Talk:Terra Nova Expedition

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Clarification[edit]

This article is a virtual total rewrite, based on the "General rewrite plan" which I posted on 10 January, below. Most of the comments posted on this page above that plan relate to the former article and don't apply to its current version. Brianboulton (talk) 01:04, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Terra Nova expedition[edit]

There is information in the Robert Scott page section on the Terra Nova expedition that is not included - or differs from - what is included here. The narrative in that article is also somehow more readable than that which is here (perhaps partly because the prose isn't broken up into so many small sections). I'm not up for making the edits myself, but maybe someone with the interest/skill could?--Anchoress 07:14, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

I have been working over on the Aspley Cherry-Garrard page, suggesting a rationalisation between the articles on the individual members of the expedition, and this article - which in my view should be the main source of information on the expedition. This would involve a serious 'inflation' of the contents of this article. It seems a workable prospect - there is some good documentation around - not the least Scott's Diaries and Aspley Cherry-Garrard's 'The Worst Journey in the World'.
The expedition has interest (which I believe justifies an expansion) as a historical event, but also as a study of risk and endeavour that reflects in some ways questions about manned space flight, and the Space Shuttle program particularly. Scott's military/scientific expeditions to the Antarctic was sponsored by the most powerful nation on Earth (at the time), but underfunded, and crudely characterised as a race to the South Pole rather than a scientific endeavour. It was also more widely known for it's tragedy than it's achievements. Tban 04:08, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Working on the list of expedition members, initially just to give people the opportunity to see that it wasn't just five men who died. I thought it was pointless to list nationalities, but remembered that some were Australians. Starting to pull all the details - at least one Canadian! And of course Dimitri, Gran etc. Puts an international slant on it. The list of occupations also gives a feel for the Navy/Science mix. And a chance to put links in (at least) for members who don't have their own Wiki articles. Also indicating their 'journeys' during the expedition, and if they had previous experience.Tban 00:11, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Have filled in some details of Terra Nova's movements. Intend to fill out further and note scientific or cargo activities. I expect some might see this as 'too detailed' and more about the ship than the expedition. My point is that the expedition 'included' the ship (basically paid to keep it busy for 3 years) and the ship did more than carry cargo - it was in a sense partly functioning like one of our modern research vessels IN THE PAY OF, AND IN THE SERVICE OF, the Terra Nova expedition. Consequently the detail belongs in the article about the expedition, not the article about the ship.Tban 14:20, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Re above:I have entered more movements of the ship, which makes this section very long, even with only brief details of what the ship was doing. The island visited after Funchal was South Trinidad (now called Trindade), not "South Trinity" as you had it - this is in a different location entirely. I have made this alteration. Personally I would shorten the section by deleting everything before Terra Nova set sail for antarctica on 26th Nov 1910Brianboulton (talk) 23:49, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Have added in section about previous expeditions (sourced from Wiki). Interesting - turns out there was a long history of Norwegian involvement in the area - you don't get that information from Cherry-Garrard or Scott up-front. About to write a section about the Cape Evans Base, then a series of 'Journey' sections - starting with the Northern Party (Campbell) who found Amundsen, the Depot laying journey, the winter journey (Cape Crozier), the polar journey and the search. I'd also like to do something on the first and second western Geological journeys but I don't know that I'll get much on them. Then I'd like a section on the 'science achievements' of the expedition - which wd probably include some reference to careers that expeditioners subsequently followed.Tban 15:44, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Will put 'achievements' (which I originally thought I'd put at the end of the article) within each section dealing with each journey. For example South Pole journey includes rock samples from interior. Also want to list expeditioners books even if no longer in print, And need to draw some maps and that'll about wrap it up Tban 00:27, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I have altered "Birdy" to Birdie in the list of expedition members as this is the generally used spelling. Brianboulton (talk) 19:40, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Footnotes[edit]

Started a References (footnotes) section, will add more as I get through The Worst Journey in the World. This page is in desperate need of more.Zatoichi26 02:01, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

-40C = minus 40F[edit]

Cherry-Garrard and Dimitri arrived back at Hut Point on 15 March. Atkinson and Keohane who were at Hut Point made a foray south between March 27 and April 1, but could not reach the One Ton supply dump, noting that weather conditions were extreme, blizzards and minus 40 °F (−40 °C).

