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Robert Falcon Scott

Robert Falcon Scott CVO (6 June 1868 – c. 29 March 1912) was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, 1910–13. During this second venture, HP Mini 210-1097NR Keyboard

Scott led a party of five which reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that they had been preceded by Roald Amundsen's Norwegian expedition. On their return journey, Scott and his four comrades all perished from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold. HP Mini 210-1097TU Keyboard

Before his appointment to lead the Discovery Expedition, Scott had followed the conventional career of a naval officer in peacetime Victorian Britain, where opportunities for career advancement were both limited and keenly sought after by ambitious officers. It was the chance for personal distinction that led Scott to apply for the Discovery command, HP Mini 210-1098EH Keyboard

rather than any predilection for polar exploration.[1] However, having taken this step, his name became inseparably associated with the Antarctic, the field of work to which he remained committed during the final twelve years of his life. HP Mini 210-1098EI Keyboard

Following the news of his death, Scott became an iconic British hero, a status maintained for more than 50 years and reflected by the many permanent memorials erected across the nation. In the closing decades of the 20th century, the legend was reassessed as attention focused on the causes of the disaster that ended his and his comrades' lives, HP Mini 210-1098SE Keyboard

and the extent of Scott's personal culpability. From a previously unassailable position, Scott became a figure of controversy, with questions raised about his competence and character. Commentators in the 21st century have on the whole regarded Scott more positively, emphasising his personal bravery and stoicism while acknowledging his errors, but ascribing his expedition's fate primarily to misfortune. HP Mini 210-1098TU Keyboard

Family background

Scott was born on 6 June 1868, the third child out of six and elder son of John Edward and Hannah (née Cuming) Scott of Stoke Damerel, near Devonport, Devon. Although his father was a brewer and magistrate, there were naval and military traditions in the family, HP Mini 210-1099EA Keyboard

Scott's grandfather and four uncles all having served in the army or navy.[2] John Scott's prosperity came from the ownership of a small Plymouth brewery which he inherited from his father and which he subsequently sold.[3] In later years, when Scott was establishing his naval career, the family would suffer serious financial misfortune, but his early childhood years were spent in comfort. HP Mini 210-1099EC Keyboard

In accordance with the family's tradition, Robert and his younger brother Archibald were predestined for careers in the armed services. HP Mini 210-1099ED Keyboard

Robert spent four years at a local day school before being sent to Stubbington House School, Hampshire, a cramming establishment preparing candidates for the entrance examinations to the naval training ship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth. Having passed these exams Scott, aged 13, began his naval career in 1881, as a cadet.[4] HP Mini 210-1099EE Keyboard

In July 1883, Scott passed out of Britannia as a midshipman, seventh overall in a class of 26.[5] By October, he was en route to South Africa to joinHMS Boadicea, the flagship of the Cape squadron, the first of several ships on which he served during his midshipman years. HP Mini 210-1099EF Keyboard

While stationed in St Kitts, West Indies, on HMS Rover, he had his first encounter with Clements Markham, then Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), who would loom large in Scott's later career. On this occasion, 1 March 1887, Markham observed Midshipman Scott's cutter winning that morning's race across the bay. HP Mini 210-1099EG Keyboard

Markham's habit was to "collect" likely young naval officers with a view to their undertaking polar exploration work in the future. He was impressed by Scott's intelligence, enthusiasm and charm, and the 18-year-old midshipman was duly noted.[6] HP Mini 210-1099EH Keyboard

In March 1888 Scott passed his examinations for sub-lieutenant, with four first class certificates out of five.[7] His career progressed smoothly, with service on various ships and promotion to lieutenant in 1889. In 1891, after a long spell in foreign waters, HP Mini 210-1099EI Keyboard

he applied for the two-year torpedo training course onHMS Vernon, an important career step. He graduated with first class certificates in both the theory and practical examinations. A small blot occurred in the summer of 1893 when, while commanding a torpedo boat, Scott ran it aground, a mishap which earned him a mild rebuke.[8] HP Mini 210-1099EL Keyboard

During the research for his dual biography of Scott and Roald Amundsen,[9] polar historian Roland Huntford investigated a possible scandal in Scott's early naval career, related to the period 1889–90 when Scott was a lieutenant on HMS Amphion. According to Huntford, HP Mini 210-1099EM Keyboard

Scott "disappears from naval records" for eight months, from mid-August 1889 until 26 March 1890. Huntford hints at involvement with a married American woman, of cover-up, and protection from senior officers. Biographer David Crane reduces the missing period to eleven weeks, HP Mini 210-1099EO Keyboard

but is unable to clarify further. He rejects the notion of protection by senior officers on the grounds that Scott was not important or well-connected enough to warrant this. Documents that may have offered explanations are missing from Admiralty records.[10] HP Mini 210-1099ER Keyboard

In 1894, while serving as torpedo officer on the depot ship HMS Vulcan, Scott learned of the financial calamity that had overtaken his family. John Scott, having sold the brewery and invested the proceeds unwisely, had lost all his capital and was now virtually bankrupt.[11]HP Mini 210-1099ES Keyboard

At the age of 63, and in poor health, he was forced to take a job as a brewery manager and move his family to Shepton Mallet, Somerset. Three years later, while Robert was serving with the Channel squadron flagship HMS Majestic, John Scott died of heart disease, creating a fresh family crisis.[12]HP Mini 210-1099EV Keyboard

er Archie, who had left the army for a higher-paid post in the colonial service. Archie's own death in the autumn of 1898, after contracting typhoid fever, meant that the whole financial responsibility for the family rested on Scott.[13] HP Mini 210-1099EW Keyboard

Promotion, and the extra income this would bring, now became a matter of considerable concern to Scott.[14] Early in June 1899, while home on leave, he had a chance encounter in a London street with Clements Markham (now knighted and RGS President), and learned for the first time of an impending Antarctic expedition under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society. HP Mini 210-1099EZ Keyboard

