One week today, the polar world will mark a centenary that, in my opinion, is controversial. On January 17, 1911, Captain Scott and 4 companions ( Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans) reached the South Pole. Those British polar explorers were the second group to reach the bottom of the world, pipped at the post by Roald Amundsen five weeks before.
Scott of the Antarctic, as he became known, is revered in his homeland, and by many in the community of people passionate about polar history and exploration. I am not one who hero worships Captain Scott. That said, I will not deny that Scott and the members of his expeditions advanced science and our understanding of the geography and geology of the region. He does deserve his place in history.
By all accounts, Scott was a leader who would not listen, when his subordinates – many of whom were experts in their fields – gave him advice; advice that could have saved his life and those of his companions. If you are unfamiliar with Robert Falcon Scott’s exploits, he and his companions died on the return journey.
To mark the centenary, I will introduce you to the men who accompanied Scott. Tomorrow, you will meet Dr. Edward Wilson, Scott’s boon companion.