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Who's who: Scott and Amundsen

Captain Robert Falcon Scott, RN CVO

Born 6 June 1868, Devonport. Died on or about 29 March 1912. Antarctica. Married 1908 sculptress Kathleen Bruce, son Peter Markham. Naval officer and explorer who led the famed, ill-fated second expedition to reach the South Pole (1912). He became a naval cadet in 1881 and by 1891 had beome a full lieutenant. Commander of the 'Discovery' expedition to Antarctica which reached the furthest South in 1902. Was promoted to captain upon his return to England (1904). In June 1919 [sic] Scott embarked on a second Antarctic expedition, to study the Ross Sea area and reach the South Pole. Equipped with motor sledges, ponies and dogs, he and 11 others started overland for the pole from Cape Evans on 24 October 1911. THe motors broke down, the ponies had to be shot and the dog teams sent back. On December 10 the party began to ascend Beardmore Glacier with three man-hauled sledges. By December 31 seven men had been returned to the base. The remaining party --Scott, E.A. Wilson, H.R. Bowers, L.E.G. Oates and Edgar Evans-- reached the pole in 17 January, 1912. Exhausted by their 81-day trek, they found evidenve that Roald Amundsen had preceded them to the pole by about a month. The bad weather on the return journey confounded them. Evans died at Beardmore (Feb. 17). Oates crawled out to his death in a blizzard, on March 17. The three survivors struggled on for 10 miles but then were bound to their tent by another blizzard that lasted for nine days. With fortitude they awaited their death-- 11 miles from their destination. On November 12, 1912, searchers found the tent with the frozen bodies, Scott's records and diariesm and geological specimens from Beardmore.

Roald Amundsen

Born 16 July 1872, Borge, near Oslo. Died 18 June 1928, Arctic Ocean. Polar explorer who first reached the South Pole and was one of the first to cross the Arctic by air. Amundsen studied medicine before he sailed as first mate on a Belgian expedition (1897) that was the first to winter in the Antarctic. He next sailed the North-West Passage, east to west, in the sloop "Gjöa [sic]" (1903-06). Later while planning a drift across the North Pole, news reached him that rival explorers Cook and Peary claimed to have reached it in 1909. Amundsen continued preparations, however, and set sail from Norway in June 1910, but for the South Pole. Based 60 miles closer to the pole than the English explorer Captain Scott, he set out by sledge with four companions and 52 dogs on 20 Oct. 1911, and arrived at the pole on December 14. With funds resulting from his Antarctic adventure, Amundsen invested in shipping. After becoming the second to navigate the North-East passage (1918-20), he sought to reach the North Pole by air and in 1925, with the U.S. explorer Lincoln Ellsworth and Italian aeronautical engineer Umberto Nobile, he passed over the pole in a dirigible. Disputes over credit for the flight embittered his final years. In 1928 Amundsen lost his life in flying to rescue Nobile from a dirigible crash near Spitsbergen. Books include 'The South Pole' (1912), 'First Crossing of the Polar Sea' (1927 with Ellsworth), 'The North-West Passage', 'The North-East Passage', 'My Life as a Polar Explorer'.

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