It was an opportunity for early command and a chance to distinguish himself. What passed between them on this occasion is not recorded, but a few days later, on 11 June, Scott appeared at the Markham residence and volunteered to lead the expedition.[6] HP Mini 210-1099SE Keyboard

The British National Antarctic Expedition, later known as the Discovery Expedition, was a joint enterprise of the RGS and theRoyal Society. A long-cherished dream of Markham's, it required all of his skills and cunning to bring the expedition to fruition, under naval command and largely staffed by naval personnel. HP Mini 210-1099TU Keyboard

Scott may not have been Markham's first choice as leader but, having decided on him, the older man's support remained constant.[15] There were committee battles over the scope of Scott's responsibilities, with the Royal Society pressing to put a scientist in charge of the expedition's programme while Scott merely commanded the ship. HP Mini 210-1100ET Keyboard

Eventually, however, Markham's view prevailed;[16] Scott was given overall command, and was promoted to the rank of commander before Discovery sailed for the Antarctic on 31 July 1901.[17] HP Mini 210-1100EW Keyboard

Although experience of Antarctic or Arctic waters was almost entirely lacking within the 50-strong party, there was very little special training in equipment or techniques before the ship set sail.[18] Dogs were taken, as were skis, but hardly anyone knew how to use them. HP Mini 210-1100SB Keyboard

In Markham's view, professionalism was considered less praiseworthy than "unforced aptitude",[19]and possibly Scott was influenced by Markham's belief. In the first of the two full years which Discovery spent in the ice, this insouciance was severely tested, HP Mini 210-1100SJ Keyboard

s the expedition struggled to meet the challenges of the unfamiliar terrain. An early attempt at ice travel resulted in the death of George Vince, who slipped over a precipice on 11 March 1902.[20][21] HP Mini 210-1100SY Keyboard

The expedition had both scientific and exploration objectives; the latter included a long journey south, in the direction of the South Pole. This march, undertaken by Scott, Ernest Shackleton and Edward Wilson, took them to a latitude of 82° 17′ S, about 530 miles (850 km) from the pole. HP Mini 210-1100TU Keyboard

A harrowing return journey brought about Shackleton's physical collapse and his early departure from the expedition.[22] The second year showed improvements in technique and achievement, culminating in Scott's western journey which led to the discovery of the Polar Plateau. HP Mini 210-1101SD Keyboard

This has been described by one writer as "one of the great polar journeys".[23] The scientific results of the expedition included important biological, zoological and geological findings.[24] Some of the meteorological and magnetic readings, however, were later criticised as amateurish and inaccurate.[25] HP Mini 210-1101SL Keyboard

At the end of the expedition it took the combined efforts of two relief ships and the use of explosives to free Discoveryfrom the ice.[26] Afterwards, Scott remained unconvinced that dogs and ski were the keys to efficient ice travel. In the following years he continued to express the British preference for man-hauling (the practice of propelling sledges by manpower, HP Mini 210-1101TU Keyboard

unassisted by animals),[27] a view he maintained until very late in his Antarctic career. His insistence during the expedition on Royal Navy formalities had made for uneasy relations with the merchant navy contingent, many of whom departed for home with the first relief ship in March 1903. HP Mini 210-1102SD Keyboard

Second-in-command Albert Armitage, a merchant officer, was offered the chance to go home on compassionate grounds, but chose to interpret the offer as a personal slight, and refused.[28] Armitage also promoted the idea that the decision to send Shackleton home on the relief ship arose from Scott's animosity rather than Shackleton's physical breakdown.[29HP Mini 210-1102SL Keyboard

]Although there were later tensions between Scott and Shackleton, when their polar ambitions directly clashed, in public mutual civilities were preserved;[30] Scott joined in the official receptions that greeted Shackleton on his return in 1909 after the Nimrod Expedition,[31] and the two were exchanging polite letters about their respective ambitions in 1909–10.[32] HP Mini 210-1102SV Keyboard

Popular hero

Discovery returned to Britain in September 1904. The expedition had caught the public imagination, and Scott became a popular hero. He was awarded a cluster of honours and medals, HP Mini 210-1103SD Keyboard

including many from overseas, and was promoted to the rank of captain.[33] He was invited to Balmoral Castle, where King Edward VII created him a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO).[34] HP Mini 210-1102TU Keyboard

Scott's next few years were crowded. For more than a year he was occupied with public receptions, lectures and the writing of the expedition record, The Voyage of the Discovery. In January 1906, he resumed his full-time naval career, first as an Assistant Director of [[Naval IntMS|Victorious|1895|6}}.[35]HP Mini 210-1103TU Keyboard

He was now moving in ever more exalted social circles — a telegram to Markham in February 1907 refers to meetings with the Queen and Crown Prince of Portugal, and a later letter home reports lunching with the Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet and Prince Heinrich of Prussia.[36] HP Mini 210-1104EV Keyboard

By early 1906, Scott had sounded out the RGS about the possible funding of a future Antarctic expedition.[37] It was therefore unwelcome news to him that Ernest Shackleton had announced his own plans to travel to Discovery's old McMurdo Sound base and launch a bid for the South Pole from there.[38] HP Mini 210-1104TU Keyboard

Scott claimed, in the first of a series of letters to Shackleton, that the area around McMurdo was his own "field of work" to which he had prior rights until he chose to give them up, and that Shackleton should therefore work from an entirely different area.[39HP Mini 210-1105EV Keyboard

] In this, he was strongly supported by Discovery's former zoologist, Edward Wilson, who asserted that Scott's rights extended to the entire Ross Sea sector.[40] This Shackleton refused to concede. Finally, to end the impasse, Shackleton agreed, HP Mini 210-1105SD Keyboard

in a letter to Scott dated 17 May 1907, to work to the east of the 170° W meridian and therefore to avoid all the familiar Discovery ground.[41] It was a promise that, in the event, he was unable to keep after his search for alternative landing grounds proved fruitless. HP Mini 210-1105SS Keyboard

