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Meet the Crew of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova Expedition

Meet the crew of  members of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's second expedition: The British Antarctic [Terra Nova] Expedition 1910–13.

* Wintered in 1911 only

** Joined for the 1912 winter

+ Died on return from the South Pole

Wardroom

Officers

Robert Falcon Scott Captain, CVO, RN+

Edward RGR Evans, Lieutenant, RN*

Henry Robertson Bowers, Lieutenant, RIM+

Lawrence Edward Grace Oates, Captain 6th Iniskilling Dragoons+

Edward L Atkinson, Surgeon, RN, Parasitologist

Scientists

Edward Adrian Wilson, BA, MB (Cantab), Chief of Scientific Staff and Zoologist+

George C Simpson, DSc, Meteorologist*

Thomas Griffith Taylor, BA, BSc, BE, FGS Senior Geologist*

Edward W Nelson, Biologist

Frank Debenham, BA, BSc, Geologist

Charles Seymour Wright, BA, Physicist

Apsley GB Cherry-Garrard, BA, Assistant Zoologist

Others

Herbert G Ponting, FRGS, Camera Artist*

Cecil H Meares, In charge of dogs*

Tryggve Gran, Sub-lieutenant, Norwegian, NR, BA, Ski Expert

Bernard C Day, Motor mechanic*

Messdeck

William Lashly, Chief Stoker, RN

WW Archer, Chief Steward, late RN**

Thomas C Clissold, Cook, late RN*

Edgar Evans, Petty Officer, RN+

Robert Forde, Petty Officer, RN*

Thomas Crean, Petty Officer, RN

Thomas S Williamson, Petty Officer, RN**

Patrick Keohane, Petty Officer, RN

Frederick J Hooper, Steward, late RN

Anton L Omelchenko, Groom*

Demetri Gerof, Dog Driver

Northern Party

Victor Campbell, Lieutenant, RN

George Murray Levick, Surgeon, RN

Raymond Edward Priestley, BA, Geologist

George P Abbott, Petty Officer, RN

Frank Browning, Petty Officer, RN

Harry Dickason, Able Seaman, RN

 

Robert Falcon Scott Commander, RN

Nicknamed ‘The Skipper’. Born 1868. Entered the Royal Navy in 1886. In the Rover (Training Squadron) 1887–88. With Captain Hutton in the Amphion 1889 and navigator in the Sharpshooter. Torpedo Lieutenant, serving under Captain Hall, Durnford, Robinson and Jackson. Spent four years in sailing ships. Torpedo Lieutenant in the Majestic, 1898–99, under Captain Egerton. Took a special course in surveying, 1898–99, and in magnetic observation 1900. Commander, 1900; Captain, 1904. On the return of the Discovery expedition he was made a gold medallist of the Royal Geographical Society and similarly honoured by other learned societies and institutions. Wrote The Voyage of Discovery, published in 1905. Led the British Antarctic (Terra Nova) expedition 1910–13 and died on the return from the South Pole, March 1912. His diaries were published posthumously, 1913, as Scott’s Last Expedition. Scott is commemorated with numerous geographic features including Mount Scott 6509’S, 64º 03’W; Scott Coast 76º 30’S, 162º 30’E; Scott Glacier 66º 30’S, 100º 20’E and also the Scott Glacier at 85º 45’S, 153º 20’E; Scott Island 67º 24’S, 170º 55’W; Scott Mountains 67º 30’S, 50º 30’E.

 

Edward Ratcliffe Garth Russell Evans, afterwards Lord Mountevans

Nicknamed ‘Teddy’ or ‘Skipper’. Born 1881 and educated at Merchant Taylor’s School and on HMS Worcester. Joined the Royal Navy in 1896. As a sub-lieutenant on the Morning, took part in the relief of Scott’s Discovery expedition in 1902. In 1910, he joined the Terra Nova expedition as navigator and second-in-command. In the Antarctic he was leader of the last supporting party to leave Scott on the journey to the South Pole. During the return journey he suffered acutely from scurvy and would have died had it not been for the efforts of his two companions William Lashly and Thomas Crean to sledge him back to base. He was invalided home in 1912 but returned in the Terra Nova in January 1913, to take charge during the last few weeks of the expedition. During the First World War he gained distinction when in command of the Broke. He received the Lloyd’s Gold medal for saving life at sea in 1922 and was made a peer in 1945. His account of Scott’s last expedition was published in 1921 as South with Scott. He died in 1957 and is commemorated with, Mount Evans on the Saint Johns Range in Victoria Land, 77º 15’S, 162º 29’E and Cape Evans on Ross Island 77º 38’S, 166º24’E.

