April 17, 2012

Wednesday, 17 April 1912


Atkinson, Wright, Keohane, and Williamson set out from Cape Evans to try and relieve Campbell's stranded Northern Party, but the break-up of the ice at Butter Point prevented them. They left a depot of a week's provisions and returned to Hut Point six days later.

Between 18th March (when they decided that the ship was not coming) and 31st July, Levick recorded, the six men of the Northern Party had the following daily ration: "Morning: 1 1/2 pints of hoosh [made of seal and/or penguin meat and blubber], 1 1/2 biscuits. Evening: 1 1/2 points of hoosh, 1 spoonful cocoa in 1/2 pint of water. Excepting: Sunday 1 spoonful tea instead of cocoa, Monday, the same tea [leaves] reboiled." Every Sunday they allowed themselves ten lumps of sugar, every Saturday 1 stick (1/2 ounce) of chocolate, and every other Wednesday, 1/2 ounce of chocolate. On the last day of each month, they had ten raisins apiece, 25 on birthdays. [1] Such a meagre diet inevitably played havoc with their gastrointestinal health, although the fresh meat probably saved them from getting scurvy.


[1] George Murray Levick, quoted by Katherine Lambert in The Longest Winter (Washington DC : Smithsonian Books, c2004), p.139-140. Four of the six men had birthdays during those months in the igloo. Campbell noted dryly, "I can see that one of Priestley's difficulties [as stores-keeper] in the future is going to be preventing each man from having a birthday once a month" [Lambert, p.153].

April 4, 2012

Thursday, 4 April 1912


Cherry, beginning what would turn out to be years of personal struggle to come to terms with his grief at the loss of his friends and Captain Scott, replayed in his diary the last few hours before he had turned back at the top of the Beardmore that day in December, leaving the Polar party to go on.

"Atch tells me that Bill discussed the health of those going on with him the last morning on the top. Titus they agreed on as being very done: Bill said Scott was keen on his going on, he wanted the Army represented, but Atch who went to see Titus in his tent did not think T. wanted to go on, though he (T.) did not actually say so. He thinks Titus knew he was done -- his face showed him to be so, & the way he went along. Birdie & Evans they also agreed on as being done. This has been confirmed. Lashley told Atch that they both looked very bad on the Plateau. Bill thought Crean was also, but Atch did not agree."


[1] Apsley Cherry-Garrard, diary, 4 April 1912, Scott Polar Research Institute.

April 2, 2012

Tuesday, 2 April 1912


Cape Evans from Arrival Heights, the view the men at Hut Point had. [1]

"We have got to face it now," Cherry wrote miserably in his diary at Hut Point, "the Pole Party will not in all probability ever get back. And there is no more that we can do. The next step must be to get to C. Evans as soon as it is possible, & there are fresh men there at any rate fresh compared to us." [2]


Scott, the Norwegian press thought from reports brought back by the Terra Nova, "[gives] the impression that terrain and weather were much worse [than] Amundsen's. This can hardly be the case. From Amundsen's account, one can see, for example, that he was forced to lie still for four days in a snow storm. But he considers it as something that belongs to such a journey -- it's 'all in the day's work' -- and he doesn't make a fuss about it." [3]

The British press remained obdurate in their dislike of Amundsen. Scott's message sent back with Lt. Evans, that "I am remaining in the Antarctic for another winter in order to continue and complete my work," "suffices to tell the country that ... there has been no ... 'race' to the Pole.... Captain Scott ... was not lent by the Admiralty to take part in a Marathon race. There are questions of the utmost scientific importance to which he is seeking the answer.... The message is one of which Captain Scott's countrymen may be prouder than if he had been able to announce that he had arrived at the South Pole slightly in advance of Amundsen." [4]


[1] Apsley Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, ch.XIII.
[2] Apsley Cherry-Garrard, diary, 2 April, 1912, Scott Polar Research Institute.
[3] Morgenbladet, 2 April, 1912, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.549.
[4] The Pall Mall Gazette, 1 April, 1912, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.549.

April 1, 2012

Monday, 1 April 1912


Atkinson and Keohane arrived back at Hut Point.

The Terra Nova arrived in New Zealand. The last news of Scott had come back from the Barrier with Lt. Evans, on 4th January. Evans himself was on board, sent home to recuperate. Also on the ship were Simpson, Taylor, Ponting, Day, Meares, Forde, Clissold, and Anton.


Among the letters of thanks that Amundsen wrote (his first was to Don Pedro Christophersen), was one to Nansen. "Again and again I have tried to find expression for the thanks I so much want to send you, but in vain. World cannot express it. With your name, you have gone surety for my actions. With your authority you have shamed all the gossiping people into silence. In my heart of hearts I have felt that you wanted to help me, and often, often, it has helped me forwards, when things became difficult."

"Unfortunately my letter does not only bring good news -- I have been compelled to send Johansen ashore. From the start his behaviour on board has been anything but pleasant. during the winter, he refused to obey orders on one occasion, and on that account I was compelled to exclude him from participation in the Southern party. That naturally made things worse. On our arrival here, he got drunk and began to pick quarrels with his shipmates, and obstruct them in their work. To have peace on board, I have therefore been compelled to send him ashore." [1]

Amundsen gave Johansen money for his passage home, and he left Hobart on a cargo boat, arriving in Norway in the middle of June. Amundsen, unable to forgive Johansen's actions in the winter, cabled the president of the Norwegian Geographical Society that Johansen was being sent home because he had committed mutiny, and that he was to be excluded from official celebrations.


[1] Roald Amundsen, letter to Fridtjof Nansen, [date not given], quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.551.