Apsley Cherry-Garrard had his first application to become a member of Robert Falcon Scott’s, Terra Nova Expedition, rejected. Undeterred he applied again, and this time offered the then, huge sum of £1,000, by way of a donation should he be selected. However Scott again rejected his submission, and Cherry Garrard, admirably decided to donate the money regardless. This gesture, along with a little coaxing from Dr. Edward Wilson, prompted a change of heart in Scott, and Cherry-Gerrard joined the Terra Nova as assistant biologist.
He was involved in depot laying teams, establishing a supply route for the assault on the Pole, and then in July 1911, during the harsh austral winter, he set off with Wilson and Bowers in search of unhatched Emperor Penguin eggs. Their Winter Journey to Cape Crozier and back was one of appalling conditions and suffering, in temperatures that plummeted lower than -60º C, and most of Cherry-Garrards teeth shattered due to constant chattering. Ultimately the three men returned and had brought with them, three Emperor Penguin eggs, which was deemed a huge success story for the scientific aspect of the expedition.
Garrard was also part of the attempt to reach the South Pole, accompanying the party to the top of the Beardmore Glacier before returning, among the number, when the second support team was sent back.
In late February 1912, Atkinson tasked Cherry Garrard and Dimitri to take a dog team and replenish One Ton Depot with dog food. They arrived at the cache on March 3rd and waited for seven days, hoping to meet the returning Polar Party. They left on March 10th, not knowing that Scott, Oates, Bowers and Wilson were struggling for their lives 60 miles away. It was a week to the day before Oates would die, and 19 days before the eventual deaths of the other three men, but confusion with Scott’s change of instruction, regarding the dog teams, meant that the relief team he was expecting, never materialised as such.
Cherry Garrard would be haunted for the remainder of his life by the fate that had befallen the Polar Party, and though it is likely that no blame can be attributed to him, he was the unfortunate one, who had been at the depot, and although not briefed to do so, had not proceeded as Scott had hoped.
He later wrote The Worst Journey In The World, giving his account of what has been acclaimed, the greatest true adventure story ever written!
The Worst Journey In The World
by Apsley Cherry-Garrard
With maps and illustrations by the late Doctor Edward A. Wilson and other members of the expedition.
Published 1922 by Doran, Constable & Company Ltd. in N.Y, London .
Written in English.
Cherry-Garrard in front of his typewriter in the Terra Nova hut at Cape Evans, 30 August 1911