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    Re: New to the list
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2009 Jun 3, 23:19 +0100

    John Huth wrote-
    I do have one very specific question.   I'm writing up a chapter on dead
    reckoning.    There is a quote from Robert Falcon Scott that I'd like to pin
    down, and I haven't been able to dig it up.    In the 1980's Roland Huntford
    wrote a book, called "The Last Place on Earth", and also a follow on called
    "Amundsen and Scott".    The Last Place on Earth appeared in a Masterpiece
    Theater series.
    Here's what I'm interested in - during the publication of Scott's diaries,
    there was a number of excisions, which, presumably were done to increase the
    heroism of Scott.   In the last episode of the Masterpiece Theater series,
    there is a line by a character that I assume was supposed to be Sir Clements
    Markham, where he proposed to remove a phrase like "We should have kept the
    bearings of our outward camps" ..... or something like that.   I'd actually
    quoted that to my students, but I realize now that this could have been made
    up for the series.   I was hoping that someone might know if there existed a
    listing of the excised passages from Scott's diary, or if someone was aware
    of this particular quote, before I commit it to print.
    John should beware of giving serious credence to words spoken in any
    "dramatic reconstruction".
    Huntford's book "Amundsen and Scott", gives Scott's Diaries as one of his
    sources. These appear to be held in the British Library as additional
    manuscripts 51026 to 51041, of which the bit he is probably interested in,
    the sledging diary from Nov 1911 to Mar 1912, is vol.6, manuscripts 51033-5.
    These have been reproduced in facsimile by University Microfilms in 1968,
    but presumably never published in book form. John may need to seek a copy of
    that microfilm at an academic library. I know that a copy is held off-site
    by the Bodleian in Oxford, from whose catalogue I've gleaned this
    information. I imagine that the Scott Polar Research institute in Cambridge
    would also hold such information, but their archives are currently closed
    until end-July, when a major reconstruction job will be completed. They can
    be contacted at- library{at}spri.cam.ac.uk
    But it would help if John were more specific about the part of the journey
    he is speaking of. What bearings were being referred to? Much of the travel,
    over the ice shelf and on the polar plateau, covered featureless ground
    where the were no landmarks to take bearings to, and the only bearings would
    be astronomical or magnetic. Things were different on the Beardmore Glacier,
    between mountain peaks. Huntford mentions, in "Amundsen and Scott", page
    520, that during the descent of the Beardmore, "Scott had lost his way. He
    had not marked the route through the labyrinth of crevasses on the way up;
    nor, as he now belatedly regretted, had he kept any bearings to help him
    find safety,"
    Scott's own journal, in "Scott's last expedition", was published from his
    diaries found in the camp where the expedition died. My copy is of the cheap
    John Murray one-volume edition of 1923, which omits the reports of the
    scientific work that comprised volume 2 of the original edition. On page 443
    is an account of their unsuccessful attempts, on Feb 12, to find their
    mid-glacier depot, ending with [At this point the bearings of the
    mid-glacier depot are given, but need not be quoted.]
    Is this the passage that John is referring to? In which case I'm at a loss
    to understand his comment about the excision being made "to increase the
    heroism of Scott". According to Huntford, Scott was incompetent at many
    levels, and to me, that assessment seems convincing. Certainly, navigation
    doesn't seem to have been his strong point. Markham wrote the preface to
    Scott's journals, but I wonder whether the TV programme that John saw was
    building up some case, for dramatic effect. Such things have happened
    before. As I didn't see it, I can only guess.
    John could answer his own question by comparing the published account with
    the microfilmed manuscript, which would tell him exactly what had been
    contact George Huxtable, at  george{at}hux.me.uk
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    ----- Original Message -----
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