Edward Ratcliffe Garth Russell "Teddy" Evans
Navigator and Second in Command
Captain of the Terra Nova - Lieutenant, R.N.
(1880 - 1957) - Biographical notes

Second Officer - Morning 1902-04
First Officer - Lieutenant, R.N. - Terra Nova 1910-13


Edward Evans

Edward Evans - Teddy
28th October 1880 - 20th August 1957

Born in London, the son of a barrister into a respectable middle class family, though as a young child along with his two brothers frequently misbehaved to the point where for a time he was sent to a school for "troublesome boys".

He attempted to enter the Royal Navy as a cadet but was turned down, success at a training ship mainly for the merchant navy eventually won him a place as a midshipman on HMS Hawke. He had met Scott on HMS Majestic, after Scott's Discovery expedition had sailed, Evans  read about a relief ship the "Morning" which was to be sent a year later in 1902, after writing to and then meeting Sir Clements Markham, Evans was seconded from the navy to be Second Officer on the Morning. Evans made two trips from New Zealand to Antarctica on the Morning spending the austral winter in between in New Zealand on a British navy ship stationed there. He considered applying to Shackleton's Nimrod expedition but thought it important for his career to remain in the navy.

In 1909 he started planning his own expedition to Antarctica with Markham's support, though on hearing of Scott's new expedition, he abandoned his own plans and was appointed second-in-command of the expedition and Captain of the Terra Nova. Scott named the first landing site on Ross Island, Cape Evans in his honour and Evans joined the shore party leaving the Terra Nova under the command of Pennell.

Evans was involved in depot laying in advance for the polar party and after the winter was in charge of the four man "Motor Party", the first to set out as part of the South Pole attempt, their task was to carry and depot more supplies. The motor sledges were not successful being unreliable at best, the first broke down completely after five days followed by the other one a day later leading to a rearrangement of loads onto a single sledge and manhauling at about the same speed as before. Evans was in the last group to be turned back 160 miles from the pole after not being selected for the final Pole Party, by this time, he and Lashly had pulled loaded sledges for 600 miles in over 2 months, they set off back to base along with Tom Crean.

The journey back was difficult for Evans, he developed snow blindness and began to show the signs of scurvy, he was weakened and in pain, after two weeks he was being pulled on the sledge by his companions Lashly and Crean. Evans was the only one to suffer from scurvy to the degree that he did, the cause probably being that he avoided eating seal meat through the winter especially the liver because he didn't like it, and so didn't get the supplies of vitamin C that those who ate it did.

On the 13th of February 1912 an event occurred which Evans later referred to as:

    "the first and last time my orders as a naval officer were disobeyed"

This was when he tried to order his companions to leave him behind as he was unable to walk any further. A blizzard stopped them four days later, 35 miles from the hut. Lashly stayed with Evans while Crean walked for 18 hours until he met with Atkinson, Girev and their dogs at hut Point. They set out with the dogs sleds and retrieved Evans and Lashly when the weather improved, Evans was close to death, and was carefully taken back to the hut. He was placed on the Terra Nova and remained bedridden until April when the ship reached New Zealand. He initially returned to England, before going back to New Zealand to command the Terra Nova on her final relief journey to Antarctica. When he learned of Scott's death on January 13th 1913, he assumed command of the expedition and arranged the final departure from the continent. On return to England Tom Crean was awarded promotion and the Polar and Albert medals for his part in the expedition and for saving Evans' life.

After the expedition, Evans returned to the Royal Navy serving with distinction and receiving promotion and the Distinguished Service Order in WW1, he became the Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Squadron in 1928 and a full admiral in 1936. He served in the Norwegian Campaign at the start of the Second World War before retiring at the age of 60 in 1941. He became a peer in 1945 as Baron Mountevans amongst the many honours and awards he was given from a number of countries in his lifetime, he died in Norway in 1957. He took the name Baron Mountevans from Mount Evans in Antarctica named for him by Robert Scott on the 1901-04 British National Antarctic Expedition on the Discovery.