He based his expedition at Cape Royds inMcMurdo Sound, and this breach of agreement caused a profound shift in the Scott–Shackleton relationship.[42] Historian Beau Riffenburgh states that the promise to Scott "should never ethically have been demanded", HP Mini 210-1105SV Keyboard

and compares Scott's intransigence on this matter unfavourably with the generous attitudes of the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen, who gave freely of his advice and expertise to all, whether they were potential rivals or not.[43] HP Mini 210-1105TU Keyboard


Scott, who because of his Discovery fame had entered Edwardian society, first met Kathleen Bruce early in 1907 at a private luncheon party.[44] She was a sculptor, socialite and cosmopolitan who had studied under Auguste Rodin[45] and whose circle included Isadora Duncan, Pablo Picasso and Aleister Crowley.[46] HP Mini 210-1106EV Keyboard

Her initial meeting with Scott was brief, but when they met again later that year, the mutual attraction was obvious. A stormy courtship followed; Scott was not her only suitor—his main rival was would-be novelist Gilbert Cannan—and his absences at sea did not assist his cause.[47] HP Mini 210-1106TU Keyboard

However, Scott's persistence was rewarded and, on 2 September 1908, at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, the wedding took place.[48] Their only child, Peter Markham Scott, was born on 14 September 1909.[49] HP Mini 210-1107EV Keyboard

By this time, Scott had announced his plans for his second Antarctic expedition. Shackleton had returned, having narrowly failed to reach the Pole, and this gave Scott the impetus to proceed.[50] On 24 March 1909, he had taken the Admiralty-based appointment of naval assistant to the Second Sea Lord which placed him conveniently in London. HP Mini 210-1107TU Keyboard

In December he was released on half-pay, to take up the full-time command of the British Antarctic Expedition 1910, to be known as theTerra Nova Expedition from its ship, Terra Nova.[51] HP Mini 210-1108TU Keyboard

It was the expressed hope of the RGS that this expedition would be "scientific primarily, with exploration and the Pole as secondary objects"[52] but, unlike the Discovery Expedition, neither they nor the Royal Society were in charge this time. HP Mini 210-1109TU Keyboard

In his expedition prospectus, Scott stated that its main objective was "to reach the South Pole, and to secure for the British Empire the honour of this achievement".[52][53] Scott had, as Markham observed, been "bitten by the Pole mania".[52] HP Mini 210-1110EE Keyboard

Scott did not know that he would be in a race until he received Amundsen's telegram in Melbourne, in October 1910.[54]Before this, he had set about fashioning the expedition according to his own preferences, without the restraints of a joint committee. HP Mini 210-1110EJ Keyboard

So far as transport was concerned, he decided that dogs would be one element in a complex strategy that also involved horses and motor sledges, and much man-hauling. Scott knew nothing of horses, but felt that as they had seemingly served Shackleton well, he ought to use them.[55]HP Mini 210-1110EM Keyboard

Dog expert Cecil Meares was going to Siberia to select the dogs, and Scott ordered that, while he was there, he should deal with the purchase of Manchurian ponies. Meares was not an experienced horse-dealer, and the ponies he chose proved mostly of poor quality, HP Mini 210-1110EQ Keyboard

and ill-suited to prolonged Antarctic work.[32] Meanwhile, Scott spent time in France and Norway, testing motor-sledges, and recruited Bernard Day, from Shackleton's expedition, as his motor expert.[56] HP Mini 210-1110ET Keyboard

The expedition itself suffered a series of early misfortunes, which hampered the first season's work and impaired preparations for the main polar march. On its journey from New Zealand to the Antarctic, Terra Nova was trapped in pack icefor 20 days,[57]HP Mini 210-1110EZ Keyboard

far longer than other ships had experienced, which meant a late-season arrival and less time for preparatory work before the Antarctic winter. One of the motor sledges was lost during its unloading from the ship, disappearing through the sea ice.[58] Deteriorating weather conditions and weak, HP Mini 210-1110SB Keyboard

unacclimatised ponies affected the initial depot-laying journey, so that the expedition's main supply point, One Ton Depot, was laid 35 miles (56 km) north of its planned location at 80° S.Lawrence Oates, in charge of the ponies, advised Scott to kill ponies for food and advance the depot to 80° S, HP Mini 210-1110SF Keyboard

which Scott refused to do. Oates is reported as saying to Scott, "Sir, I’m afraid you’ll come to regret not taking my advice."[59] Six ponies died during this journey either from the cold or because they slowed the team down so they were shot. On its return to base, HP Mini 210-1110SG Keyboard

the expedition learned of the presence of Amundsen, camped with his crew and a large contingent of dogs in the Bay of Whales, 200 miles (320 km) to their east.[60] HP Mini 210-1110SI Keyboard

Scott refused to amend his schedule to deal with the Amundsen threat, writing, "The proper, as well as the wiser course, is for us to proceed exactly as though this had not happened".[60] While acknowledging that the Norwegian's base was closer to the pole and that his experience as a dog driver was formidable, HP Mini 210-1110SO Keyboard

Scott had the advantage of travelling over a known route pioneered by Shackleton. During the 1911 winter his confidence increased; On 2 August, after the return of a three-man party from their winter journey to Cape Crozier, Scott wrote, "I feel sure we are as near perfection as experience can direct".[61] HP Mini 210-1110SS Keyboard

Journey to the Pole

The march south began on 1 November 1911, a caravan of mixed transport groups (motors, dogs, horses), with loaded sledges, travelling at different rates, all designed to support a final group of four men who would make a dash for the Pole. Scott had earlier outlined his plans for the southern journey to the entire shore party,[62]HP Mini 210-1110SW Keyboard

without being specific about precise roles – no one knew who would form the final polar team. During the journey, Scott sent a series of conflicting orders back to base concerning the future use of the expedition's dogs, leaving it unclear whether they were to be saved for future scientific journeys or were to assist the polar party home.[63]HP Mini 210-1110TU Keyboard

