Men like a man who has shown himself a pleasant companion 
  through a week's walking tour. They worship the man who, 
  over thousands of miles, for hundreds of days, through renewed 
  difficulties and efforts, has brought them without friction, 
  arrogance or dishonor to the victory proposed, or to the higher 
  glory of unshaken defeat. 
   - R. KIPLING.

After this terrible experience the rest of the party marched on later in the night, and arrived at their depôt; there they allowed themselves five hours' sleep and then marched to Shambles Camp, which they reached at 3 P.M. on Sunday, February 18. Plenty of horse meat awaited them, with the prospect of plenty to come if they could only keep up good marches. 'New life seems to come with greater food almost immediately, but I am anxious about the Barrier surfaces.'

A late start was made from Shambles Camp, because much work had to be done in shifting sledges [Footnote: Sledges were left at the chief depôts to replace damaged ones.] and fitting up the new one with a mast, &c., and in packing horse meat and personal effects. Soon after noon, however, they got away, and found the surface every bit as bad as they expected. Moreover Scott's fears that there would not be much change during the next few days were most thoroughly justified. On the Monday afternoon they had to pullover a really terrible surface that resembled desert sand. And the same conditions awaited them on the following day, when, after four hours' plodding in the morning, they reached Desolation Camp. At this camp they had hoped to find more pony meat, but disappointment awaited them. 'Total mileage for day 7,' Scott wrote at R. 34, 'the ski tracks pretty plain and easily followed this afternoon.... Terribly slow progress, but we hope for better things as we clear the land.... Pray God we get better traveling as we are not so fit as we were, and the season is advancing apace.'

Again, on Wednesday, February 21, the surface was terrible, and once more Scott expressed a devout hope that as they drew away from the land the conditions might get better; and that this improvement should come and come soon was all the more necessary because they were approaching a critical part of their journey, in which there were long distances between the cairns. 'If we can tide that over we get on the regular cairn route, and with luck should stick to it; but everything depends on the weather. We never won a march of 8-1/2 miles with greater difficulty, but we can't go on like this.'

Very fresh wind from the S.E., with strong surface drift, so completely wiped out the faint track they were trying to follow during the next stage of their struggle homewards, that lunch-time came without a sight of the cairn they had hoped to pass. Later in the day Bowers, feeling sure that they were too far to the west, steered out, with the result that another pony camp was passed by unseen. 'There is little doubt we are in for a rotten critical time going home, and the lateness of the season may make it really serious.... Looking at the map to-night there is no doubt we are too far to the east. With clear weather we ought to be able to correct the mistake, but will the weather clear? It's a gloomy position, more especially as one sees the same difficulty recurring even when we have corrected this error. The wind is dying down to-night and the sky clearing in the south, which is hopeful. Meanwhile it is satisfactory to note that such untoward events fail to damp the spirit of the party.'

The hopes of better weather were realized during the following day, when they started off in sunshine and with very little wind. Difficulties as to their course remained, but luckily Bowers took a round of angles, and with the help of the chart they came to the conclusion that they must be inside rather than outside the tracks. The data, however, were so meager that none of them were happy about taking the great responsibility of marching out. Then, just as they had decided to lunch, Bowers' wonderfully sharp eyes detected an old double lunch cairn, and the theodolite telescope confirmed it. Camp R. 37 found them within 2-1/2 miles of their depôt. 'We cannot see it, but, given fine weather, we cannot miss it. We are, therefore, extraordinarily relieved.... Things are again looking up, as we are on the regular line of cairns, with no gaps right home, I hope.' In the forenoon of Saturday, February 24, the depôt was reached, and there they found the store in order except for a shortage of oil. 'Shall have to be very saving with fuel.'

[Indeed from this time onward the party were increasingly in want of more oil than they found at the depôts. Owing partly to the severe conditions, but still more to the delays caused by their sick comrades, they reached the full limit of time allowed for between the depôts. The cold was unexpected, and at the same time the actual amount of oil found at the depôts was less than Scott anticipated.

The return journey on the summit was made at good speed, for the party accomplished in 21 days what had taken them 27 days on the outward journey. But the last part of it, from Three Degree to Upper Glacier Depôt, took nearly eight marches as against ten, and here can be seen the first slight slackening as P.O. Evans and Oates began to feel the cold. From the Upper Glacier to the Lower Glacier Depôt there was little gain on the outward journey, partly owing to the conditions but more to Evans' gradual collapse. And from that time onward the marches of the weary but heroic travelers became shorter and shorter.

