Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Today's picture shows Captain Lawrence Edward Grace Oates, of the Terra Nova Antarctic Expedition. He was chosen for the mission because of his financial support for the effort, and his expertise with horses. He was at odds with Captain Scott for most of the expedition, and felt the horses provided for the mission were not suitable. Scott felt Oates was a permanent pessimist. Oates was one of the five men on the expedition to make the last leg of the trek, to the South Pole.
During the return march from the Pole, Oates grew weak, suffering from frostbite. He was having difficulty keeping pace with the party, yet they refused to leave him behind. He realized that his weakened condition, and inability to maintain the required pace was endangering the entire party. Realizing the predicament, on March 16 he told his companions that "I am just going outside and may be some time". Without even putting his shoes on, he walked out into a blizzard, sacrificing himself for the sake of the remainder of the party.