 

 

Henry Robertson Bowers

Nicknamed ‘Birdie’ on account of his beak-like nose. Born 1883 at Greenock. Entered as a cadet on HMS Worcester. Listed midshipman RNR, having served his indentures aboard a sailing barque to Australia. In 1905, he was appointed sub-lieutenant in the Royal Indian Marine serving in Burma and Ceylon. He took a keen interest in polar research and was introduced to Sir Clements Markham, President of the Royal Geographical Society who introduced him to Scott while the latter was preparing for his second Antarctic expedition. In March 1910, Scott offered Bowers a place on the expedition as storekeeper. Initially, Bowers was a ship’s officer only, but before the Terra Nova had left New Zealand, Scott decided to keep him with the Shore Party. He died on the return from the South Pole in March 1912. Bowers is commemorated with, Mount Bowers (2,430 metres) near the head of the Beardmore Glacier 85º 00’S, 164º 05’E, the Bowers Mountains 71º 10’S, 163º 15’E and the Bowers Piedmont Glacier 77º 43’S, 164º18’E.

 

Lawrence Edward Grace Oates

Nicknamed ‘Titus’ or sometimes as ‘The Soldier’. Born in 1880. Joined the 6th Iniskilling Dragoons in 1900 and served as a subaltern during the Boer war. Later saw service in Egypt and India. On hearing of Scott’s proposed expedition, Oates volunteered to take charge of the dogs and ponies and came home on leave in order to attend the interview. The War Office finally sanctioned an arrangement for his special extra-regimental employ with the British Antarctic Expedition, towards the costs of which Oates contributed a handsome sum. Oates died on return from the South Pole in March 1912 and the famous picture by JC Dollman of Oates going to meet his death in a blizzard ‘A very gallant gentleman’, now hangs in the Cavalry Club in London. Captain Oates is commemorated with the Oates Coast between Cape Hudson and Cape Williams 69º 30’S, 159º 00’E and the Oates Piedmont Glacier 76º 25’S, 162º 35’E.

Read more about Titus Oates.

 

Edward Leicester Atkinson

Nicknamed ‘Atch’. Was born in 1882 and educated at Forest School and St Thomas’s Hospital, London, qualifying in 1906. From 1908–1909 he was on the staff of the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar and, in 1910, he was appointed parasitologist and bacteriologist to the Terra Nova expedition. He was in command during the last year at Cape Evans and succeeded in the task of maintaining morale during the difficult time that followed the finding of the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers. For service during the First World War he was awarded the Albert Medal for rescue work after an explosion on HMS Glatton. He died in 1929 and is commemorated with Atkinson Cliffs on the north coast of Victoria Land at 71º 18’S, 168º 55’E.

 

Dr Edward Adrian Wilson

Nicknamed ‘Billy’. Born in Cheltenham, England, 1872, the son of a doctor. He became fascinated with nature and drawing and studied natural sciences at Cambridge. He then studied medicine, but in 1898 discovered he had tuberculosis. Following successful convalescence he volunteered to join the Discovery expedition and sledged with Scott and Shackleton to beyond 82º South, the furthest south than anyone before. He became Scott’s closest friend and confidant and, on return, spent five years working on a survey of grouse disease. Shackleton wanted him to join his Nimrod expedition, but, partly out of loyalty to Scott, Wilson refused. He died on the return journey from the South Pole and is commemorated with, Cape Wilson 82º 14’S, 37º 10’W; Wilson Hills 69º 40’S, 158º 30’E and the Wilson Piedmont Glacier 77º 15’S, 163º 10’E.

