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Robert Falcon Scott
- Favourite Briton.

Born in Devonport, Devon
Born on 6th of June 1868
Died on 29th of March 1912

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Robert Falcon Scott, or 'Scott of the Antarctic', was born on 6th June 1868 and died 29th March 1912. He was a British Royal Naval officer and explorer who led 2 expeditions to the Antarctic regions in a bid to be the first person to reach the South Pole. He was born in Devonport, Devon, one of 5 children born to John and Hannah Scott. His father was a brewer and magistrate by trade, but there were strong naval and military traditions within his family. Scott became a naval cadet at the age of 13 and served on a number of Royal Naval ships in the 1880s and 1890s. During this period he had caught the eye of Sir Clements Markham of the Royal Geographical Society, and he appointed him to command the RGS and Royal Society funded National Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04. The expedition became known as the Discovery Expedition, due to its association with the ship which sailed there, and included his later rival, Ernest Shackleton. Discovery ended up reaching further south than anyone before them, and Scott returned to Britain in September 1904 a national hero. He was awarded Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) by Edward VII and spent time writing the expedition record, 'The Voyage of the Discovery', before resuming his full time naval career. However, having failed to actually make it to the South Pole itself, Scott had become obsessed with being the first to reach it. To his horror he discovered that Shackleton had raised funds to travel to Discovery's old base at McMurdo Sound and launch a bid for the South Pole from there. Scott claimed prior rights over this area and a dispute ensued between the two men, with Shackleton setting off on his Nimrod Expedition in 1907. Shackleton returned in 1909, not having reached the South Pole, but getting within 100 miles of it. In 1908 Scott married socialite and sculptor, Kathleen Bruce, and their only child Peter was born in 1909. Buoyed up by Shackleton's failure to reach the South Pole, Scott set off as Commander of the British Antarctic Expedition on the whaling ship, Terra Nova, from New Zealand to the Antarctic in June 1910. The expedition left from its base the following November, travelling over the same route taken by Shackleton, and using mechanical sledges, dogs and ponies. However, the sledges and ponies could not cope with the conditions, but Scott decided the expedition would carry on regardless without them, through appalling weather and increasingly tough terrain. In mid December, the dog teams also turned back, leaving the rest of the party to face the ascent of the Beardmore Glacier and the Polar Plateau with no other support. By January 1912, Scott decided that only 5 of the original expedition team should remain and go forward: Scott himself, along with Wilson, Oates, Bowers and Evans. On 17 January the 5 men reached the South Pole, only to find that Roald Amundsen's Norwegian party had beaten them there by 5 weeks. Deflated, Scott and the others started their 1,300 km journey back. Evans died in mid February and by March Oates was suffering from severe frostbite. Knowing he was holding his companions back, he walked off into the unknown, his last words being, "I am just going outside and may be some time." Scott and the remaining 2 men died of starvation and exposure in their tent on 29th March 1912, just a mere 20km from a pre-arranged supply depot. 8 months later a search party from the Terra Nova found the tent, the bodies and Scott's diary, along with letters he had written to Wilson's mother, Bowers's parents and Scott's own wife, mother and other notables. All 3 men were buried under the tent, with a cairn erected to mark the spot. Before Terra Nova set sail for home, a commemorative wooden cross was made and erected on Observation Hill, overlooking Hut Point. As today's ice shelf moves slowly northward, it is estimated that Scott and the other 2 men's bodies, encased in ice, will return to the Ross Sea in about 200 years time.

Links:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/scott_robert_falco BBC Profile
http://www.south-pole.com/p0000089.htm South Pole Site

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