Terra Nova Expedition
Tom Crean was one of the members of Scott’s depot-laying team that were tasked with establishing a supply route along the Barrier, that would be used by Scott and his Polar party, when they embarked upon their South Pole journey.
The aim was to lay supplies at strategic points along the ice shelf, from Safety Camp, at its edge, all the way to 80º S, where the largest cache – One Ton Depot would be located.
The men were accompanied by dog teams and ponies, but the animals found the conditions very challenging, and of the eight Siberian ponies that set out with the group, only two would return alive. Scott was so concerned with the welfare of the beasts, that he decided to lay the supplies for One Ton Depot 30 miles short of the intended location, and return to base with the animals.
Scott, Bowers and Wilson got to within 11 miles of this depot on their return from the Pole, but were held up by a raging blizzard for nine days. Without food and fuel, and suffering from frostbite and scurvy, the men slowly starved and froze to death.
Had the depot been placed where originally intended the men would have reached it, and may very well have survived their ordeal.
Below are some images from the depot-laying excursions that were undertaken by the Terra Nova crew.
This is an outdoor group portrait of Captain Scott (sixth from left) and the “Southern Party” during the British Antarctic (“Terra Nova”) Expedition (1910-1913). Mount Erebus is in the background. Shows a row of eleven men wearing cold weather clothing, standing in snow alongside sleds laden with supplies.
Tom Crean is the first man standing on the left.
The above photograph could possibly have been taken just before the Terra Nova Expedition left Antarctica, as the memorial cross erected by the men on Observation Hill in memory of the Polar Party appears visible in the background.