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].

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