Scott's subordinates back at base were unsure of Scott's intentions, and consequently failed to use the dogs in a concerted attempt to relieve the returning polar party when the need arose.[64] HP Mini 210-1111EE Keyboard

The southbound party steadily reduced in size as successive support teams turned back. By 4 January 1912, the last two four-man groups had reached 87° 34′ S.[65] Scott announced his decision: five men (Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, HP Mini 210-1111EI Keyboard

Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans) would go forward, the other three (Teddy Evans, William Lashly and Tom Crean) would return. The chosen group marched on, reaching the Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that Amundsen had preceded them by five weeks. Scott's anguish is indicated in his diary: "The worst has happened"; "All the day dreams must go"; "Great God! This is an awful place".[66] HP Mini 210-1111EK Keyboard

The deflated party began the 800-mile (1,300 km) return journey on 19 January. "I'm afraid the return journey is going to be dreadfully tiring and monotonous", wrote Scott on the next day.[67] However, the party made good progress despite poor weather, and had completed the Polar Plateau stage of their journey, HP Mini 210-1111SF Keyboard

approximately 300 miles (500 km), by 7 February. In the following days, as the party made the 100-mile (160 km) descent of the Beardmore Glacier, the physical condition of Edgar Evans, which Scott had noted with concern as early as 23 January, declined sharply.[68] A fall on 4 February had left Evans "dull and incapable",[69] and on 17 February, after a further fall, he died near the glacier foot.[70] HP Mini 210-1111SG Keyboard

With 400 miles (670 km) still to travel across the Ross Ice Shelf, the party's prospects steadily worsened as, with deteriorating weather, frostbite, snow blindness, hunger and exhaustion, they struggled northward.[71] On 16 March, Oates, whose condition was aggravated by an old war-wound to the extent that he was barely able to walk,[72] HP Mini 210-1111SI Keyboard

voluntarily left the tent and walked to his death.[73] Scott wrote that Oates' last words were "I am just going outside and may be some time".HP Mini 210-1111SO Keyboard

After walking a further 20 miles, the three remaining men made their final camp on 19 March, 11 miles (18 km) short of One Ton Depot, but 24 miles (38 km) beyond the original intended location of the depot. The next day a fierce blizzard prevented their making any progress.[75] HP Mini 210-1111TU Keyboard

During the next nine days, as their supplies ran out, with frozen fingers, little light, and storms still raging outside the tent, Scott wrote his final words, although he gave up his diary after 23 March, save for a final entry on 29 March, with its concluding words: "Last entry. HP Mini 210-1112EE Keyboard

For God's sake look after our people".[76] He left letters to Wilson's mother, Bowers' mother, a string of notables including his former commander Sir George Egerton, his own mother and his wife.[77] He also wrote his "Message To The Public", HP Mini 210-1112EI Keyboard

primarily a defence of the expedition's organisation and conduct in which the party's failure is attributed to weather and other misfortunes, but ending on an inspirational note, with these words: HP Mini 210-1112SF Keyboard

The bodies of Scott and his companions were discovered by a search party on 12 November 1912 and their records retrieved. Their final camp became their tomb; a high cairn of snow was erected over it, topped by a roughly fashioned cross.[80HP Mini 210-1112SG Keyboard

]In January 1913, before Terra Nova left for home, a large wooden cross was made by the ship's carpenters, inscribed with the names of the lost party and Tennyson's line from his poem Ulysses: "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield", and was erected as a permanent memorial on Observation Hill, overlooking Hut Point.[81] HP Mini 210-1112SI Keyboard

The world was informed of the tragedy when Terra Nova reached Oamaru, New Zealand, on 10 February 1913.[82] Within days, Scott became a national icon.[83] A fierce nationalistic spirit was aroused; the London Evening News called for the story to be read to schoolchildren throughout the land,[84]HP Mini 210-1112SO Keyboard

to coincide with the memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral on 14 February. Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts Association, asked: "Are Britons going downhill? No! ... There is plenty of pluck and spirit left in the British after all. Captain Scott and Captain Oates have shown us that".[85] Eleven-year-old Mary Steel wrote a poem which ended: HP Mini 210-1112TU Keyboard

The survivors of the expedition were suitably honoured on their return, with polar medals and promotions for the naval personnel. In place of the knighthood that might have been her husband's had he survived, Kathleen Scott was granted the rank and precedence of a widow of a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.[87][88] HP Mini 210-1113EE Keyboard

In 1922, she married Edward Hilton Young, later Lord Kennet (she becoming Lady Kennet), and remained a doughty defender of Scott's reputation until her death, aged 69, in 1947.[89] HP Mini 210-1113EF Keyboard

An article in The Times, reporting on the glowing tributes paid to Scott in the New York press, claimed that both Amundsen and Shackleton were "[amazed] to hear that such a disaster could overtake a well-organized expedition".[90] On learning the details of Scott's death, Amundsen is reported as saying, HP Mini 210-1113EI Keyboard

"I would gladly forgo any honour or money if thereby I could have saved Scott his terrible death".[91] Scott was much the better wordsmith of the two, and the story that spread throughout the world was largely that told by him, with Amundsen's victory reduced in the eyes of many to an unsporting stratagem.[92HP Mini 210-1113EK Keyboard

]Even before Scott's death was known, Amundsen had been offended by what he felt was a "sneering toast"' from RGS President Lord Curzon, at a meeting held supposedly to honour the polar victor. Curzon had called for "three cheers for the dogs". According to Huntford's account, this slight caused Amundsen to resign his honorary RGS fellowship.[93][94] HP Mini 210-1113SF Keyboard