As regards the cause of the shortage of oil, the tins at the depôts had been exposed to extreme conditions of heat and cold. The oil in the warmth of the sun - for the tins were regularly set in an accessible place on the top of the cairns - tended to become vapor and to escape through the stoppers without damage to the tins. This process was much hastened owing to the leather washers about the stoppers having perished in the great cold.

The tins awaiting the Southern party at the depôts had, of course, been opened, so that the supporting parties on their way back could take their due amount. But however carefully the tins were re-stoppered, they were still liable to the unexpected evaporation and leakage, and hence, without the smallest doubt, arose the shortage which was such a desperate blow to Scott and his party.]

Apart from the storage of fuel everything was found in order at the depôt, and with ten full days' provisions from the night of the 24th they had less than 70 miles between them and the Mid-Barrier depôt. At lunch-time Scott wrote in a more hopeful tone, 'It is an immense relief to have picked up this depôt, and, for the time, anxieties are thrust aside,' but at night, after pulling on a dreadful surface and only gaining four miles, he added, 'It really will be a bad business if we are to have this plodding all through. I don't know what to think, but the rapid closing of the season is ominous.... It is a race between the season and hard conditions and our fitness and good food.'

Their prospects, however, became a little brighter during the following day, when the whole march yielded 11.4 miles, 'The first double figures of steady dragging for a long time.' But what they wanted and what would not come was a wind to help them on their way. Nevertheless, although the assistance they so sorely needed was still lacking, they gained another 11-1/2 miles on their next march, and were within 43 miles of their next depôt. Writing from 'R. 40. Temp. - 21°' on Monday night, February 26, Scott said, 'Wonderfully fine weather but cold, very cold. Nothing dries and we get our feet cold too often. We want more food yet, and especially more fat. Fuel is woefully short. We can scarcely hope to get a better surface at this season, but I wish we could have some help from the wind, though it might shake us up badly if the temp. didn't rise.'

Tuesday brought them within 31 miles of their depôt, but hunger was attacking them fiercely, and they could talk of little else except food and of when and where they might possibly meet the dogs. 'It is a critical position. We may find ourselves in safety at next depôt, but there is a horrid element of doubt.'

On the next day Scott decided to increase the rations, and at R. 42, which they reached after a march of 11-1/2 miles in a blightingly cold wind, they had a 'splendid pony hoosh.' The temperatures, however, which varied at this time between - 30° and - 42°, were chilling them through and through, and to get their foot-gear on in the mornings was both a painful and a long task. 'Frightfully cold starting,' Scott wrote at lunch-time on Thursday, February 29, 'luckily Bowers and Oates in their last new finnesko; keeping my old ones for the present.... Next camp is our depôt and it is exactly 13 miles. It ought not to take more than 1-1/2 days; we pray for another fine one. The oil will just about spin out in that event, and we arrive a clear day's food in hand.'

On reaching the Middle Barrier Depôt, however, blow followed blow in such quick succession that hope of pulling through began to sink in spite of all their cheerfulness and courage. First they found such a shortage of oil that with the most rigid economy it could scarcely carry them on to their next depôt, 71 miles away. Then Oates disclosed the fact that his feet, evidently frost-bitten by the recent low temperatures, were very bad indeed. And lastly the wind, which at first they had greeted with some joy, brought dark overcast weather. During the Friday night the temperature fell to below - 40°, and on the next morning an hour and a half was spent before they could get on their foot-gear. 'Then on an appalling surface they lost both cairns and tracks, and at lunch Scott had to admit that they were 'in a very queer street since there is no doubt we cannot do the extra marches and feel the cold horribly.'

Afterwards they managed to pick up the track again, and with a march of nearly 10 miles for the day prospects brightened a little; but on the next morning they had to labor upon a surface that was coated with a thin layer of woolly crystals, which were too firmly fixed to be removed by the wind and caused impossible friction to the runners of the sledge. 'God help us,' Scott wrote at mid-day, 'we can't keep up this pulling, that is certain. Amongst ourselves we are unendingly cheerful, but what each man feels in his heart I can only guess. Putting on foot-gear in the morning is getting slower and slower, therefore every day more dangerous.'

