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4-Who were they?

Scott’s other expedition that we now known as The Northern Party started out as The Eastern Party.  No, they were not victims of magnetic declination being so close to the South Magnetic Pole.  The explanation has more to do with ice conditions and Scott’s rival Amunsden.  Hopefully, it will become clearer as you navigate this story of six brave men.  Campbell, Priestley, Levick, Abbott, Browning, and Dickason abandoned, surviving an Antarctic winter in a snow cave without adequate rations. Then sick, underweight and weak the six formed their own rescue party, man hauled two sledges 230 miles back to Scott’s Main Party at Cape Evans.  This true story of survival was overshadowed by the tragic loss of Scott’s Pole Party then the First World War.  

Scott had made it clear from the start that the primary object of the expedition was to reach the South Pole and to secure 'The British Empire the honour of this achievement'[1].  However, he had also insisted there were other objectives that were as important: exploration of King Edward VII Land and Victoria Land areas.  All explorations needed the associated studies in the meteorology, snow, and ice, and a better understanding of the ice shelf.  Because of the uniqueness of the area, Scott also wanted to take the opportunity for some groundbreaking science in terrestrial magnetism, geology, biology, and zoology.  Basically, in this 1911 expedition Scott wanted to encourage exploration in areas other than just the Southern Polar route and to operate an unprecedented scientific program.

 In the time of raising money and preparing for Scott's second trip to the Antarctic, there were a lot of politicking, name-callings and general unpleasantness.  Suffice it to say that many people had aspirations in the Antarctic.  Some players, especially Shackleton and Mawson had unintentional influences on Scott helping him complete plans that would create and influence the Eastern Party greatly.

Scott spoke to the Royal Geographical Society[2] defining the Eastern Party and its role in exploring King Edward VII Land.  He pointed out the difficulties of a small party of six men over wintering 'in one of the most inhospitable parts of the Antarctic regions'.  He expanded on the difficulties and went on to say that the Terra Nova would then sail to Cape Adare and follow the coast to the west.  All this later appeared in a letter of instruction to Campbell before the Eastern Party’s departure (see appendix-1).

Victor Campbell was appointed the leader of the Eastern Party and during the early part of the Terra Nova's passage Murray Levick was brought into the team.  The geologist (Priestley) had to wait until they arrived in Australia before being selected for the team.  During the Simonstown and Melbourne sector, Campbell, after observing the crew added Abbott, Browning, and Dickason to the team[3].  This astutely selected group lived and worked together, sometimes under shocking conditions, for nearly two years and survived.

[1] Reginald Pound, Scott of the Antarctic (WORLD BOOKS, 1966), 170.

[2] Meredith Hooper, The Longest Winter: Scott’s Other Heroes (John Murray, 2010), 26.

[3] Ibid., 38.


Subpages (3): Who-p2 Who-p3 Who-p4