Sunday, March 18, 2012

He gave them the cold shoulder


We forgot to mention yesterday that it was the anniversary of the death of Captain Lawrence Oates, who perished March 17, 1912, while a member of Robert F. Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole.

Scott and his party had reached the Pole on Jan. 18, only to find that a rival group led Roald Amundsen had reached it a month earlier. Heading back to base camp, the devastated men ran out of food and water.

Oates left the party and walked -- or crawled -- willingly to his death, some say in order that his comrades might have a better chance to live. Even so, Scott and every one of his men died. (For a dissenting view, go here)

Oates' last words were:

"I am just going outside and may be some time."