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CAPTAIN R.F. SCOTT

1868-1912
English

"Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman"

Captain Robert Falcon Scott was born on 06 June 1868, in Plymouth, England. He was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, 1910–13. During this second venture, Scott led a party of five which reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that they had been preceded by Roald Amundsen's Norwegian expedition. On their return journey, Scott and his four comrades all perished from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold.

Before his appointment to lead the Discovery Expedition, Scott had followed the conventional career of a naval officer in peacetime Victorian Britain, where opportunities for career advancement were both limited and keenly sought after by ambitious officers. It was the chance for personal distinction that led Scott to apply for the Discovery command, rather than any predilection for polar exploration. However, having taken this step, his name became inseparably associated with the Antarctic, the field of work to which he remained committed during the final twelve years of his life.

Following the news of his death, Scott became an iconic British hero, a status maintained for more than 50 years and reflected by the many permanent memorials erected across the nation. In the closing decades of the twentieth century however, in a more sceptical age, the legend was reassessed as attention focused on the causes of the disaster and the extent of Scott's personal culpability. From a previously unassailable position, Scott became a figure of controversy, with questions raised about his competence and character. Twenty-first century commentators have, on the whole, regarded Scott more positively, emphasizing his personal bravery and stoicism while acknowledging his errors, but ascribing his expedition's fate primarily to misfortune. Scott is presumed to have died on 29 March 1912, possibly a day later, on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica.

Scott's two books, The Voyage of the Discovery and his recovered journal, Scott's Last Expedition, are both classic accounts of polar exploration.

TITLES BY CAPTAIN R.F. SCOTT

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