June 5, 2011

June 1911


Leon Amundsen, at top, on the steps at his brother Roald's house at Svartskog in the summer of 1918. Below him, in the white jacket, is Roald; at the far left, also in a white jacket, is elder brother Gustav. [1]

In London, Leon called on Nansen's promoter, George Christy. "We spoke about Shackleton," Leon wrote his brother, "and he [Christy] advised me to look him up, which I was not keen to do. He then phoned S. and he straight away said he wanted to talk to me. I went to see him immediately and met him with Captain Davies who will now lead Dr Mawson's Australian expedition to Cape Adare -- later Dr Mawson arrived too. They had been quite critical of you to begin with but to my great surprise the tone had now changed completely and everyone present took your side against Scott. As far as Shackleton is concerned it must be jealousy or irritation about Scott's journey to the South. Apparently, immediately Shackleton returned home and before he had time to settle, Scott made the decision to go south so that under the circumstances Shackleton himself had no chance to even think of it. (Although Christy is of the opinion that Sh. had decided not to go south again.) Whatever the truth of the matter, Shackleton is furious and has placed himself at my disposal for all information and arrangements (this is, of course, completely confidential as officially he can do nothing other than take Scott's side). Captain Davies went so far as to pronounce that he hoped you would beat Scott; the reason being that Scott, in spite of having an agreement with Dr Mawson, that he, Mawson, alone would use Cape Adare as an operations base, has himself set a party ashore there, forcing Mawson to disembark elsewhere. There are some very favourable circumstances for you in England as Shackleton is now a very powerful man; through the Daily Mail he managed to raise 12,000 for the Mawson expedition in four days and he has a large following on his side and against Scott." [1]


[1] Roald Amundsen Bildearkiv, Nasjonalbiblioteket.
[2] Leon Amundsen, letter to Roald Amundsen, [ca.5 June, 1911], quoted by Tor Bomann-Larsen in Roald Amundsen (Stroud, Gloucestershire : Sutton, c2006, c1995), p.92-93.

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