March 16 or 17, 1912: Titus Oates–“I may be some time. . . .”

–from Robert F. Scott’s sledging diary–

“Friday, March 16 or Saturday 17.–Lost track of dates, but think the last correct.  Tragedy all along the line.  At lunch, the day before yesterday, poor Titus Oates said he couldn’t go on; he proposed that we should leave him in the sleeping-bag.  That we could not do, and we induced him to come on, on the afternoon march.  In spite of its awful nature for him he struggled on and we made a few miles.  At night he was worse and we knew the end had come.

“Should this be found I want these facts recorded.  Oates’ last thoughts were of his Mother, but immediately before he took pride in thinking that his regiment would be pleased with the bold way in which he met his death.  We can testify to his bravery.  He has borne intense suffering for weeks without complaint, and to the very last was able and willing to discuss outside subjects.  He did not–would not–give up hope till the very end.  He was a brave soul.  This was the end.  He slept through the night before last, hoping not to wake; but he woke in the morning–yesterday.  It was blowing a blizzard.  He said, ‘I am just going outside and may be some time.’  He went out into the blizzard and we have not seen him since.”

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