The response to Scott's final plea on behalf of the dependents of the dead was enormous by the standards of the day. The Mansion House Scott Memorial Fund closed at £75,000 (2009 approximation £5.5 million). This was not equally distributed; Scott's widow, son, mother and sisters received a total of £18,000 (£1.3 million). HP Mini 210-1113SG Keyboard

Wilson's widow got £8,500 (£600,000) and Bowers's mother £4,500 (£330,000). Edgar Evans's widow, children and mother received £1,500 (£109,000) between them.[95][96] HP Mini 210-1113SI Keyboard

In the dozen years following the disaster, more than 30 monuments and memorials were set up in Britain alone. These ranged from simple relics (Scott's sledging flag in Exeter Cathedral) to the foundation of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge. Many more were established in other parts of the world, including a statue crafted by his widow for his New Zealand base in Christchurch.[97][98] HP Mini 210-1113TU Keyboard

A century of storms and snow have covered the cairn and tent, which are now encased in the Ross Ice Shelf as it inches towards the Ross Sea. HP Mini 210-1114SG Keyboard

In 2001 glaciologist Charles R. Bentley estimated that the tent with the bodies was under about 75 feet (23 m) of ice and about 30 miles (48 km) from the point where they died; he speculated that in about 275 years the bodies would reach the Ross Sea, and perhaps float away inside an iceberg.[99] HP Mini 210-1114EE Keyboard

Modern reaction

Scott's reputation survived the period after World War II, beyond the 50th anniversary of his death.[100] In 1966, Reginald Pound, the first biographer given access to Scott's original sledging journal, revealed personal failings which cast a new light on Scott,[100]HP Mini 210-1114SO Keyboard

although Pound continued to endorse his heroism, writing of "a splendid sanity that would not be subdued".[101] Within the following decade, further books appeared, each of which to some degree challenged the prevailing public perception. The most critical of these was David Thomson's Scott's Men (1977); HP Mini 210-1114TU Keyboard

in Thomson's view, Scott was not a great man, "at least, not until near the end";[102] his planning is described as "haphazard" and "flawed",[103] his leadership characterised by lack of foresight.[104] Thus by the late 1970s, in Jones's words, "Scott's complex personality had been revealed and his methods questioned".[100] HP Mini 210-1115SF Keyboard

In 1979 came the most sustained attack on Scott, from Roland Huntford's dual biography Scott and Amundsen in which Scott is depicted as a "heroic bungler".[105] Huntford's thesis had an immediate impact, becoming the new orthodoxy.[106]HP Mini 210-1116EF Keyboard

Even Scott's heroism in the face of death is challenged; Huntford sees Scott's Message to the Public as a deceitful self-justification from a man who had led his comrades to their deaths.[100]HP Mini 210-1115SO Keyboard

After Huntford's book, debunking Captain Scott became commonplace; Francis Spufford, in a 1996 history not wholly antagonistic to Scott, refers to "devastating evidence of bungling",[107] concluding that "Scott doomed his companions, then covered his tracks with rhetoric".[108]HP Mini 210-1116TU Keyboard

Travel writer Paul Theroux summarised Scott as "confused and demoralised ... an enigma to his men, unprepared and a bungler".[109] HP Mini 210-1120SI Keyboard

This decline in Scott's reputation was accompanied by a corresponding rise in that of his erstwhile rival Shackleton, at first in the United States but eventually in Britain as well.[110]HP Mini 210-1117TU Keyboard

A 2002 nationwide poll in the United Kingdom to discover the "100 Greatest Britons" showed Shackleton in eleventh place, Scott well down the list at 54th.[110]<

/sup> HP Mini 210-1118EF Keyboard

The early years of the 21st century have seen a shift of opinion in Scott's favour, in what cultural historian Stephanie Barczewski calls "a revision of the revisionist view".[111]HP Mini 210-1118TU Keyboard

Meteorologist Susan Solomon's 2001 account The Coldest March ties the fate of Scott's party to the extraordinarily adverse Barrier weather conditions of February and March 1912 rather than to personal or organizational failings, HP Mini 210-1118SF Keyboard

although Solomon accepts the validity of some of the criticisms of Scott.[112] In 2004 polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes published a biography which was a strong defence of Scott and an equally forthright rebuttal of Huntford; the book is dedicated "To the Families of the Defamed Dead".[111][113]HP Mini 210-1119TU Keyboard

Fiennes was later criticised by the reviewer of another book for the personal nature of his attacks on Huntford, and for his apparent assumption that his own experiences as a polar explorer gave him unique authority.[114] HP Mini 210-1120EJ Keyboard

In 2005 David Crane published a new Scott biography which, HP Mini 210-1120SB Keyboard

according to Barczewski, goes some way towards an assessment of Scott "free from the baggage of earlier interpretations".[111] What has happened to Scott's reputation, Crane argues, derives from the way the world has changed since the heroic myth was formed: HP Mini 210-1120EK Keyboard

"It is not that we see him differently from the way they [his contemporaries] did, but that we see him the same, and instinctively do not like it."[115] Crane's main achievement, according to Barczewski, is the restoration of Scott's humanity, "far more effectively than either Fiennes's stridency or Solomon's scientific data."[111] HP Mini 210-1120EQ Keyboard

Daily Telegraph columnist Jasper Rees, likening the changes in explorers' reputations to climatic variations, suggests that "in the current Antarctic weather report, Scott is enjoying his first spell in the sun for twenty-five years".[116]The New York Times Book Review was more critical, HP Mini 210-1120ER Keyboard

pointing out Crane's support for Scott's discredited claims regarding the circumstances of the freeing of the Discovery from the pack ice, and concluded "For all the many attractions of his book, David Crane offers no answers that convincingly exonerate Scott from a significant share of responsibility for his own demise."[114] HP Mini 210-1120EZ Keyboard

