Robert Falcon Scott
and his ships

Among the polar explorers, Robert Falcon Scott has a position except for: less celebrated, less known in spite of an authentic exploit: walk to the pole. 
Robert Falcon Scott, born on 6 June 1868 close to Plymouth, is midshipman in July 1883 ;  in March 1888, Scott passed with success his examinations for sub-lieutenant,After a promotion to lieutenant in 1889, he becomes in 1897 torpedo officer on board the Channel squadron flagship, HMS Majestic. 

Promoted to the rank of commander, Scott is given overall command of British National Antarctic Expedition (BNAE), a joint enterprise of Royal Geographical Society and Royal Society. The ship is named after Hudson's ship: RRS Discovery leaves for the Antarctic on 31 July 1901.


map of R.F. Scott voyage

Discovery sailed south, arriving at Cape Adare on 9 January 1902. After a short call, she continues southwards along the Victoria Land coast to McMurdo strait then eastward to cape Crozier to place a beacon intended for the relief ships. The ship follows then the Barrier to its eastern extremity where, on January 30th, the presence of the land predicted by James Clark Ross is confirmed. It is named King-Edouard-VII Land.

Hudson + Discovery

 The expedition ship is a 3-masted barque-rigged square rigger survey vessel specially designed for polar work, built by Dundee Shipbuilding Co, Dundee, Scotland. DISCOVERY, launched 21.03.1901 (172 feet long, 33 feet beam, 480 grt)  is fitted with an auxiliary engine, useful in the ices.

Discovery, Dundee, 21/3/2001

Discovery leaves the British waters on 6 August 1901 and arrives in New-Zealand via Capetown on 29 November.

On 21 December, the ship leaves Lyttelton

On 4 February, Scott landed on the Barrier and unpacked an observation balloon, acquired for aerial surveys. Scott climbs on board and rapidly ascended to above 600 feet. Shackleton follows with a second flight. Both observe the Barrier which extends ad infinitum.

On 8 February, Discovery enters McMurdo strait and anchors in a spot near its southern limit which is afterwards christened Winter Quarters Bay. Work starts ashore with the erection of the expedition's huts on a rocky peninsula designated Hut Point.

BNAE 1902

During the wintering of Discovery, Scott and Shackleton reach with some men the point located at 82°17' S and join the ship on 3 February 1903, after having covered nearly 1540 kilometres (including the relays) in 93 days.

Discovery (Scott)

During the absence of Scott left for the south, the relief ship SY MORNING arrives, bringing fresh foods and supplies..
Nimrod The stamp on right side depicts MORNING ; NIMROD, whaler used by Shackleton was depicted on another stamp, on left side. SY Morning (Discovery expedition)
Built in 1871 by Svend Foyn in Tønsberg (Norway) for whaling, the three-masted ship Morgenen is bought in 1901: overall length 43 m, draught 4.7 m. She gets under way of London on 2 July 1902 and arrives at Lyttelton (New Zealand) via Madeira on 16 November 1902. She leaves Lyttelton for the Antarctic on 6 December 1902 and discovers two small unknown islands the Christmas Day; these islands are today Scott island and  Haggitt's Pillar . The masts of Discovery are seen on 23 January 1903. Morning leaves McMurdo strait on 2 March 1903 and arrives in New Zealand the 25 of the same month. 
Morning repatriates part of the crew of which Shackleton convalescent brought back towards North. Morning sets out again for New Zealand on March 2nd, 1903.

A new wintering of the remaining crew is organized and a group leaves Discovery on 26 October 1903. They will be the first to explore the Antarctic plateau, discovered by Ernest Shackleton during Antarctic expedition with NIMROD in 1908 before returning in Discovery on 24 December.
Morning goes back to the Antarctic a second time in 1903 accompanied by the ship Terra Nova. They arrive at Hut Point on 5 January 1904, where Discovery is taken by the ices, but these ones are detached and the three ships can return to New Zealand together on 1 April 1904. On his return to the United Kingdom, Scott is promoted Captain in Royal Navy, where it takes again his service. Promoted once again in 1909, he takes over command of British Antarctic Expedition 1910, after the failure of Shackleton to rejoin the South pole.
Scott cannot take again Discovery, now owned by the Hudson Bay Company. Discovery will make two other voyages in Antarctic, will transport ammunition to Russia during the First World War and will return in Dundee in 1986 to Victoria Dock.

TERRA NOVA, built in 1884 by Alexander Stephen & Sounds Ltd., Dundee, Scotland, has a steam engine of 140 hp. 57 m length, she can reach 10 knots. Her hull reinforced out of wood of oak is put in the dry dock in New Zealand before embarking the equipment of the expedition of which motor sledges as well as dogs and ponies.

Terra Nova makes two go and back between New Zealand and McMurdo, with supplies, food and relieving staff, bringing back geological samples. She meets the expedition Amundsen in bay of Whales, an inlet in the Barrier.

In September 1911, Robert Falcon Scott starts up his expedition with several crews: he plans a distance of 2842 km (1766 miles) from the peninsula of Hut Point, with an estimated time of 144 days with sixteen men. The pole is reached on 17 January 1912 where they find that Amundsen arrived on 14 December 1911 by leaving a tent, some supplies, a message for Scott, and a letter for the king Haakon VII of Norway. On 12 November 1912, the cold bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers are discovered in a tent at 18 km in the south of One Ton Depot. The arrival of the Terra Nova on 18 January 1913 allows the return of the survivors, who erected a large wooden cross at the top of Observation Hill, overlooking Hut Point. Terra Nova sank with broad south-western point of Greenland on 13 September 1943 and her figurehead is in the National Cardiff Museum.

Shabab Oman ex-Scott

The sultan of Oman buys in 1977 a Scottish three-masted ship and names her SHABAB OMAN (Youth of Oman): built by Herd & Mackenzie, Buckie, Banffshire, for Dulverton Trust she is launched on 07 September 1971 under the name of CAPTAIN SCOTT


Sources: Wikipedia ; Watercraft philately ; Dundee Heritage Trust.

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