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23 June 2011

Telegraph publishes Trust letter

Letter draws attention to the British lives lost in pursuit of Antarctic science since Scott
Category: General
Posted by: Rod

The Telegraph has been publishing a series of articles marking the Centenary of Captain Scott's last expedition in the last few weeks. The most recent, published on Tuesday 21 June 2011, was focussed on Scott's contribution to science - the theme of our lecture in Cardiff last year.  It did not mention how research has continued in the Antarctic with commensurate loss of life.

Roderick Rhys Jones, Chairman of the Trust, wrote a letter which the Telegraph published beneath of a photograph of Jeremy Bailey arriving at Halley Bay in 1965.

Sir, The huge contribution to Britain’s scientific knowledge by Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his companions in Antarctica is rightly acknowledged by David Robson (Science, June 21). However, Scott and his companions were not alone in dying in the cause of Antarctic science.

Since the British established a permanent research presence in Antarctica in 1943, 28 men and one woman have died “in pursuit of science to benefit us all”. My colleague Jeremy Bailey, for example, developed ice depth radar, which has been used extensively to map the mountains beneath the ice sheet. He died, with David Wild and John Wilson, in an accident in a crevasse in 1965.

Last month a memorial was dedicated to the memory of these scientists in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral, followed by a monument in the grounds of the Scott Polar Research Institute, next to the sculpture Youth, created by Scott’s widow, Kathleen. As Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of the Institute, said at the unveiling: “It is fitting that there should be a public monument for those who died, unknown names to the outside world, but who have helped to create the enviable polar reputation that the UK enjoys.”

Jeremy Bailey asks Which way is the South Pole

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