No relief whatever to the critical situation came on Monday, March 4, and there was in fact little left to hope for except a strong drying wind, which at that time of the year was not likely to come. At mid-day they were about 42 miles from the next depôt and had a week's food; but in spite of the utmost economy their oil could only last three or four days, and to pull as they were doing and be short of food at the same time was an absolute impossibility. For the time being the temperature had risen to - 20°, but Scott was sure that this small improvement was only temporary and feared that Oates, at any rate, was in no state to weather more severe cold than they were enduring. And hanging over all the other misfortunes was the constant fear that if they did get to the next depôt they might find the same shortage of oil. 'I don't know what I should do if Wilson and Bowers weren't so determinedly cheerful over things.'

And it must in all truth have been as difficult as it was heroic to be cheerful, for weary and worn as they were their food needed such careful husbanding, that their supper on this night (March 4) consisted of nothing but a cup of cocoa and pemmican solid with the chill off. 'We pretend to prefer the pemmican this way,' Scott says, and if any proof was needed of their indomitable resolution it is contained in that short sentence. The result, however, was telling rapidly upon all of them, and more especially upon Oates, whose feet were in a terrible condition when they started to march on the morning of the 5th. Lunch-time saw them within 27 miles of their next supply of food and fuel, but by this time poor Oates was almost done.

'It is pathetic enough because we can do nothing for him; more hot food might do a little, but only a little, I fear. We none of us expected these terribly low temperatures, and of the rest of us Wilson is feeling. them most; mainly, I fear, from his self-sacrificing devotion in doctoring Oates' feet. We cannot help each other, each has enough to do to take care of himself. We get cold on the march when the trudging is heavy, and the wind pierces our worn garments. The others, all of them, are unendingly cheerful when in the tent. We mean to see the game through with a proper spirit, but it's tough work to be pulling harder than we ever pulled in our lives for long hours, and to feel that the progress is so slow. One can only say "God help us!" and plod on our weary way, cold and very miserable, though outwardly cheerful. We talk of all sorts of subjects in the tent, not much of food now, since we decided to take the risk of running a full ration. We simply couldn't go hungry at this time.'

On the morning of the 6th Oates was no longer able to pull, and the miles gained, when they camped for lunch after desperate work, were only three and a half, and the total distance for the day was short of seven miles. For Oates, indeed, the crisis was near at hand. 'He makes no complaint, but his spirits only come up in spurts now, and he grows more silent in the tent.... If we were all fit I should have hopes of getting through, but the poor Soldier has become a terrible hindrance, though he does his utmost and suffers much I fear.' And at mid-day on the 7th, Scott added, 'A little worse I fear. One of Oates' feet very bad this morning; he is wonderfully brave. We still talk of what we will do together at home.'

At this time they were 16 miles from their depôt, and if they found the looked-for amount of fuel and food there, and if the surface helped them, Scott hoped that they might get on to the Mt. Hooper Depôt, 72 miles farther, but not to One Ton Camp. 'We hope against hope that the dogs have been to Mt. Hooper; then we might pull through.... We are only kept going by good food. No wind this morning till a chill northerly air came ahead. Sun bright and cairns showing up well. I should like to keep the track to the end.'

Another fearful struggle took them by lunch-time on the 8th to within 8-1/2 miles of their next goal, but the time spent over foot-gear in the mornings was getting longer and longer. 'Have to wait in night footgear for nearly an hour before I start changing, and then am generally first to be ready. Wilson's feet giving trouble now, but this mainly because he gives so much help to others.... The great question is, what shall we find at the depôt? If the dogs have visited it we may get along a good distance, but if there is another short allowance of fuel, God help us indeed. We are in a very bad way, I fear, in any case.'

On the following day they managed to struggle on to Mount Hooper Depôt. 'Cold comfort. Shortage on our allowance all round. I don't know that anyone is to blame. The dogs which would have been our salvation have evidently failed.'

[For the last six days Cherry-Garrard and Demetri had been waiting with the dogs at One Ton Camp. Scott had dated his probable return to Hut Point anywhere between mid-March and early April, and calculating from the speed of the other return parties Atkinson expected him to reach One Ton Camp between March 3 and 10. There Cherry-Garrard met four days of blizzard, with the result that when the weather cleared he had little more than enough dog food to take the teams home. Under these circumstances only two possible courses were open to him, either to push south for one more march and back with imminent risk of missing Scott on the way, or to stay two days at the Camp where Scott was bound to come, if he came at all. Wisely he took the latter course and stayed at One Ton Camp until the utmost limit of time.]

