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FOCUS ON SCOTT'S LETTER; TREASURE HUNTERS.

Byline: JAMIE BREESE

Instant expert

A FAREWELL letter written by Captain Robert Scott when he realised he would die on his expedition to the South Pole is going on sale in London. The moving message, written in March 1912, was addressed to a financier who had funded the trek, which ended in the deaths of Scott and his four companions as they tried to get back to their base camp. They had reached the Pole - but had been beaten to it by Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his team.

Basics

THE letter (below) was found on Scott's body in November 1912 and was written on March 16 that year to Sir Edgar Speyer, honorary treasurer of the fundraising committee for the trek. Facing up to certain death, Scott writes: "I fear we must go... but we have been to the Pole and we shall die like gentlemen - I regret only for the women we leave behind. If this diary is found it will show how we stuck by our dying companions and fought this thing out to the end. We very nearly came through and it's a pity to have missed it but lately I have felt that we have overshot our mark - no-one is to blame and I hope no attempt will be made to suggest that we lacked support."

How much?

SIR Edgar was a famous business, political and philanthropic figure before the First World War. He had played a major role in raising funds for Scott's expedition and Mount Speyer in the Arctic was named in his honour by Scott. In 1935, Sir Edgar's widow presented the letter to famous US polar explorer Rear Admiral Richard E Byrd at a dinner in his honour. It is on sale at Bonhams Polar Sale in London on March 30 and is estimated to make between pounds 100,000 and pounds 150,000.

Real deal

THE letter was one of several Scott wrote in his final days. Once the British public learnt of their contents, he became a hero and there was a huge outpouring of grief. Thousands of people sent donations, paying off the expedition's debts, providing for the team's families and funding the Scott Polar Research Institute.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 15, 2012
Words:368
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