On the 15th June, 1910 the Terra Nova left Cardiff Docks to the cheers of a huge crowd, sailing into maritime history and carrying the hopes of a nation. The old whaler had been cleaned, painted and fitted out for the voyage of a lifetime to the coldest place on earth, the frozen sea ice of the Antarctic. Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition to the South Pole was under way, after many months of planning, fund raising and preparation. The men of the Terra Nova Expedition risked their lives in the pursuit of scientific knowledge and exploration, sailing through the most dangerous waters on Earth. In 1910 there were still many unanswered questions about Antarctica, so Captain Scott recruited the largest team of scientists ever to visit the continent and they returned with over forty thousand zoological and geological specimens which are held in the British Natural History Museum collection. This illustrated book tells the story of the Terra Nova from her launch in 1884 to her sinking off the coast of Greenland in 1943, through many first-hand accounts, including the letters and journals of many who sailed on her. Also included are the seven recently discovered letters from Wilfred Bruce, member of the 1910 expedition and brother of Scott’s wife Kathleen. In the foreword to the book, Captain Scott's granddaughter Dafila Scott writes: A hundred years after my grandfather Captain Scott’s last expedition to the Antarctic, it is now possible to assess not only the tragedy of the deaths of the polar party but also the scientific legacy of the expedition, which was considerable. In this book, Tony Riches gives an account of the expedition and its scientific legacy but focuses first on the interesting history of the Terra Nova, the expedition ship, which proved suitable if leaky for its purpose in the Southern Ocean. He also draws attention to letters written by one of the crew members, Captain Scott’s brother-in-law, Wilfred Bruce, which give a first hand account of life on the Terra Nova and include vivid descriptions of different periods during the expedition. These help one to imagine what it was like to be there.
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Published July 14, 2012