No Google search today as it is the 100th anniversary of the last journal entry of the very brave Robert Scott, who, along with his companions Henry “Birdie” Bowers and Edward Wilson, perished after they were caught in an Antarctic blizzard just 18km from a resupply depot. The story is a tragic one. Although the five man Terra Nova expedition led by Scott reached the South Pole, the Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten them there by a month. Scott lost two men on the 800 mile return journey; Edgar Evans who died after a fall and the selfless Captain Lawrence Oates, who disappeared into a blizzard after saying “I am just going outside and may be some time.”
The remaining three expedition members struggled on for another 20 miles, before a combination of exhaustion, hunger and the weather forced them to halt in what would be their last camp.
Scott, who must have known that death was imminent, still wrote with that very British reserve:
“We had fuel to make two cups of tea apiece and bare food for two days on the 20th. Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far.
It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.
For God’s sake look after our people.”
Their bodies were found eight months later. From the men’s positions in death it was surmised that Scott was the last to die.