Edward Evans observing an occultation of Jupiter
Edward Evans observing an occultation of Jupiter, June 8th 1911
Edward Evans with sledging theodolite

Edward Evans with sledging theodolite

evans plotting charts
Evans plotting charts


References to Edward Evans by Cherry-Garrard in "The Worst Journey in the World"

  • The hardest journey of this year was carried out by Scott with two seamen of whom much will be written in this history. Their names are Edgar Evans and Lashly. The object of the journey was to explore westwards into the interior of the plateau. By way of the Ferrar Glacier they reached the ice-cap after considerable troubles, not the least of which was the loss of the data necessary for navigation contained in an excellent publication called Hints to Travellers, which was blown away. Then for the first time it was seen what additional difficulties are created by the climate and position of this lofty plateau, which we now know extends over the Pole and probably reaches over the greater part of the Antarctic continent.

  • The man-hauling party consisted of Lieut. Evans and Lashly who had lost their motors, and Atkinson and Wright who had lost their ponies. They were really quite hungry by now, and most of us pretty well looked forward to our meals and kept a biscuit to eat in our bags if we could. The pony meat therefore came as a relief. I think we ought to have depoted more of it on the cairns. As it was, what we did not eat was given to the dogs. With some tins of extra oil and a depoted pony the Polar Party would probably have got home in safety.

  • Lieutenant Evans and Lashly, had been man-hauling since the breakdown of the second motor on November 1. They had man-hauled four hundred statute miles farther than the rest.

  • At 3.30 a.m. on February 19 Crean arrived with the astounding news that Lieutenant Evans, still alive but at his last gasp, was lying out near Corner Camp, and that Lashly was nursing him; that the Last Supporting Party had consisted of three men only, a possibility which had never been considered; and that they had left Scott, travelling rapidly and making good averages, only 148 geographical miles from the Pole. Scott was so well advanced that it seemed that he would be home much earlier than had been anticipated.

  • It was clear that Atkinson, being the only doctor available, would have to stay with Evans, who was very seriously ill: indeed Atkinson told me that another day, or at the most two, would have finished him. In fact he says that when he first saw him he thought he must die.

  • "Are you all well," through a megaphone from the bridge.

    "The Polar Party died on their return from the Pole: we have their records." A pause and then a boat.

    Evans, who had been to England and made a good recovery from scurvy, was in command: with him were Pennell, Rennick, Bruce, Lillie and Drake. They reported having had a very big gale indeed on their way home last year.

 

References to Edward Evans by William Lashly in his diary from 1912

  • 3rd Jan: The Captain said he was satisfied we were all in good condition, fit to do the journey, but only so many could go on, so it was his wish Mr. Evans, Crean and myself should return. He was quite aware we should have a very stiff job, but we told him we did not mind that, providing he thought they could reach the Pole with the assistance we had been able to give them.

  • 17th Jan: Often and often we saw openings where it was possible to drop the biggest ship afloat in and loose her. This is what we have travelled over all day. It has been a great strain on us all, and Mr. Evans is rather down and thinks he has led us into such a hole, but as we have told him it is no fault of his, as it is impossible for anyone coming down the glacier to see what is ahead of them, so we must be thankful that we are so far safe.

  • 19th Jan: Mr. Evans' eyes being very bad indeed, we are travelling now on our own, I am leading and telling him the course I am steering, that is the different marks on the mountains, but we shall keep on this ridge for some distance yet.

  • 21st Jan: Mr. Evans' eyes is still bad, but improving. It will be a good job when they are better.

  • 22nd Jan: We made a good start this morning and Mr. Evans' eyes is got pretty well alright again, so things looks a bit brighter.

  • 27th Jan: Mr. Evans is now suffering from looseness of the bowels. Crean had a touch of it a few days ago, but he is quite alright again.

  • 1st Feb: Mr. Evans is still gradually worse: it is no good closing our eyes to the fact. We must push on as we have a long way to go yet.

  • 2nd Feb: Mr. Evans is no better but seems to be in great pain, but he keeps quite cheerful we are pleased to say.

