Edgar Evans

Lashly, William - Chief Stoker, R.N.
(1867 - 1940) - Biographical Notes

Chief stoker Discovery 1901-04
Chief stoker Terra Nova 1910-13
William Lashly's Diary: 25th December 1911 - 22nd February 1912

William Lashly
25th December 1867 - 12th June 1940

Born in the village of Hambledon, Hampshire, England, the son of a farm worker, William Lashly left school at 11 to work on the estate where his family lived as tenant workers, he joined the Royal Navy at 21 in 1889. He joined Scott's Discovery expedition of 1901-1904 as a leading stoker taking part in a number of sledging journeys, he was acknowledged by Chief Engineer Reginald Skelton as "the best man far and away in the ship", he was later sought out by Scott for the Terra Nova expedition.

On the Terra Nova expedition, Lashly was in charge of one of the motor sledges that Scott had taken, the first time such machines had been in Antarctica and for which he had great hopes. Lashly set off in a small party with 2 of these sledges to haul supplies for the pole attempt, within 5 days, they had both broken down and the men had to resort to manhauling.

Day, Nelson, and W. Lashly probing a crevasse on Barne Glacier

Day, Nelson, and W. Lashly probing a crevasse on Barne Glacier, Feb 21st 1911

Day and Lashly fixing up one of the motor vehicles

Day and Lashly working on one of the temperamental motor sledges

He was a part of the last group of three turned back on the 4th of January 1912, 160 miles from the pole by Scott after not being selected for the final Pole Party. He set off back to the hut with Crean and Edward Evans, a 730 mile journey, Lashly and Evans had already by this time been pulling loaded sledges for 600 miles in over 2 months. On the way back they lost their way at one point and with food supplies low and a long detour around an icefall the safest route, instead decided to sledge uncontrolled down the steep icefall, reaching what Evans estimated at 60mph at times, they stopped by overturning the sledge.

Evans developed snow blindness after removing his snow goggles while trying to find the route and began to show signs of scurvy, he was greatly weakened, was passing blood and was in constant pain, Lashly and Crean began pulling him on the sledge. On the 18th of February, there was still 35 miles to go and 4-5 days manhauling at the pace they were making with just 1-2 days of rations left. They decided that Lashly would stay with Evans while Crean would fetch help. Evans who was close to death and Lashly were successfully rescued, Lashly and Crean were awarded the Albert Medal for their roles.

In October 1912 Lashly was part of the search party which found the tent with the bodies of Scott, Bowers and Wilson along with Scott's diary which detailed the disaster that had befallen them. They searched for Oates's body with no success though did find his sleeping bag.

On his return from the Antarctic, Lashly retired from the navy on a pension, though joined the reserves and served again with the navy in WW1. After the war, the family moved to Cardiff where Lashly worked for the Customs service from which he retired in 1932 and moved back to Hambledon. Here he lived in a house he called "Minna Bluff" after a rocky outcrop jutting out from Mount Discovery, a landmark on the way to the South Pole.

A tribute to William Lashly - 90 pages including family history.

Evans, Bernard Day, W. Lashly and F.J. Hooper with a motor sled

W.Lashly, B.Day, Lieut "Teddy Evans" and F.J.Hooper with a motor sled


October 29th 1912, setting off after winter to try to find what happened to Scott and his Polar Party. "The mule party, under Wright, consisting of Gran, Nelson, Crean, Hooper, Williamson, Keohane and Lashly, left Cape Evans at 10.30 and arrived here at 5 p.m. after a good march in perfect weather."

References to William Lashly by Cherry-Garrard in "The Worst Journey in the World"

  • There never could have been any doubt about Bill and Birdie. Probably Lashly would have made the best third, but Bill had a prejudice against seamen for a journey like this - "They don't take enough care of themselves, and they will not look after their clothes." But Lashly was wonderful - if Scott had only taken a four-man party and Lashly to the Pole!

  • About the middle of the morning we were all falling in continually, but Lashly in my team had the worst drop. He fell to the length of his harness and the trace. I was glad that having noticed his rope rather worn, I had given him a new one a few days before. He jerked Crean and me off our feet backwards, and Crean's harness being jammed under the sledge, which was half across an eight-feet bridge, he could do nothing. I was a little afraid of sledge and all going down, but fortunately the crevasse ran diagonally. We could not see Lashly, for a great overhanging piece of ice was over him. Teddy Evans and I cleared Crean and we all three got Lashly up with the Alpine rope cut into the snow sides which overhung the hole. We then got the sledge into safety.

    To-day is Lashly's birthday; he is married and has a family; is 44 years of age, and due for his pension from the service. He is as strong as most and is an undefeated old sportsman. Being a chief stoker, R.N., his original job was charge of one of the ill-fated motor sledges.

  • From Lashly's diary: Christmas Day and a good one. We have done 15 miles over a very changing surface. First of all it was very much crevassed and pretty rotten; we were often in difficulties as to which way we should tackle it. I had the misfortune to drop clean through, but was stopped with a jerk when at the end of my harness. It was not of course a very nice sensation, especially on Christmas Day, and being my birthday as well.

    While spinning round in space like I was it took me a few seconds to gather together my thoughts and see what kind of a place I was in. It certainly was not a fairy's place. When I had collected myself I heard some one calling from above, 'Are you all right, Lashly?' I was all right it is true, but I did not care to be dangling in the air on a piece of rope, especially when I looked round and saw what kind of a place it was. It seemed about 50 feet deep and 8 feet wide, and 120 feet long. This information I had ample time to gain while dangling there. I could measure the width with my ski sticks, as I had them on my wrists. It seemed a long time before I saw the rope come down alongside me with a bowline in it for me to put my foot in and get dragged out.

