Re-dedication of the Scott Memorial, Mount Wise, Devonport
Captain Robert Falcon Scott
Captain Scott was born on 6 June 1868 at the family home of “Outlands” at Milehouse in Plymouth. Many remember him simply as the explorer who perished in March 1912 during exceptionally severe weather on his return from the South Pole after being beaten to being first there by the Norwegian, Roald Amundsen. However, the fact that he led two pioneering expeditions to the unexplored Antarctic continent should not be overlooked. The “Discovery” (1901-4) and “Terra Nova” (1910-13) expeditions achieved much and a great deal of important scientific work was undertaken. Captain Scott is one of Plymouth’s most famous sons.
The Scott Memorial
A memorial fund was established when the news reached Britain that all the members of the polar party had perished on their return journey from the South Pole. The Scott Fund provided financial security for the families of the dead explorers and money to finance the establishment of the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge. Funds were also made available for memorials – one in St. Paul’s Cathedral and this one at Mount Wise. The architect and sculptor of the Mount Wise memorial was Albert H. Hodge and it was unveiled in August 1925. Captain Scott’s son Peter Scott - who later became the world famous naturalist and wild life artist - attended the ceremony and laid a wreath. The deaths of the other members of the Polar party Dr. Edward Wilson, Lt. Henry Bowers, Capt. Lawrence Oates and Petty Officer Edgar Evans are also commemorated on the memorial.
The inscription on the monument “To strive, to seek to find, and not to yield” is a line from Tennyson’s Ulysses. It also appears on the wooden cross erected to remember the men who died on Observation Hill overlooking the Great Ice Barrier in Antarctica.
On the ground, around the base of the Mount Wise memorial is an extract from Scott’s final message to the public written as he was dying in his tent:
“We took risks… things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complain, but bow to the will of Providence... 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. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale.”