 

 

George Clarke Simpson

Nicknamed ‘Sunny Jim’ (after the trademark on the ‘Force’ breakfast food packet). Born 1878 and educated at Owens College Manchester. For a time, worked at the Meteorological Office before joining the Indian Meteorological Service at Simla in 1906. In 1909, invited by Scott to go as meteorologist with him to the Antarctic. His observations and research were published in the scientific records of the expedition. After the First World War he succeeded Sir Napier Shaw as the Director of the Meteorological Office where he remained until 1938. Simpson was knighted in 1935 and is commemorated with Simpson Glacier 71º 17’S, 168º 38’E, the Simpson Glacier Tongue 71º 15’S, 168º 45’E and Simpson Peak (1,720 metres) in the Scott Mountains 67º 43’S, 50º 07’E.

 

Thomas Griffith Taylor

Known as ‘Griff’. Born 1880 at Walthamstow, Essex. He emigrated with his family to Australia and graduated in science at the University of Sydney in 1904. In 1907, he went to Cambridge to continue his studies and, at the time of joining Scott’s expedition, he was working as a physiographer for the Australian Weather Service. In 1915, his account of Scott’s expedition, With Scott: The Silver Lining, was published. Afterwards, he enjoyed a distinguished academic career. He was in turn Associate Professor of geography in the University of Sydney, Senior Professor of Geography in the University of Chicago and Professor of Geography at Toronto University. He died in 1964 and is commemorated with the Taylor Glacier 67º 27’S, 60º 50’E lying east of Hayes Peak, the Taylor Glacier 77º 44’S, 162º 10’E and the Taylor Valley 77º 37’S, 163º 00’E.

 

Edward W Nelson

Nicknamed ‘Marie’ or ‘Bronte’. A Londoner, he was educated at Clifton, Tonbridge and Cambridge. Joined the Terra Nova expedition as an invertebrate zoologist and also carried out tidal observations while at Cape Evans. Commemorated with Nelson Cliff at the west side of the Simpson Glacier 71º 14’S, 168º 42’E.

 

Frank Debenham

Known as ‘Deb’. Born at Bowral, New South Wales, Australia, 1883. Graduated from Sydney University and was shortly afterwards selected to join Scott’s expedition. During the summer of 1911–12 he accompanied the Northern Party as geologist, and the experience he gained here in mapping gave him an interest in cartography and survey which was very much to influence his later career. After service in Salonika during the First World War, he went to Cambridge where he became a fellow of Gonville and Caius College and lecturer in cartography. In 1920, he established the Scott Polar Research Institute, with the help of James Wordie and Raymond Priestley. He was its first director until his retirement in 1946. Debenham was also responsible for developing the Department of Geography in the university and was appointed its first professor in 1931. He is commemorated with Debenham Glacier the glacier flowing into the northern part of Wilson Piedmont Glacier 77º 10’S, 162º 38’E; the Debenham Islands between Millerand Island and the west coast of Graham Land 68º 08’S, 67º 07’W and Debenham Peak (1,140 metres) in the Scott Mountains 67º 21’S, 50º 26’E.

 

Charles Seymour Wright

Nicknamed ‘Silas’ (after Silas K Hocking, an American novelist). Born 1887, in Toronto, Canada and educated at Upper Canada College. Was an undergraduate at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and did research at the Cavendish Laboratory between 1908 and 1910. After a distinguished career in the First World War, during which he gained the Military Cross and OBE, he became in turn Director of the Admiralty Research Laboratory and Director of Scientific Research at the Admiralty. With the formation of the Royal Naval Scientific Service in 1946 he was appointed first chief of the service. He then returned to North America to continue his own research, working at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the Defence Research Board of Canada’s Pacific Naval Laboratory and the University of British Columbia. He retired on Satspring Island, near Vancouver, British Columbia. His report on the glaciological work of the Terra Nova expedition, written jointly with Sir Raymond Priestley and published in 1922, became a classic in its field. Like his fellow Antarctic scientist Griffith Taylor, he was married to a sister of Raymond Priestley. He was knighted in 1946 and died in 1975. Sir Charles Wright is commemorated with, Mount Wright in the north part of the Admiralty Mountains 71º 33’S, 169º 10’E; Wright Bay between the west side of the Helen Glacier Tongue and the mainland 66º 34’S, 93º 37’E; Wright Lower Glacier 77º 25’S, 163º 00’E; Wright Upper Glacier 77º 32’S, 160º35’E and the Wright Valley 77º 31’S, 161º 50’E.