  • 3rd Feb: This morning we were forced to put Mr. Evans on his ski and strap him on, as he could not lift his legs. I looked at them again and found they are rapidly getting worse, things are looking serious on his part, but we have been trying to pump him up he will get through alright, but he begins to think different himself, but if we get to One Ton and can get a change of food it may relieve him. He is a brick, there is plenty of pluck: one cannot but admire such pluck.

  • 6th Feb: We shall soon be looking for land ahead, which will be Mt. Discovery or Mt. Erebus, we have 155 miles to go to Hut Point: done alright again 13 1/2 miles, we do wonderfully well especially as Mr. Evans have got to go very slowly first off after stopping until he gets the stiffness out of his legs, but he is suffering a good deal and in silence, he never complains, but he don't get much sleep.

  • 8th Feb: Mr. Evans have passed a good deal of blood to-day, which makes things look a lot worse. I have to do nearly everything for him now.

  • 10th Feb: To-night we are camped and I am sorry to say Mr. Evans is in a very bad state. If this is scurvy I am sorry for anyone it attacks. We shall do our utmost to get him back alive, although he is so ill, he is very cheerful, which is very good and tries to do anything to help us along.

  • 13th Feb: We got away in good time, but progress was slow, and Mr. Evans could not go, and we consulted awhile and came to the conclusion it would be best to put him on the sledge, otherwise he may not pull through, so we stopped and camped, and decided to drop everything we can possibly do without, so we have only got our sleeping bags, cooker, and what little food and oil we have left. Our load is not much, but Mr. Evans on the sledge makes it pretty heavy work for us both, but he says he is comfortable now. This morning he wished us to leave him, but this we could not think of. We shall stand by him to the end one way or other, so we are the masters to-day. He has got to do as we wish and we hope to pull him through.

  • 17th Feb: Mr. Evans is getting worse every day, we are almost afraid to sleep at night as he seems very weak.

  • 18th Feb: I started to move Mr. Evans this morning, but he completely collapsed and fainted away. Crean was very upset and almost cried, but I told him it was no good to create a scene but put up a bold front and try to assist. I really think he thought Mr. Evans had gone, but we managed to pull him through. We used the last drop of brandy.

    We told Mr. Evans of our plans, which were: Crean should proceed, it being a splendid day, on foot to Hut Point to obtain relief if possible. This we had agreed to between ourselves.

  • 19th Feb: To-day Mr. Evans seems a bit better and more cheerful, the rest will do him good and assist in getting a little strength.

  • 20th Feb: "Hark!" from us both. "Yes, it is the dogs near. Relief at last. Who is there?" I did not stay to think more before I was outside the tent. "Yes, sir, it is alright." The Doctor and Dimitri. "How did you see us?" "The flag Lash," says Dimitri. The Doctor, "How is Mr. Evans?" "Alright, but low." But this had a good effect on him. After the first few minutes we got their tent pitched and the food they brought us I was soon on the way preparing a meal for us all, but Mr. Evans cannot have pemmican, but the Doctor have brought everything that will do him good, some onions to boil and several other things.

  • 22nd Feb: It was fearful heavy going for the poor dogs, we arranged so that Mr. Evans was on Dimitri's sledge and Doctor and myself was on the other.

    We started off after a rest for the dogs and reached here at Hut Point at 1 p.m. where we can rest in peace for a time. Dimitri and Crean are going to Cape Evans: the ship is nowhere in sight. Have had to get some seal meat and ice and prepare a meal. Mr. Evans is alright and asleep.

 

References to Edward Evans by Scott in "Scott's Last Expedition"

  • By 10 P.M. the hole in the engine-room bulkhead was completed, and (Lieut.) Evans, wriggling over the coal, found his way to the pump shaft and down it. He soon cleared the suction 'of the coal balls (a mixture of coal and oil) which choked it,' and to the joy of all a good stream of water came from the pump for the first time.

  • Wilson, Evans, and I went to the Cape, which I had now rechristened Cape Evans in honour of our excellent second in command.

