Antarctic tragedy – 1913

THE British expedition to the Antarctic commanded by Captain Scott has been overtaken by disaster of the most tragic kind.

The leader himself and the four brave men who formed the advance party with which, as it was announced, he reached the South Pole on January 18 last year, have all perished.

The party consisted of Captain Scott in command; Dr Wilson, chief of the scientific staff; Captain Oates, Inniskilling Dragoons (in charge of the ponies and mules); Lieutenant Lowers, Royal Indian Marine commissariat officer; and Petty-Officer Evans, RN (in charge of sledges and equipment).

Intimation of their deaths is contained in a message from Commander Evans. Disaster overtook them on their return journey from the South Pole, where they found the Norwegian tent and the records left by Captain Amundaen.

Captain Scott, Dr Wilson, and Lieutenant Bowers died from exposure and want when 155 miles from the base at Cape Evans. Oates perished at an earlier date – also from exposure; and Seaman Evans succumbed to concussion of the brain on February 17.

Additional pathos is lent to the disaster by the fact that Mrs Scott has sailed from San Francisco for New Zealand, where she anticipated a happy reunion with her husband.

Surgeon Atkinson and the party gathered the record and the effects of the dead men, read the burial service over their bodies and erected a cairn and cross to their memory over the inner tent in which he then buried them.

The party then searched for 20 miles to the south, endeavouring to discover the body of Captain Oates. It was never found, but another cairn and record were left in the vicinity to his memory.