From Smart News blog:
March 29, 2013 1:04 pm
One hundred and one years ago today famed Antarctic explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott—leader of one of the first teams to ever reach the South Pole—wrote his final missive, a letter to his former Navy commander lamenting how his impending death will affect his wife and young son.
The letter, says the Telegraph, was written “from inside his final Antarctic camp in March 1912” just before his death. In the letter, one of several written leading up to his death, Scott asks Admiral Sir Francis Bridgeman, his former commander, to look after his family. The University of Cambridge:
My Dear Sir Francis
I fear we have shipped up – a close shave. I am writing a few letters which I hope will be delivered some day. I want to thank you for the friendship you gave me of late years, and to tell you how extraordinarily pleasant I found it to serve under you. I want to tell you that I was not too old for this job. It was the younger men that went under first. Finally I want you to secure a competence for my widow and boy. I leave them very ill provided for, but feel that the country ought not to neglect them. After all we are setting a good example to our countrymen, if not by getting into a tight place, by facing it like men when we were there. We could have come through had we neglected the sick.
Good-bye and good-bye to dear Lady Bridgeman
Excuse writing – it is -40, and has been for nigh a month
Though many of Scott’s final letters have been made public, this one had remained in private hands since it was delivered to Scott’s former commander and had never been released in full. The University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute just bought the letter, says the Telegraph.
More from Smithsonian.com:
- Captain Scott letter goes on display on anniversary of his death (guardian.co.uk)
- Scott of the Antarctic – the last letter: ‘Excuse the writing – it’s been minus 40’ (independent.co.uk)
- Captain Scott letter goes on display on anniversary of his death (oddonion.com)
- Revealed after 101 years: Scott of the Antarctic’s dying request to have his family taken care of (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- “Excuse writing, it is minus 40C”: Captain Scott’s last letter home revealed 101 years on (mirror.co.uk)
- Scott last letter published in full (bbc.co.uk)
- Scientists given a leg up at new Antarctic centre (itv.com)
- Antarctic cabin shifted to Godley Head (radionz.co.nz)