 

Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard

Known as ‘Cherry’. Born in 1886, and educated at Winchester and Oxford. In 1909, he was introduced to Scott by Wilson and recommended as a potentially useful member of the expedition. Quiet and unassuming, he shared every duty aboard ship and took part in every major journey in the Antarctic, including accompanying Wilson and Bowers on the mid-winter journey to Cape Crozier and travelling with the Pole Party two-thirds of the way to the South Pole. During the winter, he edited the South Polar Times. In March 1912, with experienced dog-driver, Dimitri Gerov, he tried to meet Scott’s returning party. His failure to do so, though no fault of his, preyed on his mind for the rest of his life. In 1922, he published his own account of the expedition, The Worst Journey in the World, probably the best polar book ever written. Cherry-Garrard died in 1959 and is commemorated with, Mount Cherry-Garrard on the north coast of Victoria Land 71º 18’S, 168º 41’E and Cherry Icefall in the Queen Alexandra Range 84º 27’S, 167º 40’E.

Read more about Cherry-Garrard.

 

Herbert George Ponting

Nicknamed ‘Ponco’. Born 1870, and after a period of agriculture and mining in the western United States, made his name with photography in China and Japan. On Scott’s expedition Ponting, preferred the title of ‘camera artist’ to photographer, set himself a high standard of work; all negatives that did not come up to his standard he would destroy. His still pictures and films were, at that time, well in advance of anything done by any previous traveller. After the expedition, he indulged in a number of business ventures in the field of photography, mostly unsuccessful. He was greatly affected by the loss of Scott and Wilson and spent many years perpetuating their memory, including with his film ‘90º South’. Ponting died in 1935 and is commemorated with Ponting Cliff in northern Victoria Land 71º 12’S, 168º 21’E.

 

Cecil H Meares

Was responsible for purchasing dogs in Siberia for the expedition. He was assisted by the dog driver Demetri Gerof who he met in Nikolayevsk and who also was recruited for the expedition. He accompanied the Pole Party as far as the bottom of the Beardmore Glacier. Meares died in 1937 and is commemorated with Meares Cliff along the north coast of Victoria Land 71º 12’S, 168º 25’E.

 

Tryggve Gran

Born in Bergen, Norway, 1889. Gran was 21 and probably one of the most travelled members of the Terra Nova expedition. He was educated in Switzerland, entered naval college in 1907 and graduated in the spring of 1910. In 1910, he was introduced by Fridtjof Nansen to Scott who was testing his motor tractor at Fefor, Norway. Here, Gran, who was a prize skier, demonstrated techniques of skiing for Scott who promptly engaged him to join the expedition. He was a member of the search party that discovered the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers.

 After the expedition, he joined the Norwegian Flying Corps and later signed on as a captain in the Royal Flying Corps where he was mentioned in dispatches. He later joined the Norwegian Air Force and after the fall of Norway in the Second World War was, for a short time, a prisoner of war. He died in Norway. Mount Gran (2,235 metres) on the north side of the Mackay Glacier 76º 59’S, 160º 58’E recognises his contribution.

 

Bernard C Day

Born Wymondham, Leicestershire, England, 1884. Employed by the New Arrol-Johnston Motor Car Company before joining the Nimrod expedition. Served also on Terra Nova expedition, returning home after first year. Settled in Australia. Applied to join the Ross Sea Relief Expedition 1916–17. Cape Day 76º 16’S, 162º 37’E.

