But the story of their bravery and spirit remains one of the greatest tales in the history of human exploration.
Denis Wilkins, the chairman of the Scott 100 Plymouth organising committee, said the aim was to involve the whole community and inspire a new generation of Plymothians.
“This can be a huge success, akin to the way Plymouth celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Spanish Armada in 1988,” he said.
“Scott was a true hero. Setting off to the Antarctic 100 years ago was like setting off for the Moon today.
“Despite his demise, his expedition advanced our knowledge of this silent brooding wilderness. But above all he was an inspiration to thousands of young people.
“Through this celebration we have the opportunity to show how our nation has developed the heritage of science, history and culture to which he made such a great contribution.
“Above all, this centennial provides an opportunity to inspire the young people of Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall with the ideals of endeavour, achievement, curiosity and selfless embodied by Captain Scott, his men (many of whom had Plymouth connections) and their expeditions.”
The Scott 100 committee is a group of volunteers which has been planning the commemorations for over a year. All the leading institutions in Plymouth are represented, including the university, the city council and the Royal Navy.
Scott 100 will also highlight the city’s continuing links with the frozen continent. Among those is the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit, which is based at Derriford Hospital.
Mr Wilkins, a surgeon, is a former director of the medical unit. The director of the survey, Professor Nick Owens, was previously the chief executive of Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Prof Owens will be a key speaker at a conference at the university, one of the events in the city’s Scott 100 weekend in June.
Full details of the Scott100 Plymouth commemorations were being unveiled today at the City Museum and Art Gallery.
For more information about the Scott 100 commemorations, contact Joanna Murphy at the University of Plymouth on 01752 588959.
(Randy Boswell/Postmedia News, 19 September 2010) — A British adventurer has piqued the interest of the Canadian government after reporting the discovery of skeletal human remains on a small, unnamed island in Arctic waters close to where members of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition are known to have disappeared more than 160 years ago. Bear Grylls, star of the popular Man vs. Wild outdoor survival TV series, claims to have found bones, charred wood and other artifacts earlier this month during a charity-fundraising expedition to cross the Northwest Passage in a rigid inflatable boat. At the expedition website, Grylls described how he and his team members discovered the remnants of a mysterious campsite on Sept. 2 on an tiny island in Wellington Strait east of King William Island — the place where some of the survivors from Franklin’s ice-locked ships Erebus and Terror took shelter in the late 1840s before they eventually succumbed to cold and starvation. “We found the rocky outline of a grave set by some stranded visitor long ago,” Grylls wrote at his expedition blog. “And at the grave, we saw bones. And a small piece of felt or fabric. And then as we looked there was another grave. And another, and a fourth.” Such sites are not unheard of among Canada’s Arctic islands, where extreme cold and dry conditions can preserve archeological remains intact for generations or even centuries.
— A prized collection of artifacts that belonged to the sole Canadian among the first group of explorers to Antarctica will be put up for auction next month.
And they come with a thrilling tale of missteps and a failed pursuit of glory that cost some of the men their lives in the unforgiving Antarctic cold.
The belongings of Sir Charles Seymour Wright, which include more than 1,400 photographs, a compass, camera, and a pair of skis will be sold at Christie’s in London in September.
Wright was a Toronto-born physicist and glaciologist on the failed 1910-1913 expedition of Robert Falcon Scott, who wanted to be the first to reach the south pole.
Wright was a 23-year-old Cambridge University student in England when he walked 95 kilometres from Cambridge to London to convince Scott in person to allow him to go on the trip.
The goal was to travel 1,500 kilometres from Antarctica’s shore to the south pole while lugging weeks worth of food on a sled, in whiteout conditions, before the invention of polar fleece.
Wright’s grandson, Adrian Raeside, 53, is selling the artifacts. He says the men endured disorienting blizzards that lasted for weeks at a time.
“It’s just insane, but this was the plan,” said Raeside, who lives in Whistler, B.C.
Raeside said Wright, — who was nicknamed Silas — warned officers that the crew was ill-equipped for the journey, but they ignored his concerns.
Somehow, many of the men managed to survive even though the hair from the fur on their sleeping bags fell out, and the rubber soles of their boots fell off, said Raeside.
Wright was later ordered to leave the expedition about 450 kilometres away from the destination because Scott wanted a team of only British citizens to be in the record books as being the first to reach the south pole, Raeside said.
The decision saved Wright’s life. Scott and two others perished in the frigid Antarctic winter.
Wright and another team returned the next spring and found the small tip of their tent peering out from underneath metres of new snow.