I ran across this and was momentarily stunned by the seeming inaccuracy, so I did the conversion myself. So, to preempt readers like me, -40 F really is the same as -40 C. Phil 21:07, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Worst Journey in the World[edit]

From the 1st paragraph, I removed "It is also known as The Worst Journey in the World after its account in a book by one of its members." since this is not really correct, Cherry-Garrard called the 1911 winter journey to Cape Crozier the "worst journey" not the main expedition as the sentence implied (ref: p. 304 of Cherry-Garrard's book). I decided not to rewrite the sentence where it was because similar reference to the "worst journey" is rightly provided in the "Cape Crozier" section. I am going to edit that section to make the link to the Worst Journey article and provide reference to Cherry-Garrard's book.Zatoichi26 02:57, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

This perplexes me no end. How did these guys find their way back along what must be a relatively featureless terrain? Did they put up flag poles or something? I would think the blowing wind would cover over their tracks. If they used the magnetic compass references to find their way along, and perhaps a sextant and astrolabe or something to determine their location, how did they find the pole?
The short answer to your query is that the journey to Cape Crozier was a well-mapped route; the trip had been done several times before (including twice before by Wilson) during the Discovery Expedition, 1903–04. The journey hadn't been attempted before in winter, which is what made it significant this time, but the party had charts, and knew the locations of various landmarks en route. Brianboulton (talk) 17:13, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Also, what time zone reference did they use for the dates? I assume that it has something to do with New Zealand time, the last port of call before they went to the continent. I assume further that they kept more-or-less on the same "nighttime" schedule as above the Antarctic Circle in New Zealand. GBC (talk) 11:04, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I believe that they used the time zone appropriate to 170°E, which I believe cuts through New Zealand so, yes, they were basically on NZ time. Brianboulton (talk) 17:13, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

First Paragraph[edit]

The first sentence used to read "...with the purpose of undertaking scientific research and exploration..." and only later in the paragraph did it mention the goal to be the first to the Pole. Not sure if it was worded that way on purpose but it sounded as if the journey to the Pole was secondary to the science. Scott felt the science was important (and it played an important role in obtaining funding for the expedition) but his primary goal was to be the first to the Pole for Britain. I re-worded it in this vein. Zatoichi26 14:34, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

General rewrite plan[edit]

There hasn't been much activity on this article for a while, other than my minor corrections and alterations, mainly in the Northern Party section. If people are losing interest then that's a pity, because this important subject is deserving of the best possible article.

I've studied the text carefully, also the various comments on this discussion page, and have prepared a plan for improving it. The overall aim is to get the best factual article on the expedition rather than on the issues surrounding it. The following is I believe a way forward:-

  • Remove/substantially shorten lists. Specifically, remove altogether the list of previous expeditions and shorten the others. Too much information in a list or table can obscure rather than clarify, so the list of the ship's movements should be condensed to a short summary of Terra Nova's three voyages in support of the expedition, and included in an appendix at the end, along with the memorabilia list. The list of expedition members should be simplified to a form as, for example, in Scott's Last Expedition - there's no need for mini-biographies as all the main names are linked to their own biographical articles. Also, get rid of photo links which don't work.
  • Several new sections are necessary: on the organisation, aims and financing of the expedition, on Scott's chosen methods of transport and, within the Main Expedition Journeys section, a summary of the Western (geological) journeys. At the end of the article a short concluding paragraph would be appropriate.
  • Generally restructure, so that (for example) the main exploration/scientific journeys are separated from those concerned with depot laying, re-supply or search parties.
  • The text needs redrafting to ensure factual accuracy throughout, and referencing needs to be improved by making use of a wider range of sources than Cherry-Garrard's account. Use should be made of footnotes. I also think that the neutrality of some sections, e.g. the One Ton Depot resupply account, needs attention.
  • This expedition is unfortunately inseparable from controversies and debates, mainly about Scott. Other than acknowledging that such areas of contention exist, I think this article should not attempt to engage with these debates. The article will become far too long. Nor do I think that the link to the Debates section of the Scott article is a particularly good idea - that section contains highly questionable statements which are asserted as fact, and has very few cited sources in an altogether over-long exposition.