 

William Lashly

Born at Hambledon, Hampshire. Joined Scott’s Discovery expedition from HMS Duke of Wellington. Before joining the Terra Nova expedition, served as an instructor at the Royal Naval College, Osbourne. With Crean, he successfully sledged Lieutenant Evans back to base after Evans succumbed to scurvy on the return of the last supporting party. He was awarded the Albert Medal and, in later life, served as a customs officer at Cardiff. He is commemorated with the Lashly Glacier 77º 57’S, 159º 50’E and the Lashly Mountains in close proximity 77º 54’S, 159º 33’E.

 

Walter William Archer

Chief Steward, late RN.  Retired from the Royal Navy after World War II and ran his own catering business in London. An enthusiastic supporter of the Antarctic Club. Is commemorated with Cape Archer marking the north side on the entrance to Granite Harbour on the coast of Victoria Land 76º 51’S, 162º 52’E.

 

Thomas C Clissold

Joined Terra Nova from HMS Harrier. His expertise was highly praised by Scott, however, an unfortunate accident on an iceberg while posing for Ponting, prevented him from joining the southern Motor Party, but he was one of four who hauled extra provisions to One Ton Depot in December 1911 and January 1912. After the First World War, Clissold emigrated to New Zealand where he became a vehicle inspector in Napier.

 

Edgar Evans

Known as ‘Taff’. Born in 1876 at Rhossili, Wales. Joined the Royal Navy in 1891 and, in 1901, volunteered for service with Scott’s Discovery expedition. On his return to England he became a gunnery instructor. He died near the bottom of the Beardmore Glacier during his return with the Polar Party in 1912. Evans is commemorated with the Evans Glacier flowing into the Beardmore Glacier 83º 47’S, 170º 00’E; Evans Neve which nourishes the Tucker and other glaciers 72º 45’S, 164º 30’E and Evans Piedmont Glacier in Victoria Land 76º 44’S, 162º 40’E.

 

Robert Forde

Born 1877. Took part in two depot laying journeys and was sledge master during the second Western Party journey, led by Griffith Taylor, in 1911. He died in 1959 at Cobh, County Cork, Ireland. He is commemorated with Mount Forde at the head of the Hunt Glacier in Victoria Land, 76º 53’S, 162º 05’E.

 

Thomas Crean

A native of County Kerry, Ireland. Joined Terra Nova from HMS Bulwark. He had previously served on Scott’s Discovery expedition as able seaman. Later, served on Shackleton’s Endurance in 1914–16 and was a member of the James Caird Boat Party from Elephant Island to South Georgia. He received the Albert Medal for helping save the life of Lieutenant Evans and died in 1938. Crean is commemorated with Crean Glacier in South Georgia 54º 08’S, 37º 01’W and Mount Crean (2,550 metres) in the Lashly Mountains 77º 53’S, 159º 30’E.

 

Thomas S Williamson

Born 1877, in Sunderland. Served on the HMS Pactolus and then joined Scott’s Discovery expedition. Commemorated with Williamson Head WNW of Drake Head on the coast of Antarctica, 69º 11’S, 158º 00’E and Williamson Ridge in Marie Byrd Land 75º 47’S, 116º 45’W.

 

Patrick Keohane

An Irishman from County Cork. Joined Terra Nova from HMS Repulse. A member of Scott’s supporting party which turned back from the head of the Beardmore Glacier on 21 December 1911. Was also a member of the search party that discovered the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers on 12 November 1912.

 

Frederick J Hooper

Born 1891, and joined the Terra Nova as a steward, but was transferred to the Shore Party. Was a member of the search party that discovered the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers and took part in the second ascent of Mount Erebus. He died in 1955 and is commemorated with Hooper’s Shoulder (1,800 metres) on Mount Erebus 77º 32’S, 166º 53’E.

 

Anton Lukich Omelchenko

Born in 1883 at Bat’ki, Russia, the seventh son of a poor farmer. At the age of ten he worked as a herd boy on the estate of a certain Mikhail Pekhovskiy who gave him a job looking after horses. He learned how to handle thoroughbreds and then trained as a jockey, a vocation in which he excelled. Later, he travelled to race meetings abroad, including Europe. In 1909, while working as a jockey in Vladivostok, he met Scott’s agent Wilfred Bruce and travelled with him to Harbin to buy Manchurian ponies. After fighting in the First World War, Anton joined the Red Army and was later involved in helping set up a kolkhoz or collective farm, at Bat’ki. He was killed by a lightning strike in 1932.