British officials ordered survivors and search crews to not talk about the mistakes that led to the failed voyage, and Wright thought that publicly pointing out the errors of the men would hurt the feelings of their families, Raeside says.
Wright died in 1975 at the age of 88.
Raeside says he is putting his grandfather’s collection up for sale because he feels people need to know about the contribution of the lesser-known people on that trip.
“The men who were with Scott, including my grandfather, they were the ones who supported Scott and without them…the ship would’ve actually sunk, which it almost did (in a hurricane),” Raeside said.
He also said he has no children to pass the heirlooms on to, and feels the collection is too much of a responsibility for one person to take care of.
“The skis for example, they’ve been in the basement or the crawlspace and it wasn’t until recently that I realized these things should be looked after a little better than that. That’s why these things should go to a good home,” he said.
He said the skis are his favourite item on the auction block because his grandfather wore them during the entire mission and search for Scott’s body.
“You can say those skis were witness to almost everything that happened on the expedition,” said Raeside.
Christie’s estimates the skis will sell for between $US9,100 to $US12,000 when they go on sale Sept. 22.
The collection also features a set of Wright’s medals, including awards from the First World War, and the Order of the British Empire.
Christie’s estimates the medals alone could sell for between $US19,000 to $US27,000 but Ottawa is not allowing the medals and some other artifacts to leave Canada.
Raeside says officials are waiting to see whether a Canadian museum wants to purchase them.
Raeside wrote a book called Return To Antarctica: The Amazing Adventure of Sir Charles Wright on Robert Scott’s Journey to the South Pole, and recently filmed a documentary about tracing his grandfather’s footsteps on the continent.
A 99-year-old manuscript has been discovered detailing captain Robert Falcon Scott’s plans to be the first to reach the South Pole.
The handwritten notes, acquired by Canterbury Museum, are a lecture Mr Scott gave to his men on the ice, setting out the journey to the pole.
Hand bound in royal blue, captain Robert Scott’s plans for his southern journey to the pole were thought to have been lost forever.
“It was really amazing the first time I got to read it and see and feel the paper and you can smell the tobacco smoke,” manuscript curator Joanna Condon says.
Mr Scott loved his pipe and loved to write inside his hut at Antarctica.
The eleven page document dating back 99 years was discovered in a London bookstore.
It reveals new details of what Mr Scott thought he needed to be the first to the pole.
“This lecture is the one everyone was interested in because it was about the pole journey and everyone wanted to know what his plans were and maybe whether they would be included,” Ms Condon says.
Mr Scott set off for the pole in November 1910, only to find Norway’s Roald Amundsen got there a month before him.
Mr Scott and his remaining team of four perished on their return.
Mr Scott’s flag was found by his body, and it is also on display at the museum as part of the royal collection for the museum’s Antarctic exhibition.
Also on display are the original photos taken during Mr Scott’s and Shackleton’s expeditions – that have never before left the royal family.
“This is a once in a life time experience to see the marriage of the objects with the photos and it is the first time and the only time this will happen,” says Royal Collection co-ordinator Stephen Weber.
Mr Scott’s original manuscript will be on display for the first time in 10 days time and there will also be a digital copy for the public to flick through.
The Guardian: Dispatch from Robert Falcon Scott to wife of Edgar Evans arrived months after expedition party had perished.
A poignant letter from Scott of the Antarctic to a colleague’s wife is being sold at auction. The note tells Lois Evans, wife of Edgar, how well he is doing, but did not arrive until months after he had died,.
The note from Robert Falcon Scott says the journey might take longer than originally planned and asks her not to be “anxious or worried”.
But by the time it reached England, Scott, Evans and three others had perished on their return from the pole, having been beaten to it by a rival Norwegian party.
The letter is expected to fetch around £6,000. Scott wrote to Mrs Evans: “Although I have never met you, your husband has told me a great deal about you so that I can imagine that you and the children will be waiting to see him home again next year. He is very well indeed, very strong and in very good condition.”
Dated October 1911, the letter did not arrive until May the following year – weeks after the party had died.
Other letters up for sale include one from Captain Lawrence Oates, who died after leaving the tent, saying he was going outside and “may be some time”.
He wrote to his mother about preparations for the expedition. He had been chosen partly because of his experience with horses. But Scott purchased the horses, used in the laying of stores, and they were not to Oates’s liking. He called them “the greatest lot of crocks I have ever seen”.
The letters are among six being sold by International Autograph Auctions at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow, on Sunday. Richard Davie, from the auction house, said: “These are a wonderful collection of letters from the expedition.”