Restructuring in 1815

In 1815, with the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Prince Regent (later George IV) expanded the Order of the Bath "to the end that those Officers who have had the opportunities of signalising themselves by eminent services during the late war may share in the honours of the said Order, and that their names may be delivered down to remote posterity, accompanied by the marks of distinction which they have so nobly earned."[11] HP Mini 210-1060EV Keyboard

The Order was now to consist of three classes: Knights Grand Cross, Knights Commander, and Companions. The existing Knights Companion (of which there were 60)[42] became Knight Grand Cross; this class was limited to 72 members, of which twelve could be appointed for civil or diplomatic services. HP Mini 210-1060SD Keyboard

The military members had to be of the rank of at least Major-General or Rear Admiral. The Knights Commander were limited to 180, exclusive of foreign nationals holding British commissions, up to ten of whom could be appointed as honorary Knights Commander. HP Mini 210-1060SF Keyboard

They had to be of the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel or Post-Captain. The number of Companions was not specified, but they had to have received a medal or been mentioned in despatches since the start of the war in 1803. A list of about 500 names was subsequently published.[43]HP Mini 210-1060SS Keyboard

Two further officers were appointed, an "Officer of arms attendant on the Knights Commanders and Companions", and a "Secretary appertaining to the Knights Commanders and Companions"[11] The large increase in numbers caused some complaints that such an expansion would reduce the prestige of the Order.[12] HP Mini 210-1060SV Keyboard

In 1847 Queen Victoria issued new statutes eliminating all references to an exclusively military Order. As well as removing the word 'Military' from the full name of the Order, this opened up the grades of Knight Commander and Companion to civil appointments, and the Military and Civil Divisions of the Order were established. HP Mini 210-1060TU Keyboard

New numerical limits were imposed, and the opportunity also taken to regularise the 1815 expansion of the Order.[44][45] The 1847 statutes also abolished all the medieval ritual, however they did introduce a formal Investiture ceremony, conducted by the Sovereign wearing the Mantle and insignia of the Order, attended by the Officers and as many GCBs as possible, in their Mantles.[46] HP Mini 210-1061TU Keyboard

In 1859 a further edition of the Statutes was issued; the changes related mainly to the costs associated with the Order. Prior to this date it had been the policy that the insignia (which were provided by the Crown) were to be returned on the death of the holder; the exception had been foreigners who had been awarded honorary membership. HP Mini 210-1062BR Keyboard

In addition foreigners had usually been provided with stars made of silver and diamonds, whereas ordinary members had only embroidered stars. The decision was made to award silver stars to all members, and only require the return of the Collar. HP Mini 210-1062TU Keyboard

The Crown had also been paying the fees due to the officers of the Order for members who had been appointed for the services in the recent war. The fees were abolished and replaced with a salary of approximately the same average value. The offices of Genealogist and Messenger were abolished, and those of Registrar and Secretary combined.[47] HP Mini 210-1063TU Keyboard

In 1910, after his accession to the throne, George V ordered the revival of the Installation ceremony,[21] perhaps prompted by the first Installation ceremony of the more junior Order of St Michael and St George, held a few years earlier,[48]HP Mini 210-1064TU Keyboard

and the building of a new chapel for the Order of the Thistle in 1911.[49] The Installation ceremony took place on 22 July 1913 in the Henry VII Chapel,[50][51] and Installations have been held at regular intervals since. HP Mini 210-1065TU Keyboard

Prior to the 1913 Installation it was necessary to adapt the chapel to accommodate the larger number of members. An appeal was made to the members of the Order, and following the Installation a surplus remained. A Committee was formed from the Officers to administer the 'Bath Chapel Fund', and over time this committee has come to consider other matters than purely financial ones.[52] HP Mini 210-1066SB Keyboard

Another revision of the statutes of the Order was undertaken in 1925, to consolidate the 41 additional statutes which had been issued since the 1859 revision.[53] HP Mini 210-1066TU Keyboard

Women were admitted to the Order in 1971.[21] In 1975, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, an aunt of Elizabeth II, became the first (and to date only woman) to reach the highest rank, Dame Grand Cross.[21] Princess Alice (née Douglas-Montagu-Scott) was a direct descendant of the Order's first Great Master,[54] and her husband, who had died the previous year, had also held that office. HP Mini 210-1067SF Keyboard

Regular membership is limited to citizens of the United Kingdom and of other Commonwealth countries of which the Queen is Sovereign. Appointees are usually officers of the armed forces or senior civil servants, such as permanent secretaries.[12] HP Mini 210-1068TU Keyboard

ties have merited ... royal favour."[67] Appointments to the Military Division are restricted by the rank of the individual. GCBs must hold the rank of Rear Admiral, Major General or Air Vice Marshal.[14] KCBs must hold the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy, Colonel in the Army or Royal Marines, HP Mini 210-1070BR Keyboard

or Group Captain in the Royal Air Force.[68] CBs must be of the rank ofLieutenant Commander, Major or Squadron Leader, and in addition must have been mentioned in despatches for distinction in a command position in a combat situation. Non-line officers (e.g. engineers, medics) may be appointed only for meritorious service in war time.[69] HP Mini 210-1070CA Keyboard

Commonwealth citizens not subjects of the Queen and foreigners may be made Honorary Members.[70] H.M. Queen Elizabeth II has established the custom of awarding an honorary GCB to visiting heads of state, for example Gustav Heinemann, HP Mini 210-1070ED Keyboard

and Josip Broz Tito (in 1972),[71] Ronald Reagan (in 1989), Lech Wałęsa (in 1991),[21] Dr. Censu Tabone, President of Malta, in 1992, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, George H. W. Bush (in 1993),[72] Nicolas Sarkozy in March 2008,[73] Turkish PresidentAbdullah Gül,[74] HP Mini 210-1070EF Keyboard