 

Demetri Gerof

His full name was Demetri Semenovich Girev and he was born in 1888(?) in Sakhalin, eastern Siberia. When Cecil Meares came to Nikolayevsk to purchase dogs for the expedition. Demetri was recommended to him as an experienced dog-driver, and, indeed, it was he who helped Meares to choose the 30-odd sledge dogs from various villages in the lower Amur River region. After the expedition, Demetri went to England and then to New Zealand. Eventually, he returned to Nikolayevsk and worked in the gold mines. He died in 1932.

 

VLA Campbell

(Victor) Born 1875. First officer on Terra Nova. Leader of the Eastern (afterwards Northern) Party which left Cape Evans 25 January 1911 to set up a base in King Edward VII Land. Wintered Cape Adare 1911 and at Inexpressible Island 1912. Promoted to rank of Commander and fought in the Dardanelles during the First World War. Awarded DSO, OBE, and Polar Medal. Immigrated to Newfoundland in 1922 and died there in 1956. The Campbell Glacier and Campbell Glacier Tongue in Terra Nova Bay, commemorate Commander Victor Campbell.

 

GM Levick

(George Murray) Born 1877. Qualified at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London 1922 and later joined the Royal Navy. Although not a scientist, he was a careful and patient observer and in 1914 published a definitive work Antarctic Penguins. Wintered at Cape Adare 1911 and at Inexpressible Island 1912 a surgeon, zoologist and photographer. In 1932, he founded the British Schools Exploring Society and became President. He died in 1956. Mount Levick (2,390m) on the north-west side of the Tourmaline Plateau in the Deep Freeze Range commemorates Dr Murray Levick.

 

RE Priestley

(Raymond Edward) Born 1886. Educated at Tewkesbury Grammar School and Bristol University. Member of Nimrod expedition 1907–09 and worked under Professor Edgeworth David studying the rocks of Victoria Land, at the University of Sydney. Joined the Terra Nova expedition in 1910 and wintered at Cape Adare 1911 and at Inexpressible Island 1912 as geologist and meteorologist. Research on glaciers in the Antarctic earned him a BA (Research) at Cambridge after World War One; became Vice-Chancellor Melbourne University, Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Civil Service (1953), Deputy Director of the former Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (now British Antarctic Survey). With Sir Charles Wright (q.v.) he is the author of the volume on glaciology in the scientific reports on the Terra Nova expedition. He was knighted in 1949, visited Antarctica in 1957 and 1959 (Cape Adare), was President of the Royal Geographical Society 1961–63 and died in 1974.  He also received the Polar Medal and Bar and the Royal Geographical Society’s Founders Medal. Features named after Sir Raymond Priestley are, Mount Priestley (1,100m) rising on the N side of David Glacier in the Prince Albert Mountains of Victoria Land, the Priestley Glacier on the edge of the Polar Plateau and draining SE between Deep Freeze Range and Eisenhower Range; Priestley neve at the head of the Priestley Glacier, and Priestley Peak on the south side of Amundsen Bay in Enderby Land.

 

FV Browning

(Frank) Born in Devonshire, England. Joined Terra Nova from HMS Talbot. Wintered at Cape Adare 1911 and at Inexpressible Island 1912. Mount Browning (760m) and Browning Pass in Victoria Land, are features named after PO Frank Browning.

 

H Dickason

(Harry) Born in Bristol, England joined Terra Nova from HMS Defiance. Wintered at Cape Adare 1911 and at Inexpressible Island 1912. Mount Dickason (2,030m) is at the head of the Boomerang Glacier in Victoria Land.

 

GP Abbott

(George) Joined Terra Nova from HMS Talbot. Wintered at Cape Adare 1911 and at Inexpressible Island 1912. Features named for PO George Abbott are Mount Abbott (1,020m) in the Northern Foothills in Victoria Land and Abbott Peak on the north side of Mount Erebus on Ross Island.

 

 

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