SCOTT, ROBERT FALCON (1868–1912), English sailor and explorer, was born at Devonport June 6 1868, the son of John Edward Scott of Outlands, Devonport, and entered the navy in 1882. He was promoted lieutenant and appointed to the “Amphion” in 1889, and torpedo-lieutenant to the “Majestic,” flagship of the Channel Squadron, 1898, becoming commander 1900. He commanded the National Antarctic expedition of 1901–4 (see 21.966) and in 1905 published his account of it in The Voyage of the “Discovery.” On his return he was promoted captain and commanded first the “Victorious,” flagship of the Channel Squadron, and subsequently the “Essex” and the “Bulwark.” He was awarded the gold medals of the Royal Geographical Society and of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, and received medals from the geographical societies of many foreign countries, and an hon. degree from Cambridge. During part of 1909 he was naval assistant to the Second Sea Lord of the Admiralty, and in June 1910 he again set out for the Antarctic in the “Terra Nova” in command of a new expedition, financed partly by private individuals but aided by a Government grant. He arrived at Lyttelton, N.Z., in Oct. and reached McMurdo Sound at the end of the year. On Nov. 2 1911 he started on his journey of 850 m. to the Pole, accompanied all the way by Dr. E. A. Wilson, Capt. L. E. G. Gates, Lt. H. R. Bowers, and Petty-Officer Edgar Evans. He reached the Beardmore glacier on Dec. 10 and on Jan. 4 1913 left behind him his last supporting party in lat. 87 32′ S. When last heard of he was about 150m. from the Pole, which his record shows that he reached Jan. 17 only to find Amundsen’s tent and records left there one month earlier. On the return journey Evans fell (Feb. 17) in descending the Beardmore glacier and died shortly after. Blizzards were encountered and progress was slow. Food ran short, and on March 17 Oates went out alone to die. Three days later a fresh blizzard checked the survivors, whose supply of oil-fuel was exhausted and their food-supply very low. Scott’s last entry in his diary was made on March 24. He was then only 11 m. from One Ton depot and a supply of food; but he was unable to reach it and died, with Wilson and Bowers, on or about March 27 1912.
A search party, sent out from the base in March 1912, had been driven back from One Ton depot by the weather, and it was recognized that there was no chance of Scott’s party surviving the winter. Nothing further could be attempted until Oct., when search parties went out, and on Nov. 12 Dr. Atkinson and Mr. Wright found Scott’s tent with the bodies of Scott, Bowers and Wilson and the valuable scientific records. Capt. Scott had a warm sympathy for scientific research and a good knowledge of many branches of science qualifying him for the leadership of an expedition, the main results of which were obtained by the labours of his scientific colleagues. The news of the disaster did not reach England until the survivors landed in N.Z. Feb. 10 1913. A memorial service, held in St. Paul’s cathedral, London, Feb. 14, was attended by King George, and by royal warrant the rank and precedence of the wife of a K.C.B. were conferred on Capt. Scott’s widow. A fund was raised as a memorial of Capt. Scott, from which ample provision was made for the surviving relatives of the lost explorers, and the balance was devoted to the promotion of polar research, a substantial amount being granted in 1921 towards the endowment of the Polar Research Institute of the Geographical department of the university of Cambridge.
On Sept. 2 1908, Scott had married Miss E. A. Kathleen Bruce, daughter of Canon Lloyd Bruce. Lady Scott had attained some reputation as a sculptor, and, later, executed statues of her husband, which have been erected in Waterloo Place, London, and at Portsmouth. Her other works include a statue of his companion, Dr. Wilson, at Cheltenham, one of Capt. Smith of the “Titanic” at Litchfield, and portrait busts of Mr. Asquith, Lord Knutsford, John Galsworthy, Granville Barker, and other well-known contemporaries. She was one of the first women to undertake munition making, and in 1916 she became private secretary to the secretary of the Ministry of Pensions. In Jan. 1922 her engagement to Lt.-Comm. Edward Hilton Young, D.S.O., M.P. (b. 1879), financial secretary to the Treasury, was announced.