I am ready to proceed with the above. I'd be interested to hear other suggestions.Brianboulton (talk) 18:15, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Brianboulton, I added quite a bit of info and citations from Cherry-Garrard's book, nominated it for Good Article and then I got busy and never came back to it! Glad to see someone else is carrying the torch. :) I agree with removing the list of expeditions. The complete list of team members & their titles should stay as I don't think there's a complete list anywhere else on Wikipedia and it provides links to their bio pages where available. If the link to the Scott article is deleted, perhaps a short section could be added on the reasons for failure/controversies and bring the relevant info from the Scott article? (this would follow suggestion from Anynobody who reviewed the Good Article application) Another good source is Scott's diary, if you're willing to read & cite that. Also I think a good picture of the Terra Nova, or a group photo of some of the men would really add to the article, but I'm not sure where to find one that isn't copyrighted. Everything else you mentioned sounds good to me. Zatoichi26 (talk) 01:42, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Thank you Zatoichi26 for your comments. A complete list of expedition members is certainly necessary & will stay. What I don't think is necessary is the jumble of biographical detail at present cluttering the list. I envisage something like the list, ship's party and all, which appears at the beginning of Scott's Last Expedition. The link to the Scott article should also stay, but worded more cautiously. There will indeed be references in my revised text to controversies, but space won't allow for full discussion however tempting this might be. I have read Scott's diary, all of it, & it will be a main source for the revised article together with more contemporary chroniclers. I agree that the whole question of pictures needs looking at, but I'm going to work on the text first & deal with images laterBrianboulton (talk) 01:07, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

The first stage of the overhaul has been posted. More to follow soonBrianboulton (talk) 00:33, 15 January 2008 (UTC)


I have now posted more. There is still more to come, including some rearrangements of material. May I ask that the article is not edited before I have finished? If you think something needs doing, mention it here and I'll take it on board. I will make it clear when I have finished. Note: I have temporarily deleted the "rations and diet" paragraph which will be included later, with other inf, in an appendixBrianboulton (talk) 23:17, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I have now completed my revisions, in accordance with the general rewrite plan outlined above. I have included several new photo images, whilst retaining the photo links from the unrevised article that work, and discarding those that didn't. I will no doubt tinker with the article a bit over the next days, but won't be making any more major changes or additions. It should be noted that all the comments above the plan outline, including some from me, and including the failed "good article" nomination, refer to the pre-revision version of the article and some of the references won't apply any more.Brianboulton (talk) 19:31, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Nice work Brianboulton, the article looks 100% better. Congratulations on getting it to GA status. You removed almost all my citations from Cherry-Garrard's book though! Zatoichi26 (talk) 18:40, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
The problem was that in the earlier version, CG was pretty well the only source cited. In my view, despite the excellence of his book, he is not a neutral observer and his judgments need to be treated cautiously when preparing a factual article. He is still the main source cited in the Winter Journey section. If you think the article could be improved further, please let me know how.Brianboulton (talk) 01:00, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

GA[edit]

I have passed this article at WP:GAN. Please see Talk:Terra Nova Expedition/GA 2 for the full review. Good work! The research here is very impressive! Dr. Cash (talk) 00:32, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Importance rating to Top[edit]

I believe that the major historical British Antarctic expeditions should all be rated Top for importance. For some reason, until now only the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition has had top rating. I believe that the Discovery, Nimrod, Terra Nova and Imperial Trans-Antarctic expeditions are not less important than the SNAE, so I am adjusting the ratings accordingly. Brianboulton (talk) 14:41, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

In film, radio, stage etc..[edit]

Have there been any artistic adaptations of the expedition? I know there is a movie and radio play for Worst Journey in the World. Have there been any documentaries made about the Terra Nova Expedition? National Geographic? History Channel? BBC? Any help appreciated. Fothergill Volkensniff IV (talk) 04:52, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Apart from the ancient film Scott of the Antarctic (1948), which has a spectacularly inadequate Wikipedia article, the most recent substantial TV docudrama was The Last Place on Earth (1985), an adaptation of Roland Huntford's book Scott and Amundsen, which explores the rivalry between the two explorers. It is anything but an objective account, given Huntford's famous antipathy to Scott, but it is dramatically riveting. You can get it from Amazon (2 DVDs). Brianboulton (talk) 16:21, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Diet[edit]

I find it hard to believe that Scott was not aware of the problems caused by scurvy when the Navy had known since the time of Cook that fresh vegetables were important and that Limes/lemons and Onions were commonly used to prevent it. ---- Julian Fitter —Preceding unsigned comment added by 222.153.146.128 (talk) 23:01, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Scott was aware of the problems of scurvy. It had occurred during his Discovery voyage. However, in 1912 the nature (vitamin deficiency) and proper treatment of the disease had not been established, nor would be for several more years. Brianboulton (talk) 08:53, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Scurvy[edit]

The text from the last paragraph says that the relationship between lack of vitamin C and scurvy was not know in 1910, however since 1700 Captain Cook acknowledged the need of fresh vegetables and meat to avoid scurvy. It was also known to the Franklin Arctic lost expedition 1845 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin%27s_lost_expedition) that they had worries to carry canned food to provide vitamins to the crew and avoid scurvy. So the relation between fresh food and avoidance of scurvy has been known since the late 1700s, but now widely accepted. Probably like the issue of Global Climate Change today...

