Robert Falcon Scott - Commander R.N.
(1868-1912) - Biographical notes

Expedition leader - Discovery 1901-04
Expedition leader Terra Nova 1910-13


Edgar Evans
Born into a fairly well to do family in Devon, England, Scott began his naval career in 1881 at the age of 13. His father later sold the brewery he owned, the source of the family income, lost the capital in unwise investments and subsequently died in 1897. Scott's brother died in 1898, at which point his mother and two unmarried sisters became dependent on his naval pay alone, promotion and extra income became a priority.

A chance encounter with Sir Clements Markham in 1899 led to Scott being offered the command of the Discovery Expedition to Antarctica. He had no polar experience and no real interest beyond the promotion it represented, though the expedition was deemed a great success in both exploration and scientific research, he became a popular hero on his return in 1904.

The Terra Nova Expedition was again planned to be a far-ranging scientific and exploratory enterprise with one of the stated aims being to reach the South Pole. What became the "Race to the Pole" with Amundsen was not of Scott's making or planning, his party became the second expedition to reach the South Pole in 1912, all five members perished on the return journey. When the news of the South Polar Party reached the UK they were feted as national heroes of the most noble kind, a memorial service led by the King was held in St. Paul's Cathedral within days. Public subscriptions raised £75,509 (the equivalent of over £6 million today) which paid off the expedition debts, and provided money for the families of the dead men, the remaining sum of £12,000 was given to Cambridge University to found the Scott Polar Research Institute, still a world renowned research facility, polar library and museum.

In later years controversies over Scott's planning, leadership and personality have somewhat overshadowed the extensive wider exploratory and scientific achievements of his two expeditions and of his significant legacy.

6 June 1868 - 29 March 1912


Robert Falcon Scott at his desk
Robert Falcon Scott
At his desk in the Cape Evans hut.

Captain Scott wearing manhauling clothing with a sledge on the 13th of April 1911.

Captain Scott and the Southern Party
Captain Scott and the Southern Party Mount Erebus in the background, Jan 26th 1911
Captain Robert Falcon Scott's last birthday dinner
Captain Robert Falcon Scott's last birthday dinner
l to r: Atkinson, Meares, Oates, Cherry-Garrard, Taylor, Nelson, Evans. Scott, Wilson, Simpson, Bowers, Gran, Wright, Debenham, Day.

shackleton scott wilson
Shackleton, Scott and Wilson An attempt to reach the South Pole during the Discovery expedition.

Captain Scott (centre) and the "depot laying" party, the summer of 1910/11 was spent laying depots, stores of food and fuel left on the ice to be used on the 800-mile journey to and from the pole. l to r: Taylor, Wright, Evans, Bowers, Scott, Debenham, Gran, Evans and Crean.

Antarctica and the Southern Ocean
The South Pole party l to r: Oates, Bowers, Scott, Wilson, Evans.
18th of Jamuary 1912.

19th January 1912, Scott's party reach the pole to find Amundsen's tent already there. Scott writes in his diary: "The worst has happened", "All the day dreams must go".

Landmarks named after Robert Falcon Scott

Feature Name: Scott Coast
Type: beach
Latitude: 76°30´S
Longitude: 162°30´E
Description: That portion of the coast of Victoria Land between Cape Washington and Minna Bluff. Named by NZ-APC in 1961. Much of the early exploration of this coastline was accomplished by Scott and his colleagues, and many of the names in the region were bestowed by him.

Feature Name: Scott Glacier
Type: glacier
Latitude: 66°30´S
Longitude: 100°20´E
Description: Glacier, 7 mi wide and over 20 mi long, flowing NNW to the coast between Cape Hoadley and Grace Rocks. Discovered by the Western Base Party of the AAE (1911-l4) under Mawson.

Feature Name: Scott Glacier
Type: glacier
Latitude: 85°45´S
Longitude: 153°00´W
Description: A major glacier, 120 mi long, originating on the polar plateau in the vicinity of D'Angelo Bluff and Mount Howe, and descending between Nilsen Plateau and the mountains of the Watson Escarpment to enter Ross Ice Shelf just W of Tapley Mountains. Discovered in December 1929 by the ByrdAE geological party under Laurence Gould. Named by US-ACAN.

Feature Name: Scott Icefalls
Type: glacier
Latitude: 85°32´S
Longitude: 170°15´E
Description: Extensive icefalls near the head of Mill Glacier, between Otway Massif and the S part of Dominion Range. Named by the NZGSAE (1961-62).

Feature Name: Scott Island
Type: island
Latitude: 67°24´S
Longitude: 179°55´W
Description: An island, 0.25 mi long and half as wide, lying 315 mi northeastward of Cape Adare, the northeastern extremity of Victoria Land. Discovered in December 1902 by Lt. William Colbeck, RNR, commander of the Morning, relief ship for Capt. Robert F. Scott's expedition. Named by Colbeck.

Feature Name: Scott Seamounts
Type: summit
Latitude: 68°00´S
Longitude: 179°50´W
Description: Seamounts named in association with Scott Island. Name approved 6/88 (ACUF 228).

Feature Name: Scott Mountains
Type: summit
Latitude: 67°30´S
Longitude: 050°30´E
Description: A large number of isolated peaks lying S of Amundsen Bay in Enderby Land. Discovered on Jan. 13, 1930 by BANZARE under Sir Douglas Mawson. He named the feature Scott Range after Capt. Robert F. Scott, RN. The term mountains is considered more appropriate because of the isolation of its individual features.

Feature Name: Scott Nunataks
Type: summit
Latitude: 77°14´S
Longitude: 154°12´W
Description: Conspicuous twin elevations which form the N end of the Alexandra Mountains on Edward VII Peninsula. Discovered in 1902 by the BrNAE under Capt. Robert F. Scott, RN. Named after Scott by Lt. K. Prestrud, leader of the Eastern Sledge Party of Amundsen's Norwegian expedition who ascended the features while exploring Edward VII Peninsula in 1911.

Feature Name: Mount Scott
Type: summit
Elevation: 880
Latitude: 65°09´S
Longitude: 064°03´W
Description: Horseshoe-shaped massif, 880 m, open to the SW with its convex side fronting on Girard Bay and its NW side on Lemaire Channel, on the W coast of Graham Land. Discovered by the BelgAE, 1897-99. Mapped by Dr. Jean B. Charcot, leader of the FrAE, 1908-10.

Variant Name(s) - Massif Scott


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