  • This evening Evans has given us a lecture on surveying. He was shy and slow, but very painstaking, taking a deal of trouble in preparing pictures, &c.

  • Our case is growing desperate. Evans and his man-haulers tried to pull a load this afternoon. They managed to move a sledge with four people on it, pulling in ski. Pulling on foot they sank to the knees.

  • Got away at 8; marched till 1; the surface improving and snow covering thinner over the blue ice, but the sky overcast and glooming, the clouds ever coming lower, and Evans' is now decidedly the slowest unit, though Bowers' is not much faster.

  •  We all had falls into them, Atkinson and Teddy Evans going down the length of their harness. Evans had rather a shake up.

  • The second party had followed us in case of accident, but as soon as I was certain we could get along we stopped and said farewell. Teddy Evans is terribly disappointed but has taken it very well and behaved like a man.


Landmarks named after Edward Evans

Feature Name: Cape Evans
Type:
Cape
Latitude: 77°:38'21S
Longitude: 166°:24'07E
Description: Rocky cape on the W side of Ross Island, forming the N side of the entrance to Erebus Bay. Discovered by the British National Antarctic Expedition (BrNAE) (1901-04) under Scott, who named it the Skuary. Scott's second expedition, the British Antarctic Expedition (BrAE) (1910-13), built its headquarters here, renaming the cape for Lieutenant Edward R.G.R. Evans, Royal Navy (RN), second in command of the expedition.

Feature Name: Mount Evans
Type:
Summit
Latitude: 77°:15'20S
Longitude: 162°:28'28E
Description: Mountain with a double summit rising to 1,420 m, dominating the central part of Saint Johns Range in Victoria Land. Discovered by the British National Antarctic Expedition (BrNAE) (1901-04) under Scott, who named it for Lieutenant Edward R.G.R. Evans.
 

Other Crew of the Terra Nova Expedition

Abbot, George Percy - 12N - Petty Officer, R.N.
Atkinson, Edward L. - 12DPS - R.N. - surgeon, parasitologist
Balson, Albert - 1 2 - Leading seaman, R.N.
Bowers, Henry Robertson - 12DCPo - Lieutenant
Browning, Frank Vernon - 12N - Petty Officer
Campbell, Victor - 12N - Lieutenant, R.N.
Cheetham, Alfred B. - Boatswain (Bosun), R.N.R.
Cherry-Garrard, Apsley - 12DCS - Assistant zoologist
Crean, Tom - 12DPS - petty officer, R.N.
Debenham
, Frank - 12iWiiW - Geologist
Dickason, Harry - 12N - Able Seaman
Evans, Edgar - 1iWPo - petty officer, R.N.
Evans
, Edward R.G.R. - 1DP - Lieutenant, R.N. "Teddy Evans" - second in command, and Captain of the Terra Nova
Girev (Geroff), Dmitriy - 12DPS - Dog driver

Gran, Tryggve - 12DiiWS - ski expert
Lashly, William - 12PS - chief stoker, R.N.
Levick, G. Murray - 12N - Surgeon, R.N.
McLeod
, Thomas F. - 12 - Able seaman
Meares
, Cecil H. - 1DP - in charge of dogs
Oates
, Lawrence - 1DPo - Capt. 6th Iniskilling Dragoons
Ponting
, Herbert G. - 1 - Camera artist
Priestley, Raymond E. - 12N - Geologist
Omelchenko
, Anton - 1 - Groom
Scott
, Robert Falcon - 1DPo - Commander, R.N. - Expedition leader
Simpson, George - 1 - Meteorologist
Taylor, T. Griffith - 1iWiiW - Geologist
Wilson, Edward Adrian - 1DCPo - chief of scientific staff and biologist
Wright, Charles Seymour - 12iWPS - Physicist

Key:
1 - first winter
2 - second winter
iW - first western party
iiW - second western party
N - northern party

D - depot laying for south pole journey
P - south pole party
C - winter journey to Cape Crozier
S - search party for south Pole party
Po
- reached South Pole


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