September 18, 2011

Monday, 18 September 1911


In a formal reply to Amundsen's order, Johansen wrote bitterly, "When the expedition's leader decides to put me under the command of a younger man, who is out for the first time on this kind of work, it should be obvious that this is offensive and hurtful for me, who has given a part of my life to the ice, and even more offensive because, according to those I have worked with, I have done what was assigned to me in a satisfactory manner." [1]

"Amundsen came to me," Stubberud later said, "and asked if I would be willing to go with Prestrud. 'If I am to choose,' I said, 'naturally I want to take part in the journey to the South Pole, but I have no alternative but to comply with the Captain's orders.'... Then he shook me by the hand, and thanked me." [2]

Prestrud had realised that he was not up to the Polar journey, and accepted the change without much regret; he apologised to Amundsen for his stand during the argument. Amundsen, Hassel wrote, "took the opportunity to say that he personally had nothing against Prestrud, would have liked to have had him with them on the trip south." [3]

In the end, Johansen, who had regretted his harsh words almost immediately but by this point was neither willing nor able to take them back, agreed also.


[1] Hjalmar Johansen, letter to Roald Amundsen, 19 September, 1911, in Johansen's Dagbok fra Sydpolen (Skien : Vågemot Miniforlag, 2007), p.22.
[2] Jørgen Stubberud, interview with Roland Huntford, April 1977, quoted by Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.412.
[3] Sverre Hassel, diary, 24 September, 1911, quoted in Dagboksnotater fra Sydpolen (Skien : Vågemots miniforlag, 1997), p.7.

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