Therefore I think it incorrect to state on the article that the relation between scurvy and lack of vitamins was not known in 1910.

  • I too am confused by the wording in the story. Vitamin C was not understood, but the need to eat fresh fruit to prevent scurvy was known for 200 years. It's right to ask why Scott did not take this into account. Wording should be changed. Vidor (talk) 21:41, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree. The English had known for more than 100 years that certain fruits and vegetables prevented scurvy, so whether Scott or anyone else in 1910 knew about Vitamin C they certainly would have known how to prevent scurvy. The question to explore is why they apparently chose not to take those fruits or vegetables with them. I'm not attacking Scott, only asking the question. Perhaps some of the specialists in early Polar exploration will be able to provide the answers. Thanks (71.22.47.232 (talk) 07:52, 27 June 2010 (UTC))

  • First, where was Scott and his party going to get fresh fruit and vegetables from, when they were spending two years in Antarctica where nothing grows? Secondly, although doctors at the time knew that fresh food, including fresh meat, cured scurvy, they did not understand that it actually prevented the disease because it contained something essential to bodily health, namely the then unidentified "Vitamin C". Contemporary medical opinion was that scurvy was caused by ptomaine poisonng or acid intoxication arising from inadequately prepared sledging rations; it was not until the 1930s that it was understood that scurvy was the result of asorbic acid deficiency. Thus Scott went to enormous lengths to get his sledging rations right, but to no avail when they lacked fresh meat. The same problem affected nearly every Antarctic expedition that engaged in long sledging expeditions away from the coast, away from the supplies of seal and penguin meat which kept them healthy at base camp. The notable exception is Amundsen, who supplemented his sledging rations by killing and eating his dogs as he went along. He did this not because he knew it would prevent scurvy, but for cold logistical reasons - it saved him having to overload his sledges with food. Thus he hit on the solution by chance. Brianboulton (talk) 08:42, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

The earlier (uppermost) posts make a point that still seems valid and that makes the wording of the article seem misleading, no less than the present fine line between prevention and cure. Since the studies of James Lind in the mid-1700s oranges and lemons were known to cure scurvy and in 1795 the British navy began carrying lime juice; and in 1854 the British merchant marine was also required to carry lime juice to combat scurvy. Ergo British="limey." (Encyclopedia Americana, 1987 ed., s.v. Scurvy.) When away from fresh fruit and vegetables for long periods of time, whether on a ship or in the Antarctic is immaterial, scurvy was a certainty unless (simple) preventative measures were taken. That they were not remains, at best, a puzzle. (75.91.38.62 (talk) 12:27, 3 July 2010 (UTC))

  • I ran across an interesting article today (from 2011) which addresses this point - doi:10.1017/S0032247411000751, "Could Captain Scott have been saved"? in Polar Record. The author argues, fairly convincingly, that Evans' scurvy was self-inflicted - he had refused or avoided eating seal meat - which explains why he succumbed to it while most of the others, including two equally healthy men with exactly the same diet and environment as him, did not. (She then goes on to draw the slightly stark inference that if Evans had eaten his seal steaks, he would not have been sick; Atkinson would not have had to stay with him; and that Atkinson would likely have pushed south past One Ton to reach Scott. On such small things...). The article goes into depth on the issue of Scott's orders with the dogs, which I'll want to check more on to make sure I'm following it correctly, but which may indicate some errors in the standard sources.
The same issue also contains doi:10.1017/S0032247411000428, The understanding of scurvy during the heroic age of Antarctic exploration, which I have not had a chance to read but which sounds like it would give an interesting historic context. Andrew Gray (talk) 20:50, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Checking again, May's article has been used, it just somehow hasn't made it into the bibliography. (Odd...). Will fix. Andrew Gray (talk) 18:16, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Quotes (please advise)[edit]

Under Re-supply of One Ton Depot, I changed "five XS (Extra Summit) rations (an XS ration was food for four men for one week), or at all hazards three ..." to "five XS rations [an Extra Summit ration was food for four men for one week], or at all hazards three ..." in an effort to better separate clarifying additions from the words of the original document. Not having the source materials before me, however, I had to guess what was original and what was added. Please correct me if I've made a blunder!

