Captain Oates just popping outside.

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by abeaumont, Mar 16, 2012.

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  1. I've been re-reading the diaries of both Scott and Amundsen day by day, one hundred years after the original diary entries. Well, you've got to do somethng to pass the time between meals when you're retired. It interests me because my late father met one of the survivors of the expedition some time around 1950, and I heard the stories so many times in my childhood.

    In recent weeks the diary written by Scott has shown ever increasing despair and realisation that their chances of getting back alive were fading.

    One hundred years ago today Captain Oates made the ultimate sacrifice. He had woken, having hoped to die in his sleep the previous night, and knowing that he was doomed and so were all the rest with him holding them up made the decision to walk to his death.

    The others tried to stop him but he had made his mind up and went. In the end it made no difference and the others died on 29th March - the same day my mother was born.

    I shall raise a glass this evening in his honour and suspect that I will not be the only one.
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  2. Was Oates body ever found?
  3. Hope the RDG have kept up the Skins' tradition of a parade & huge lash-up to mark the event!

  4. No,,,,,

    Oates' reindeer-skin sleeping bag was recovered and is now displayed in the museum of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge with other items from the expedition
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  5. No it wasn't. The following spring a search party went out and found the tent containing Soctt, WIlson, and Bowers. On reading the diary they realised that Oates must be about 11 miles further south, A search was made but no trace found - but then there had been a lot of snow during the winter. They built a cairn and marked it with a sign reading word to the effect that Oates had died somewhere nearby.

    The tent containing the bodies of the other three was collapsed over the bodies after items had been reomoved and a cairn was built over it. This is it, a picture taken at the time:

    Freeze Frame » The Grave
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  6. A documentary on polar expeditions a while ago noted that the normal procedure was to seal the tent every night by pulling in the excess canvas around the door inwards and then lace it up with a humongous great knotty thing, normally with frozen fingers. The point was that this took quite some time, so it wouldn't have been possible to just slip outside on the spur of the moment. In other words, when Oates made his move the others must have sat watching him undo the door for about 15 minutes.

    Obviously none of this distracts from his incredible courage, but it does make you wonder what was said while he fumbled with the knot.
  7. I realise the thread is three years old but for those who may be interested ... they certainly did when this was made by the BBC ...

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  8. Thanks for posting that. That whole series looks very informative. I shall qu them up for later......

    Captain Oates died of course just before WW1 before remembrance became an annual and revered event. Nice to see his old Regiment remembers his sacrifice.
  9. Nice thread. I've owned Ran Fiennes's book Captain Scott in several copies for years, and love it. More good stuff including Oates's correspondence here, there's also A very gallant gentleman by Louis Charles Bernacchi, 1933.

    Scott's Last Expedition 1913 Volume I, Chapter XX, by Captain R. F. Scott. "Friday, March 16 or Saturday 17.[1912] —Lost track of dates, but think the last correct. Tragedy all along the line. At lunch, the day before yesterday, poor Titus Oates said he couldn't go on; he proposed we should leave him in his sleeping-bag. That we could not do, and induced him to come on, on the afternoon march. In spite of its awful nature for him he struggled on and we made a few miles. At night he was worse and we knew the end had come.

    Should this be found I want these facts recorded. Oates' last thoughts were of his Mother, but immediately before he took pride in thinking that his regiment would be pleased with the bold way in which he met his death. We can testify to his bravery. He has borne intense suffering for weeks without complaint, and to the very last was able and willing to discuss outside subjects. He did not—would not—give up hope to the very end. He was a brave soul. This was the end. He slept through the night before last, hoping not to wake; but he woke in the morning—yesterday. It was blowing a blizzard. He said, 'I am just going outside and may be some time.' He went out into the blizzard and we have not seen him since".

    Thanks for the documentary link.
  10. I did read Amundsen's book on this event, they arrived at the pole cracked a bottle open and smoked a cigar each to celebrate. The technical skills of all the TEAM, was massive, making clothing to suit when on the voyage .

    Scotts tale was very much 'upper deck - lower deck.'
  11. My pleasure someone else on ARRSE posted their existence on You Tube some time ago ... I have downloaded them all .... one of my favourite quotes from the series goes something like " ... bashing the French which is exactly what they were there for " .