With the depôt reached and no relief to the situation gained, Scott was forced to admit that things were going 'steadily downhill,' but for the time being Oates' condition was by far the most absorbing trouble. 'Oates' foot worse,' he wrote on the 10th. 'He has rare pluck and must know that he can never get through. He asked Wilson if he had a chance this morning, and of course Bill had to say he didn't know. In point of fact he has none. Apart from him, if he went under now, I doubt whether we could get through. With great care we might have a dog's chance, but no more.... Poor chap! it is too pathetic to watch him; one cannot but try to cheer him up.'

On this same day a blizzard met them after they had marched for half an hour, and Scott seeing that not one of them could face such weather, pitched camp and stayed there until the following morning. Then they struggled on again with the sky so overcast that they could see nothing and consequently lost the tracks. At the most they gained little more than six miles during the day, and this they knew was as much as they could hope to do if they got no help from wind or surfaces. 'We have 7 days' food and should be about 55 miles from One Ton Camp to-night, 6 X 7 = 42, leaving us 13 miles short of our distance, even if things get no worse.'

Oates too was, Scott felt, getting very near the end. 'What we or he will do, God only knows. We discussed the matter after breakfast; he is a brave fine fellow and understands the situation, but he practically asked for advice. Nothing could be said but to urge him to march as long as he could. One satisfactory result to the discussion: I practically ordered Wilson to hand over the means of ending our troubles to us, so that any of us may know how to do so. Wilson had no choice between doing so and our ransacking the medicine case.'

Thus Scott wrote on the 11th, and the next days brought more and more misfortunes with them. A strong northerly wind stopped them altogether on the 13th, and although on the following morning they started with a favorable breeze, it soon shifted and blew through their wind-clothes and their mitts. 'Poor Wilson horribly cold, could not get off ski for some time. Bowers and I practically made camp, and when we got into the tent at last we were all deadly cold.... We must go on, but now the making of every camp must be more difficult and dangerous. It must be near the end, but a pretty merciful end.... I shudder to think what it will be like to-morrow.'

Up to this time, incredible as it seems, Scott had only once spared himself the agony of writing in his journal, so nothing could be more pathetic and significant than the fact that at last he was unable any longer to keep a daily record of this magnificent journey.

'Friday, March 16 or Saturday 17. Lost track of dates, but think the last correct,' his next entry begins, but then under the most unendurable conditions he went on to pay a last and imperishable tribute to his dead companion.

'Tragedy all along the line. At lunch, the day before yesterday, poor Titus Oates said he couldn't go on; he proposed we should leave him in his sleeping-bag. That we could not do, and we induced him to come on, on the afternoon march. In spite of its awful nature for him he struggled on and we made a few miles. At night he was worse and we knew the end had come.

'Should this be found I want these facts recorded. Oates' last thoughts were of his Mother, but immediately before he took pride in thinking that his regiment would be pleased with the bold way in which he met his death. We can testify to his bravery. He has borne intense suffering for weeks without complaint, and to the very last was able and willing to discuss outside subjects. He did not - would not - give up hope till the very end. He was a brave soul. This was the end. He slept through the night before last, hoping not to wake; but he woke in the morning - yesterday. It was blowing a blizzard. He said, "I am just going outside and may be some time." He went out into the blizzard and we have not seen him since.

'I take this opportunity of saying that we have stuck to our sick companions to the last. In case of Edgar Evans, when absolutely out of food and he lay insensible, the safety of the remainder seemed to demand his abandonment, but Providence mercifully removed him at this critical moment. He died a natural death, and we did not leave him till two hours after his death.

'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. We all hope to meet the end with a similar spirit, and assuredly the end is not far.

'I can only write at lunch and then only occasionally. The cold is intense, - 40° at mid-day. My companions are unendingly cheerful, but we are all on the verge of serious frost-bites, and though we constantly talk of fetching through I don't think anyone of us believes it in his heart.

'We are cold on the march now, and at all times except meals. Yesterday we had to lay up for a blizzard and to-day we move dreadfully slowly. We are at No. 14 pony camp, only two pony marches from One Ton Depôt. We leave here our theodolite, a camera, and Oates' sleeping-bags. Diaries, etc., and geological specimens carried at Wilson's special request, will be found with us or on our sledge.'

