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Evans, Edgar

Evans, Edgar

Alias: Rhossilly, Taff

Title: Mr

Rank: Petty Officer (Royal Navy)

Dates: 1876-1912

Nationality: British

Awards: Polar Medal (silver)

Edgar Evans was born in Rhossili, Wales, on 9 March 1876. He worked as an errand boy before enlisting in the Royal Navy in 1891 at the age of 15, and serving as a Leading Seaman on HMS Excellent and a Petty Officer on HMS Majestic. He joined the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-04 (Discovery), led by Robert Falcon Scott, as Petty Officer. He took part in many of the sledging operations, including the party led by Scott to explore further routes through the western mountains. Along with Scott and William Lashly, Evans climbed a staircase of glaciers to stand for the first time on the polar plateau. They turned back on 30 November 1903 and returned to reach Discovery just in time to celebrate Christmas.

Edgar then returned to Britain, marrying his cousin Lois Beynon with whom he had three children. Evans became a naval physical training and gunnery instructor, winning the Royal Tattoo competitions for field gunnery in 1906 and 1907. He later became a became a torpedo instructor at the HMS Vernon torpedo school in Portsmouth.

Impressed by his strength and intelligence in the previous expedition, Scott invited Evans to join the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Terra Nova). Evans again proved to be a strong sledger and subsequently was included in the main polar party of five selected by Scott for the long sledging journey to the South Pole. On 17 January 1912, Evans, along with Scott, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edward Wilson, reached the Pole only to find that Roald Amundsen had got there before them on 14 December 1911. On the return journey, the weakened party faced exceptionally unfavourable weather and sledging conditions. While descending the lower slopes of the Beardmore Glacier, Evans fell, suffered concussion and died on 18 February 1912.

Evans is commemorated in the Antarctic by Evans Glacier (83°47' S 170°00' E), Evans Neve (72°45' S 164°30' E) and Evans Piedmont Glacier (76°44' S 162°40’ E).

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