Slovenian President Dr Danilo Türk[75] Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and South African President Jacob Zuma.[76]Foreign generals are also often given honorary appointments to the Order, for example: Marshal Ferdinand Foch and Marshal Joseph Joffreduring World War I; Marshal Georgy Zhukov,[77] HP Mini 210-1070EM Keyboard

King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, General Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur during World War II;[78] and General Norman Schwarzkopf[79]and General Colin Powell[80] after the Gulf War. A more controversial member of the Order was Robert Mugabe, HP Mini 210-1070LA Keyboard

whose honour was stripped by the Queen, on the advice of the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, on 25 June 2008 as "as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided."[81] HP Mini 210-1070NR Keyboard

The office of Dean is held by the Dean of Westminster. The King of Arms, responsible for heraldry, is known as the Bath King of Arms; he is not, however, a member of the College of Arms, like many heralds. The Order's Usher is known as the Gentleman Usher of the Scarlet Rod; he does not, unlike his Order of the Garter equivalent (the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod) perform any duties in the House of Lords. HP Mini 210-1070SF Keyboard

There were originally seven officers, each of whom was to receive fees from the Knights Companion both on appointment and annually thereafter. The office of Messenger was abolished in 1859.[47] The office of Genealogist was abolished at the same time, but revived in 1913.[88]HP Mini 210-1071CA Keyboard

The offices of Registrar and Secretary were formally merged in 1859, although the two positions had been held concurrently for the previous century.[89] An Officer of Arms and a Secretary for the Knights Commander and Companions were established in 1815,[11] but abolished in 1847.[90] The office of Deputy Secretary was created in 1925. HP Mini 210-1071TU Keyboard

Under the Hanoverian kings certain of the officers also held heraldic office. The office of Blanc Coursier Herald of Arms was attached to that of the Genealogist, Brunswick Herald of Arms to the Gentleman Usher, HP Mini 210-1072TU Keyboard

and Bath King of Arms was also made Gloucester King of Arms with heraldic jurisdiction over Wales.[91] This was the result of a move by Anstis to give the holders of these sinecures greater security; the offices of the Order of the Bath were held at the pleasure of the Great Master, while appointments to the heraldic offices were made by the King under the Great Seal and were for life.[92] HP Mini 210-1073TU Keyboard

Vestments and accoutrements

Members of the Order wear elaborate costumes on important occasions (such as its quadrennial installation ceremonies and coronations), which vary by rank: HP Mini 210-1074TU Keyboard

The mantle, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of crimson satin lined with white taffeta. On the left side is a representation of the star (see below). The mantle is bound with two large tassels.[93] HP Mini 210-1075CA Keyboard

The hat, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commander, is made of black velvet; it includes an upright plume of feathers.[94] HP Mini 210-1076NR Keyboard

The collar, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of gold and weighs 30 troy ounces (933 g). It consists of depictions of nine imperial crowns and eight sets of flowers (roses for England, thistles for Scotland and shamrocks for Ireland), connected by seventeen silver knots.[93] HP Mini 210-1075TU Keyboard

On lesser occasions, simpler insignia are used: The star is used only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commander. Its style varies by rank and division; it is worn pinned to the left breast: HP Mini 210-1076TU Keyboard

The star for military Knights and Dames Grand Cross consists of a Maltese Cross on top of an eight-pointed silver star; the star for military Knights and Dames Commander is an eight-pointed silver cross pattée. Each bears in the centre three crowns surrounded by a red ring bearing the motto of the Order in gold letters. HP Mini 210-1077CA Keyboard

The circle is flanked by two laurel branches and is above a scroll bearing the words Ich dien (older German for "I serve") in gold letters.[93] HP Mini 210-1077NR Keyboard

The star for civil Knights and Dames Grand Cross consists of an eight-pointed silver star,without the Maltese cross; the star for civil Knights and Dames Commander is an eight-pointed silver cross pattée. The design of each is the same as the design of the military stars, except that the laurel branches and the words Ich dien are excluded.[93] HP Mini 210-1077TU Keyboard

The badge varies in design, size and manner of wearing by rank and division. The Knight and Dame Grand Cross' badge is larger than the Knight and Dame Commander's badge, which is in turn larger than the Companion's badge;[95] however, these are all suspended on a crimson ribbon. HP Mini 210-1079CA Keyboard

Knights and Dames Grand Cross wear the badge on a riband or sash, passing from the right shoulder to the left hip.[93] Knights Commander and male Companions wear the badge from a ribbon worn around the neck. Dames Commander and female Companions wear the badge from a bow on the left side: HP Mini 210-1079NR Keyboard

The military badge is a gold Maltese Cross of eight points, enamelled in white. Each point of the cross is decorated by a small gold ball; each angle has a small figure of a lion. The centre of the cross bears three crowns on the obverse side, and a rose, a thistle and a shamrock, HP Mini 210-1080CA Keyboard

emanating from a sceptre on the reverse side. Both emblems are surrounded by a red circular ring bearing the motto of the Order, which are in turn flanked by two laurel branches, above a scroll bearing the words Ich dien in gold letters.[93] HP Mini 210-1080EF Keyboard

The civil badge is a plain gold oval, bearing three crowns on the obverse side, and a rose, a thistle and a shamrock, emanating from a sceptre on the reverse side; both emblems are surrounded by a ring bearing the motto of the Order.[93] HP Mini 210-1080NR Keyboard

On certain "collar days" designated by the Sovereign, members attending formal events may wear the Order's collar over their military uniform or eveningwear. When collars are worn (either on collar days or on formal occasions such as coronations), the badge is suspended from the collar.[93] HP Mini 210-1080SF Keyboard

The collars and badges of Knights and Dames Grand Cross are returned to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood upon the decease of their owners. All other insignia may be retained by their owners.[93] HP Mini 210-1081NR Keyboard

The Chapel of the Order is Henry VII Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey.[96] Every four years, an installation ceremony, presided over by the Great Master, and a religious service are held in the Chapel; the Sovereign attends every alternate ceremony. HP Mini 210-1082TU Keyboard