At mid-day on the next day, March 18, they had struggled to within 21 miles of One Ton Depôt, but wind and drift came on and they had to stop their march. 'No human being could face it, and we are worn out nearly.

'My right foot has gone, nearly all the toes - two days ago I was the proud possessor of best feet. These are the steps of my downfall. Like an ass I mixed a spoonful of curry powder with my melted pemmican - it gave me violent indigestion. I lay awake and in pain all night; woke and felt done on the march; foot went and I didn't know it. A very small measure of neglect and have a foot which is not pleasant to contemplate.

'Bowers takes first place in condition, but there is not much to choose after all. The others are still confident of getting through - or pretend to be - I don't know! We have the last half fill of oil in our primus and a very small quantity of spirit - this alone between us and thirst.'

On that night camp was made with the greatest difficulty, but after a supper of cold pemmican and biscuit and half a pannikin of cocoa, they were, contrary to their expectations, warm enough to get some sleep.

Then came the closing stages of this glorious struggle against persistent misfortune.

'March 19. - Lunch. To-day we started in the usual dragging manner. Sledge dreadfully heavy. We are 15-1/2 miles from the depôt and ought to get there in three days. What progress! We have two days' food but barely a day's fuel. All our feet are getting bad - Wilson's best, my right foot worst, left all right. There is no chance to nurse one's feet till we can get hot food into us. Amputation is the least I can hope for now, but will the trouble spread? That is the serious question. The weather doesn't give us a chance; the wind from N. to N. W. and - 40 temp. to-day.

During the afternoon they drew 4-1/2 miles nearer to the One Ton Depôt, and there they made their last camp. Throughout Tuesday a severe blizzard held them prisoners, and on the 21st Scott wrote: 'To-day forlorn hope, Wilson and Bowers going to depôt for fuel.'

But the blizzard continued without intermission. '22 and 23. Blizzard bad as ever - Wilson and Bowers unable to start - to-morrow last chance - no fuel and only one or two of food left - must be near the end. Have decided it shall be natural - we shall march for the depôt with or without our effects and die in our tracks.'

'March 29. - Since the 21st we have had a continuous gale from W.S.W. and S.W. 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 depôt 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.

                     'R. SCOTT.

'Last entry For God's sake look after our people.'

       * * * * *

After Cherry-Garrard and Demetri had returned to Hut Point on March 16 without having seen any signs of the Polar party, Atkinson and Keohane made one more desperate effort to find them. When, however, this had been unsuccessful there was nothing more to be done until the winter was over.

During this long and anxious time the leadership of the party devolved upon Atkinson, who under the most trying circumstances showed qualities that are beyond all praise. At the earliest possible moment (October 30) a large party started south. 'On the night of the 11th and morning of the 12th,' Atkinson says, 'after we had marched 11 miles due south of One Ton, we found the tent. It was an object partially snowed up and looking like a cairn. Before it were the ski sticks and in front of them a bamboo which probably was the mast of the sledge...

'Inside the tent were the bodies of Captain Scott, Doctor Wilson, and Lieutenant Bowers. They had pitched their tent well, and it had withstood all the blizzards of an exceptionally hard winter.'

Wilson and Bowers were found in the attitude of sleep, their sleeping-bags closed over their heads as they would naturally close them.

Scott died later. He had thrown back the flaps of his sleeping-bag and opened his coat. The little wallet containing the three notebooks was under his shoulders and his arm flung across Wilson.

Among their belongings were the 35 lbs. of most important geological specimens which had been collected on the moraines of the Beardmore Glacier. At Wilson's request they had clung on to these to the very end, though disaster stared them in the face.

'When everything had been gathered up, we covered them with the outer tent and read the Burial Service. From this time until well into the next day we started to build a mighty cairn above them.'

Upon the cairn a rough cross, made from two skis, was placed, and on either side were up-ended two sledges, fixed firmly in the snow. Between the eastern sledge and the cairn a bamboo was placed, containing a metal cylinder, and in this the following record was left:

'November 12, 1912, Lat. 79 degrees, 50 mins. South. This cross and cairn are erected over the bodies of Captain Scott, C.V.O., R.N., Doctor E. A. Wilson, M.B. B.C., Cantab., and Lieutenant H. R. Bowers, Royal Indian Marine - a slight token to perpetuate their successful and gallant attempt to reach the Pole. This they did on January 17, 1912, after the Norwegian Expedition had already done so. Inclement weather with lack of fuel was the cause of their death. Also to commemorate their two gallant comrades, Captain L. E. G. Oates of the Inniskilling Dragoons, who walked to his death in a blizzard to save his comrades about eighteen miles south of this position; also of Seaman Edgar Evans, who died at the foot of the Beardmore Glacier.

