Letter: Scott, unsung hero
Saturday 18 September 1999
Sir: If Robert Scott was sentimental, depressive, muddled and insecure ("The hero who melted", 15 September), so what?
Whatever mistakes were made in the preparation and execution of the Polar journey, the truth is Scott, Wilson and Bowers lost their lives to appalling weather.
When they died at the end of March (they had been held up by blizzards for more than a week) they were only 11 miles from their next food depot at One Ton Camp. Had they reached it, it is unlikely that we would be treated to regular attacks on Scott's name.
The party was on a starvation diet from the outset. All of them were suffering from frostbite, starvation and scurvy.
We don't hear the same derogatory remarks on more recent Polar walks for their dog-less assaults on the South Pole.
If Scott was the incompetent figure that Thomson portrays, how is it that he made such a shrewd choice in the men he took on both the Discovery and Terra Nova expeditions? Why would such clever and brave men volunteer to serve under him a second time?
Despite his own weaknesses, lack of physical prowess and ignorance on Polar matters, Scott accomplished so much and had that rare capacity that enabled those who served with him to excel beyond their own capabilities.
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