–from Frank Debenham’s diary, published as “The quiet Land”–
“On the 26th they [Atkinson’s party to relieve Campbell’s northern party] got back to Hut Pt as reported by signal (blue lights) but we don’t know whether Campbell’s party are wit them or not.
“No other signals have come and hope has gradually died. I can’t realise it at all.
“The facts appear to be these, as far as I can get hold of them. At Lat. 87.30′ or thereabouts, the Owner decided that the last supporting party should turn back and the Pole party continued unaided for their enormous march, 160 miles to the Pole and 800 miles back.
“The only two of the party who seemed at all out of health were Teddy Evans and Birdie. The Owner therefore first decided that they two with Lashly and Crean should go back. Subsequently he altered his mind and decide the Pole party should be five and Birdie continued. They had plenty of food for the trip to the Pole and back to their 1st depot.
“In fact they must have reached to Pole.
“Now as to times. The extra 160 miles there and back would take them on their marching records, about 3 or 4 weeks. Therefore they should have been just that amount of time behind Teddy Evans’ party of three. As a matter of fact they should have gained on them for they were 5 and Teddy as we know, crocked up altogether at the last. . . .
“So it seems useless to hope any longer but whilst I cannot give up yet, we must face the fact that we have lost our 5 strongest men, and four of them seniors and born leaders.”