'"The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord."'

       * * * * *

With the diaries in the tent were found the following letters: -

To Mrs. E. A. Wilson


If this letter reaches you Bill and I will have gone out together. We are very near it now and I should like you to know how splendid he was at the end - everlastingly cheerful and ready to sacrifice himself for others, never a word of blame to me for leading him into this mess. He is not suffering, luckily, at least only minor discomforts.

His eyes have a comfortable blue look of hope and his mind is peaceful with the satisfaction of his faith in regarding himself as part of the great scheme of the Almighty. I can do no more to comfort you than to tell you that he died as he lived, a brave, true man - the best of comrades and staunchest of friends. My whole heart goes out to you in pity.

    R. SCOTT.

To Mrs. Bowers


I am afraid this will reach you after one of the heaviest blows of your life.

I write when we are very near the end of our journey, and I am finishing it in company with two gallant, noble gentlemen. One of these is your son. He had come be one of my closest and soundest friends, and I appreciate his wonderful upright nature, his ability and energy. As the troubles have thickened his dauntless spirit ever shone brighter and he has remained cheerful, hopeful, and indomitable to the end.

The ways of Providence are inscrutable, but there must be some reason why such a young, vigorous and promising life is taken.

My whole heart goes out in pity for you.

    R. SCOTT.

To the end he has talked of you and his sisters. One sees what a happy home he must have had and perhaps it is well to look back on nothing but happiness.

He remains unselfish, self-reliant and splendidly hopeful to the end, believing in God's mercy to you.

To Sir J. M. Barrie


We are pegging out in a very comfortless spot. Hoping this letter may be found and sent to you, I write a word of farewell.... More practically I want you to help my widow and my boy - your godson. We are showing that Englishmen can still die with a bold spirit, fighting it out to the end. It will be known that we have accomplished our object in reaching the Pole, and that we have done everything possible, even to sacrificing ourselves in order to save sick companions. I think this makes an example for Englishmen of the future, and that the country ought to help those who are left behind to mourn us. I leave my poor girl and your godson, Wilson leaves a widow, and Edgar Evans also a widow in humble circumstances. Do what you can to get their claims recognized. Goodbye. I am not at all afraid of the end, but sad to miss many a humble pleasure which I had planned for the future on our long marches. I may not have proved a great explorer, but we have done the greatest march ever made and come very near to great success. Goodbye, my dear friend.

  Yours ever, 
    R. SCOTT.

We are in a desperate state, feet frozen, etc. No fuel and a long way from food, but it would do your heart good to be in our tent, to hear our songs and the cheery conversation as to what we will do when we get to Hut Point.

Later. - We are very near the end, but have not and will not lose our good cheer. We have four days of storm in our tent and no where's food or fuel. We did intend to finish ourselves when things proved like this, but we have decided to die naturally in the track.

As a dying man, my dear friend, be good to my wife and child. Give the boy a chance in life if the State won't do it. He ought to have good stuff in him.... I never met a man in my life whom I admired and loved more than you, but I never could show you how much your friendship meant to me, for you had much to give and I nothing.

To the Right Hon. Sir Edgar Speyer, Bart.

Dated March 16, 1912. Lat. 79.5°.


I hope this may reach you. I fear we must go and that it leaves the Expedition in a bad muddle. But we have been to the Pole and we shall die like gentlemen. I regret only for the women we leave behind.

I thank you a thousand times for your help and support and your generous kindness. If this diary is found it will show how we stuck by dying companions and fought the thing out well to the end. I think this will show that the spirit of pluck and the power to endure has not passed out of our race....

Wilson, the best fellow that ever stepped, has sacrificed himself again and again to the sick men of the party....

I write to many friends hoping the letters will reach them some time after we are found next year.

We very nearly came through, and it's a pity to have missed it, but lately I have felt that we have overshot our mark. No one is to blame and I hope no attempt will be made to suggest that we have lacked support.

Goodbye to you and your dear kind wife.

