Captain Lawrence Oates, known as Titus, will always be known for his final words, spoken as he left the tent in which his South Pole companions hunkered, “I am just going outside and may be some time.” He stepped out into a -40 blizzard, bootless, without hope of survival.
He chose certain death, it is believed, because he had become a burden through ill-health to his three companions. The trio would have a greater chance of survival without him, so he thought. Unfortunately, his sacrifice was for naught. The entire party died, never reaching safety.
Exploration was the family business. His uncle, Frank Oates, was an African explorer. Captain Oates, an experienced soldier, bought his membership in Scott’s expedition, donating £1,000, which, at that time, was a small fortune. His skill with horses clinched the deal.
Captain Lawrence Oates was last seen March 16, 1912. Scott wrote in his journal: “We knew that poor Oates was walking to his death, but though we tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman”