I am just going outside.
A Very Gallant Gentleman by John Charles Dollman
On the return journey from the South Pole, Lawrence Oates was suffering badly from gangrene and frostbite, and felt that his poor condition was slowing down the progress of Scott, Bowers and Wilson, and thus hindered their chances of survival.
According to Scott’s journal, as the men camped, Oates left the tent and walked into a blizzard, uttering the words “I am just going outside and may be some time.”
Scott also said of the incident “We knew that poor Oates was walking to his death, but though we tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman.”
Ultimately the gallant sacrifice Oates made, had no impact on the fate of the other men, as they would only cover another 20 miles before they too died.
The Picture Of The Day featured below is a wonderfully poignant painting by John Charles Dollman, depicting the badly afflicted Oates, stumbling through a blizzard to his certain death.
Further reading – See Terra Nova page.
On This Day – March 17th 1912 – Tom Crean