Captain Scott and Roald Amundsen and the race for the South Pole, 1911-12

Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole within five weeks of each other. But while Scott and his four companions died on the way back to base, Amundsen’s party managed to reach the pole first and returned without loss of life. Within Scott’s party was a man called Lawrence Oates, whose parents lived in Meanwood, Leeds.

Captain Scott
Captain Scott from The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott by D.M. Wilson (Little Brown, 2011)

Much has been written about why Scott’s expedition ended in tragedy, but there is no doubt however, that the bravery shown by all the men set an example for later expeditions.

Upon hearing about the fate of Scott and his men, Amundsen’s formal tribute was ‘Captain Scott left a record, for honesty, for sincerity, for bravery, for everything that makes a man.’

The South Pole: An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the ‘Fram’ 1920-1912, Vol I by Roald Amundsen (John Murray, 1912) is kept in the rare books collection at The Leeds Library.