November 12, 1912: A burial on the Barrier

–from Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s account The Worst Journey in the World

“Nearly midday.  11-12 miles south of One Ton.  . . .Then Atkinson read the lesson from the Burial Service from Corinthians.  Perhaps it has never been read in a more magnificent cathedral and under more impressive circumstances–for it is a grave which kings must envy.  Then some prayers from the Burial Service:  and there with the floor-cloth under them and the tent above we buried them in their sleeping bags–and surely their work has not been in vain.

“Midnight, November 12-13.  I cannot think that anything which could be done to give these three great men–for great they were–a fitting grave has been left undone.  A great cairn has been built over them, a mark whihc must last for many years. . . .On this a cross has been fixed, made out of ski.  On either side are the two sledges, fixed upright and dug in. . . .On a bamboo standing by itself is left the record which I have copied into this book, and which has been signed by us all.”

[Copy of the Note left at the Cairn over the Bodies]  “12 November, 1912.  Lat 79-50 ‘S.  This Cross and Cairn are erected over the bodies of Capt. Scott, C.V.O., R.N.; Dr E. A. Wilson, M.B., B.A. Cantab., Lt. H. R. Bowers, Royal Indian Marines.  A slight token to perpetuate their gallant and successful attempt to reach the Pole.  This they did on the 17th January 1912 after the Norwegian expedition had already done so.  Inclement weather and lack of fuel was the cause of their death.

“Also to commemorate their two gallant comrades, Capt. L. E. G. Oates of the Inskilling Dragoons, who walked to his death in a blizzard to save his comrades, about 18 miles south of this position; also of Seaman Edgar Evans, who died at the foot of the Beardmore Blacier.

“The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away.  Blessed by the name of the Lord.

“Relief Expedition.  (Signed by all members of the party.)”


One thought on “November 12, 1912: A burial on the Barrier

  1. Lovely that you wrote Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s words on 12th November 1912 – One hundred years! I made a point of visiting a church that day and lit three candles at about 11.50 in rememberance of some very brave men

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