    It was not a job I should care to have to go through often, as by being in the crevasse I had got cold and a bit frost-bitten on the hands and face, which made it more difficult for me to help myself. Anyhow Mr. Evans, Bowers and Crean hauled me out and Crean wished me many happy returns of the day, and of course I thanked him politely and the others laughed, but all were pleased I was not hurt bar a bit of a shake. It was funny although they called to the other team to stop they did not hear, but went trudging on and did not know until they looked round just in time to see me arrive on top again. They then waited for us to come up with them. The Captain asked if I was all right and could go on again, which I could honestly say 'Yes' to, and at night when we stopped for dinner I felt I could do two dinners in. Anyhow we had a pretty good tuck-in. Dinner consisted of pemmican, biscuits, chocolate éclair, pony meat, plum pudding and crystallized ginger and four caramels each. We none of us could hardly move.

  • I had a long talk with Lashly, who asked me what I candidly thought had happened to the Southern Party. I told him a crevasse. He says he does not think so: he thinks it is scurvy. Talking about crevasses he says that, on the return of the Second Return Party, they came right over the ice-falls south of Mount Darwin, - descending about 2000 feet into a great valley, down which they travelled towards the west, and so to the Upper Glacier Depot.


References to William Lashly by Scott in "Scott's Last Expedition"

  • P.O. Evans and Lashly are delightfully intelligent in carrying out instructions.

  • I am still very confident of the possibility of motor traction, whilst realising that reliance cannot be placed on it in its present untried evolutionary state--it is satisfactory to add that my own view is the most cautious one held in our party. Day is quite convinced he will go a long way and is prepared to accept much heavier weights than I have given him. Lashly's opinion is perhaps more doubtful, but on the whole hopeful.

  • Clissold's work of cooking has fallen on Hooper and Lashly, and it is satisfactory to find that the various dishes and bread bakings maintain their excellence. It is splendid to have people who refuse to recognise difficulties.

  • Yesterday the motors seemed ready to start and we all went out on the floe to give them a 'send off.' But the inevitable little defects cropped up, and the machines only got as far as the Cape. A change made by Day in the exhaust arrangements had neglected the heating jackets of the carburetters; one float valve was bent and one clutch troublesome. Day and Lashly spent the afternoon making good these defects in a satisfactory manner.

  • Lashly got away very soon, made a short run of about 1/2 mile, and then after a short halt to cool, a long non-stop for quite 3 miles. The Barrier, five geographical miles from Cape Armitage, now looked very close, but Lashly had overdone matters a bit, run out of lubricant and got his engine too hot. The next run yielded a little over a mile, and he was forced to stop within a few hundred yards of the snow slope leading to the Barrier and wait for more lubricant, as well as for the heat balance in his engine to be restored.

  • The new rollers turned up by Day are already splitting, and one of Lashly's chains is in a bad way; it may be possible to make temporary repairs good enough to cope with the improved surface, but it seems probable that Lashly's car will not get very far.

  • Evans reported that Lashly's motor had broken down near Safety Camp; they found the big end smashed up in one cylinder and traced it to a faulty casting; they luckily had spare parts, and Day and Lashly worked all night on repairs in a temperature of -25°. By the morning repairs were completed and they had a satisfactory trial run, dragging on loads with both motors.

  • It appears that Atkinson says that Wright is getting played out and Lashly is not so fit as he was owing to the heavy pulling since the blizzard.

  • A plentiful crop of snow blindness due to incaution--the sufferers Evans, Bowers, Keohane, Lashly, Oates--in various degrees.

  • Within 150 miles of our goal. Last night I decided to reorganise, and this morning told off Teddy Evans, Lashly, and Crean to return. They are disappointed, but take it well.

  • 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. Poor old Crean wept and even Lashly was affected. I was glad to find their sledge is a mere nothing to them, and thus, no doubt, they will make a quick journey back.

Landmarks named after William Lashly

Feature Name: Lashly Mountains
Type: summit
Latitude: 77° 54'00S
Longitude: 159° 33.00'E
Description: A small group of mountains, the most prominent being Mount Crean (2,550 m), standing S of the head of Taylor Glacier and W of Lashly Glacier, in Victoria Land. Discovered by the British National Antarctic Expedition (BrNAE) (1901-04).

Feature Name: Lashly Glacier
Type: glacier
Latitude: 77° 54'23S
Longitude: 159° 51.06'E
Description: Short, broad glacier lying between the Lashly Mountains on the W and Tabular Mountain and Mount Feather on the E, flowing S into The Portal, in Victoria Land.

Other Crew of the Terra Nova Expedition

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

Gran, Tryggve - ski expert - 1, 2, D, iiW, S
Lashly, William - chief stoker, R.N. - 1, 2, P, S
Levick, G. Murray - Surgeon, R.N.  - 1, 2, N
Lillie, Dennis Gascoigne - Biologist on the ship
McLeod, Thomas F. - Able seaman - 1, 2
, Cecil H. - in charge of dogs - 1, D, P
, Lawrence - Capt. 6th Iniskilling Dragoons - 1, D, Po
, Herbert G. - Camera artist - 1
Priestley, Raymond E. - Geologist  - 1, 2, N
, Anton - Groom - 1
Scott, Robert Falcon - Commander, R.N. - Expedition leader - 1, D, Po
Simpson, George - Meteorologist - 1
Taylor, T. Griffith - Geologist - 1, iW, iiW
Wilson, Edward Adrian - chief of scientific staff and biologist - 1, D, C, Po
Wright, Charles Seymour - Physicist - 1, 2, iW, P, S

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
- reached South Pole

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