The last such service was in May 2006 and was attended by the Sovereign.[21] The Sovereign and each knight who has been installed is allotted a stall in the choir of the chapel. Since there are a limited number of stalls in the Chapel, only the most senior Knights and Dames Grand Cross are installed. HP Mini 210-1083CA Keyboard

nd similarly for vacancies among civil GCBs.[96] Waits between admission to the Order and installation may be very long; for instance, Marshal of the Air Force Lord Craig of Radley was created a Knight Grand Cross in 1984, but was not installed until 2006.[21] HP Mini 210-1083TU Keyboard

Above each stall, the occupant's heraldic devices are displayed. Perched on the pinnacle of a knight's stall is his helm, decorated with a mantling and topped by his crest. Under English heraldic law, women other than monarchs do not bear helms or crests; instead, the coronet appropriate to the dame's rank (if she is a peer or member of the Royal family) is used.[96] HP Mini 210-1084NR Keyboard

Above the crest or coronet, the knight's or dame's heraldic banner is hung, emblazoned with his or her coat of arms. At a considerably smaller scale, to the back of the stall is affixed a piece of brass (a "stall plate") displaying its occupant's name, arms and date of admission into the Order. HP Mini 210-1084TU Keyboard

Upon the death of a Knight, the banner, helm, mantling and crest (or coronet or crown) are taken down. The stall plates, however, are not removed; rather, they remain permanently affixed somewhere about the stall, so that the stalls of the chapel are festooned with a colourful record of the Order's Knights (and now Dames) throughout history. HP Mini 210-1085NR Keyboard

When the grade of Knight Commander was established in 1815 the regulations specified that they too should have a banner and stall plate affixed in the chapel.[11]HP Mini 210-1085TU Keyboard

This was never implemented (despite some of the KCBs paying the appropriate fees) primarily due to lack of space,[97] although the 1847 statutes allow all three classes to request the erection of a plate in the chapel bearing the member's name, date of nomination, and (for the two higher classes) optionally the coat of arms.[98] HP Mini 210-1087NR Keyboard

Precedence and privileges

Members of the Order of the Bath are assigned positions in the order of precedence.[99] Wives of male members also feature on the order of precedence, as do sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commander; relatives of female members, HP Mini 210-1089TU Keyboard

however, are not assigned any special precedence. Generally, individuals can derive precedence from their fathers or husbands, but not from their mothers or wives. (See order of precedence in England and Wales for the exact positions.) HP Mini 210-1090CA Keyboard

Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commander prefix "Sir," and Dames Grand Cross and Dames Commander prefix "Dame," to their forenames.[100] Wives of Knights may prefix "Lady" to their surnames, but no equivalent privilege exists for husbands of Dames. HP Mini 210-1090EB Keyboard

Such forms are not used by peers and princes, except when the names of the former are written out in their fullest forms. Furthermore, honorary members and clergymen do not receive the accolade of knighthood.

Knights and Dames Grand Cross use the post-nominal "GCB"; Knights Commander use "KCB"; Dames Commander use "DCB"; Companions use "CB".[101] HP Mini 210-1090EF Keyboard

Knights and Dames Grand Cross are also entitled to receive heraldic supporters.[102] Furthermore, they may encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a red circle bearing the motto) with the badge pendant thereto and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter. HP Mini 210-1090NR Keyboard

Knights and Dames Commander and Companions may display the circlet, but not the collar, around their arms. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar or circlet. Members of the Military division may encompass the circlet with "two laurel branches issuant from an escrol azure inscribed Ich dien", as appears on the badge. HP Mini 210-1090SF Keyboard

Members of the Order of the Bath and their children are able to be married in Westminster Abbey in London.[103]

It is possible for membership in the Order to be revoked. Under the 1725 statutes the grounds for this were heresy, high treason, or fleeing from battle out of cowardice. Knights Companion could in such cases be degraded at the next Chapter meeting. HP Mini 210-1090TU Keyboard

It was then the duty of the Gentleman Usher to "pluck down the escocheon [i.e. stallplate] of such knight and spurn it out of the chapel" with "all the usual marks of infamy".[104] Only two people were ever degraded — Lord Cochrane in 1813 and General Sir Eyre Coote in 1816, both for political reasons, HP Mini 210-1091NR Keyboard

rather than any of the grounds given in the statute. Lord Cochrane was subsequently reinstated, but Coote died a few years after his degradation.[105] HP Mini 210-1091TU Keyboard

Under Queen Victoria's 1847 statutes a member "convicted of treason, cowardice, felony, or any infamous crime derogatory to his honour as a knight or gentleman, or accused and does not submit to trial in a reasonable time, shall be degraded from the Order by a special ordinance signed by the sovereign". The Sovereign was to be the sole judge, and also had the power to restore such members.[106] HP Mini 210-1092DX Keyboard

The situation today is that membership may be cancelled or annulled, and the entry in the register erased, by an ordinance signed by the Sovereign and sealed with the seal of the Order, on the recommendation of the appropriate Minister. Such cancellations may be subsequently reversed.[107] HP Mini 210-1092TU KeyboardWilliam Pottinger, a senior civil servant, lost both his Companionship of the Order of the Bath and CVO in 1975 when he was gaoled for corruptly receiving gifts from the architect John Poulson.[108] HP Mini 210-1096TU Keyboard

Romanian president Nicolae Ceauşescu was stripped of his honorary GCB by Queen Elizabeth II on 24 December 1989, the day before his execution. HP Mini 210-1094NR Keyboard

Dr. Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, was stripped of his honorary GCB by the Queen, on the advice of the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, on 25 June 2008 "as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided." HP Mini 210-1095CA Keyboard

HP Mini 210-1095NR Keyboard

HP Mini 210-1095TU Keyboard

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