February 18, 1912: Tom Crean begins his long walk home

–from William Lashly’s diary, quoted in “The Worst Journey in the World”–

“I started to move Mr Evans this morning, but he completely collapsed and fainted away.  Crean was very upset and almost cried, but I told him it was no good to create a scene but put up a bold front and try to assist.  I really think he thought Mr Evans had gone, but we managed to pull him through.  We used the last drop of brandy.  After awhile we got him on the sledge and proceeded as usual, but finding the surface very bad and we are unable to make less than a mile an hour, we stopped and decided to camp.

“We told Mr Evans our plans, which were:  Crean should proceed, it being a splendid day, on foot to Hut Point to obtain relief if possible.  This we had agreed to between ourselves.  I offered to do the Journey and Crean remain behind, but Tom said he woujld much rather I stayed with the invalid and look after him, so I thought it best I should remain, and these plans were agreed to by all of us, so after we camped the next thing was the food problem.

“We had about a day’s provisions with extra biscuit taken from the motor, and a little extra oil taken from the same place, so we gave Crean what he thought he could manage to accomplish the Journey of 30 miles geographical on, which was a little chocolate and biscuits.  We put him up a little drink, but he would not carry it.  What a pity we did not have some ski, but we dumped them to save weight.

“So Crean sailed away in splendid weather for a try to bring relief.”

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