would have seen.
Now, 100 years later we can look back at this account, which includes a facsimile of Scott’s last message, transcribed below.
Message to the Public
The causes of the disaster are not due to faulty organization, but to misfortune in all risks which had to be undertaken.
1. The loss of pony transport in March 1911 obliged me to start later than I had intended, and obliged the limits of stuff transported to be narrowed.
2. The weather throughout the outward journey, and especially the long gale in 83º S., stopped us.
3. The soft snow in lower reaches of glacier again reduced pace.
We fought these untoward events with a will and conquered, but it cut into our provision reserve.
Every detail of our food supplies, clothing and depots made on the interior ice-sheet and over that long stretch of 700 miles to the Pole and back, worked out to perfection. The advance party would have returned to the glacier in fine form and with surplus of food, but for the astonishing failure of the man whom we had least expected to fail. Edgar Evans was thought the strongest man of the party.
The Beardmore Glacier is not difficult in fine weather, but on our return we did not get a single completely fine day; this with a sick companion enormously increased our anxieties.
17th January last year marked the centenary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s team from the British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition reaching the South Pole. More information can be found at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge.
We hold “The Strand: and illustrated monthly” from 1891 to 1940 at the Aldham Robarts Library, accessible by request through Special Collections and Archives