Robert Falcon ScottDisclaimer: Please note that the content of this page was written by a 13 year old school student who has designed the site as a school project, and not by SPRI staff. However we have tried to ensure that all Kids Pages are factually accurate.
Here is lots of information about Scott, if you see an underlined, blue word it means you can learn more about it. For example if you click on the name Kathleen Bruce, you can find out more about who she was.
Parents : John and Hannah Scott
Famous Quote : "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. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale."
Scott joined his first sea-going ship in 1893 when he was only 13! The ship was called HMS Boadicea. Scott worked on the ship for 2 years as a Midshipman. After that he worked on various ships and always got high recommendations from the captain.
When Scott was 18 he was a Midshipman aboard the Rover. The ship was cruising in the Caribbean. The midshipmen of 4 other ships raced their cutters (a type of small boat) across the bay at St. Kitts in the West Indies. The race was narrowly won by Scott and 4 days later he was invited aboard the ship Active to dine with the Commodore.
Present at the dinner was Clements Markham the cousin of the Commodore. Clements was impressed with Scott's intelligence and wrote about him "My final conclusion was that Scott was the destined man to command the Antarctic expedition." Destiny had arrived for Scott.
Scott carried on serving in the Royal Navy until in 1901 he sailed to the Antarctic in the ship Discovery. His party returned two years later, no one ever having reached further South. Then again he travelled to the Antarctic in 1910 this time hoping to be the first to reach the South Pole. The expedition had quite a lot of bad luck but in the beginning of 1912 they were 200 metres away from the Pole. Captain Scott set out on the final leg of the journey with 4 colleagues : Oates, Wilson, Bowers and Evans.
They finally reached the Pole on the 18th of January but they found out that they had been beaten by an explorer called Amundsen. Disappointed they turned back, but they were beaten by the blizzards and died from starvation and exposure to low temperatures; many people believed that this was because their clothes didn't offer much protection.
The bodies of Scott and his colleagues were found eight months later by a search party, which also found some notebooks, diaries and letters describing the brave events. Many of Scott's notebooks, letters and other expedition material can be seen at the SPRI Museum. The brave manner of Scott's failure was admired by the British people and he became a national hero. But even though he failed to reach the South Pole first, important scientific work was done on his expeditions.
More About Scott's Wife
Did you know Kathleen Bruce (Scott's wife) made a sculpture of Scott. It stands in Oxford Terrace, Christchurch, New Zealand.
When Scott died Kathleen wrote
"There never was a man with such a sense of responsibility and duty, and the agony of leaving his job undone, losing the other lives and leaving me uncared for must have been unspeakable."
More About Midshipmen
Midshipmen were students with naval instructors as their teachers. They would work on rigging 120 feet above deck, they slept in hammocks and were virtually unnoticed by the other crew members. The instructors were strong and punishments included being beaten and extra work.
Being a midshipman was supposed to make a man from a boy. By suppressing a young boy's natural feelings of fright, home-sickness and lack of self-confidence, they had to learn to bear pain without flinching, to obey orders directly, and to ignore any childish feelings. This treatment could be quite traumatic for a young boy coming from a comfortable home.
Originally Amundsen wanted to be the first man to get to the
North Pole, but just before he set sail he heard that an American
Naval officer called Robert Peary had already reached the pole.
So he secretly changed his plans and went to the South Pole. He
reached it before Scott.
Designed and written by Roland Warren, March 1998, and
is based on a long essay on
Scott by Gary Pierson, as part of the Antarctic
Philately Page, and other sources.