Similarly, under Final relief effort I can't tell whether polar in "I was morally certain that the (polar) party had perished" was in Atkinson's account or added later. If the latter, I would place it in square brackets rather than parentheses, like other such notes in the article. Lusanaherandraton (talk) 17:36, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Your change to brackets in the summit rations narrative does not affect the quotation. In the second case the word (polar) is not part of the quote and should also be in brackets, a change I have done. Nice work on your part. The relocation of the scurvy paragraph is also a change for the better and enables the article to come to a more natural end. Thanks for that, too. Brianboulton (talk) 00:20, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

South Polar Journey section: Oates' sacrifice should be clear[edit]

It doesn't even say that he died, or that he didn't come back. It sounds like he's going for a cup of milk, and in the next sentence it's called a "sacrifice". Someone who didn't know the story of Oates' sacrifice wouldn't understand what happened. If it's verifiable that he didn't bother to put on his boots, as is commonly said, this is also an important detail that should be included.--Atkinson (talk) 13:23, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

He would have "gone for a cup of milk" as to say that he was just intending to cease his existance. This is old fashioned dark-humour when you least need it. He may have counted that if one would die without debate around it, that would save the rest of the crew. Well, it did not.--82.134.28.194 (talk) 08:44, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Caption for photo[edit]

In the main photo for this article, is the caption that tells who is who correct? I have seen many other sources which indicate Oates is the man on the left leaning on the skis. It's possible there is some confusion as there are several similar photos with the men sat in different positions. It would be helpful if an expert on the subject could confirm the caption. Thanks Nora nettlerash (talk) 15:23, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

You are right. I don't know from where the original order was sourced, but Oates and Wilson had their positions swapped. Yomanganitalk 15:42, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

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Crew photograph[edit]

I have removed the photograph of various unidentified Terra Nova crew mwmbers that was recently added to the lead. The photograph contains none of the expedition's leaders or main personnel. To give it priority over the iconic image of Scott's party at the pole is absurd. The image could be used later in the article, as a general illustration, but frankly I see little value in it. If it is to be retained, the information that it was first published in 1921, in Ponting's The Great White South (London, G. Duckworth) needs to be added to the image page. Brianboulton (talk) 23:38, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Notes on Expedition members[edit]

Leaving some notes here that I gathered on British Antarctic Expedition crew members while researching their exact locations and movements during the expedition. This level of detail is not needed in this article, but might be useful for articles on the individuals themselves where such articles exist. Possibly a list article of expedition members (with the usual divisions of 'shore party' and 'ship's party', and the shore party sub-designations of 'officers', 'scientific staff' and 'crew') might help at some point. The aspect I had most difficulty researching was the names of who went on various expeditions and when (such as the depot laying treks before the 1911 winter, and various subsidiary treks not mentioned in the article). Anyway, the notes I have are:

Brewster is mentioned by Lieutenant Evans in his account here, in some other expedition member diaries (e.g. the one by Charles 'Silas' Wright), in the 1910 newspaper list here, and in Katherine Lambert's books Longest Winter (2002) and Hell With A Capital H: A New Polar Hero (2012) (see this Google Books search). The official lists probably only cover those who were on the ship when it reached Antarctica. Brewster could possibly be briefly mentioned in a footnote in the Terra Nova article. Mentioning Feather might usefully illustrate some aspects of the selection and de-selection processes. I still find it quite astounding that some 8000 people applied to join the expedition! Carcharoth (talk) 06:48, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

Briefly noting here that archive collections exist for two of the expedition members and the NZ agent: Francis Drake; Dennis Lillie and Sir Joseph Kinsey. The other thing I discovered was a German Wikipedia list article on the expedition members: de:Terra-Nova-Expedition/Mannschaftsliste. Something like that might be useful over here. I think something like this was present in earlier versions of this article (see discussions further up the talk page), but was mostly removed (presumably too detailed) as the article was taken to featured status. If the information was resurrected, it would have to be in a subsidiary article. Carcharoth (talk) 00:20, 3 September 2014 (UTC)