  Yours ever sincerely, 
    R. SCOTT.

To Vice-Admiral Sir Francis Charles Bridgeman, K.C.V.O., K.C.B.


I fear we have slipped up; a close shave; I am writing a few letters which I hope will be delivered some day. I want to thank you for the friendship you gave me of late years, and to tell you how extraordinarily pleasant I found it to serve under you. I want to tell you that I was not too old for this job. It was the younger men that went under first.... After all we are setting a good example to our countrymen, if not by getting into a tight place, by facing it like men when we were there. We could have come through had we neglected the sick.

Good-bye, and good-bye to dear Lady Bridgeman.

  Yours ever, 
    R. SCOTT.

Excuse writing - it is - 40°; and has been for nigh a month.

To Vice-Admiral Sir George le Clerc Egerton, K.C.B.


I fear we have shot our bolt - but we have been to Pole and done the longest journey on record.

I hope these letters may find their destination some day.

Subsidiary reasons for our failure to return are due to the sickness of different members of the party, but the real thing that has stopped us is the awful weather and unexpected cold towards the end of the journey.

This traverse of the Barrier has been quite three times as severe as any experience we had on the summit.

There is no accounting for it, but the result has thrown out my calculations, and here we are little more than 100 miles from the base and petering out.

Good-bye. Please see my widow is looked after as far as Admiralty is concerned.

    R. SCOTT.

My kindest regards to Lady Egerton. I can never forget all your kindness.

To Mr. J. J. Kinsey-Christchurch.

March 24th, 1912.


I'm afraid we are pretty well done - four days of blizzard just as we were getting to the last dopôt. My thoughts have been with you often. You have been a brick. You will pull the Expedition through, I'm sure.

My thoughts are for my wife and boy. Will you do what you can for them if the country won't.

I want the boy to have a good chance in the world, but you know the circumstances well enough.

If I knew the wife and boy were in safe keeping I should have little to regret in leaving the world, for I feel that the country need not be ashamed of us - our journey has been the biggest on record, and nothing but the most exceptional hard luck at the end would have caused us to fail to return. We have been to the S. pole as we set out. God bless you and dear Mrs. Kinsey. It is good to remember you and your kindness.

  Your friend, 
    R. SCOTT.

Letters to his Mother, his Wife, his Brother-in-law (Sir William Ellison Macartney), Admiral Sir Lewis Beaumont, and Mr. and Mrs. Reginald Smith were also found, from which come the following extracts:

The Great God has called me and I feel it will add a fearful blow to the heavy ones that have fallen on you in life. But take comfort in that I die at peace with the world and myself - not afraid.

Indeed it has been most singularly unfortunate, for the risks I have taken never seemed excessive.

...I want to tell you that we have missed getting through by a narrow margin which was justifiably within the risk of such a journey.... After all, we have given our lives for our country - we have actually made the longest journey on record, and we have been the first Englishmen at the South Pole.

You must understand that it is too cold to write much.

...It's a pity the luck doesn't come our way, because every detail of equipment is right.

I shall not have suffered any pain, but leave the world fresh from harness and full of good health and vigor. This is decided already - when provisions come to an end we simply stop unless we are within easy distance of another depôt. Therefore you must not imagine a great tragedy. We are very anxious of course, and have been for weeks, but our splendid physical condition and our appetites compensate for all discomfort.

Since writing the above we got to within 11 miles of our depôt, with one hot meal and two days' cold food. We should have got through but have been held for four days by a frightful storm. I think the best chance has gone. We have decided not to kill ourselves, but to fight to the last for that depôt, but in the fighting there is a painless end. So don't worry. The inevitable must be faced. You urged me to be leader of this party, and I know you felt it would be dangerous.

Make the boy interested in natural history if you can; it is better than games; they encourage it at some schools. I know you will keep him in the open air.

Above all, he must guard and you must guard him against indolence. Make him a strenuous man. I had to force myself into being strenuous as you know - had always an inclination to be idle.

There is a piece of the Union Jack I put up at the South Pole in my private kit bag, together with Amundsen's black flag and other trifles. Send a small piece of the Union Jack to the King and a small piece to Queen Alexandra.

What lots and lots I could tell you of this journey. How much better has it been than lounging in too great comfort at home. What tales you would have for the boy. But what a price to pay.

Tell Sir Clements I thought much of him and never regretted his putting me in command of the Discovery.