Antactic Exploration Polar medal
This medal was awarded in recognition of involvement in the British National Antarctic Expedition of 1901-1904, also known as the 'Discovery' expedition, led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott.
Sponsored by the Royal Geographical Society, the expedition was primarily a scientific and surveying expedition aimed at placing the British navy at the forefront of Polar exploration. Scott led his team further south than anyone before them, coming within 857 km of the South Pole, and contributed to geographical discoveries of Antarctica, including the first aerial survey of the area via balloon.
Scott later undertook the 'Terra Nova' expedition, 1910-1913. Although this expedition had a largely scientific component, it also involved the race to be the first team to reach the South Pole. Tragically, on arriving at the Pole on January 17-18, 1912, Scott found that Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his team had already arrived a month earlier. Scott and his entire party perished on the return journey, succumbing to injury, frostbite, malnutrition and exhaustion. Scott's journal was later recovered, his final entry reading: 'Had we lived I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman...We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. For God's sake, look after our people. R. Scott'.
Polar Medals were awarded to Scott and his crew for service during the 'Discovery' expedition. This medal is a significant memento of the event, being associated with the heroic age of exploration in Antarctica and some of the region's early great explorers.
Honnywill, Eleanor, 'The Challenge of Antarctica', Methuen & Company Limited, London, 1969
Mortimer, Gavin, 'Shakleton and the Antarctic Explorers: The men who battled to reach the South Pole', Carlton Books Ltd, Dubai, 1999