Scott100 Day 9 9th November :

Edward Wilson was not Scott’s second in command but he played a vitally important role for Scott. He was his loyal, selfless and committed friend and perhaps the person who knew Scott the best. Scott had moments of depression, anxiety and mood swings and Wilson was often the man who minimised the impact of these moments. Wilson saw Scott, warts and all, but believed the greatness of the man outweighed these deficits. It was said that Wilson was a competent artist from a very early age and some of his paintings are magnificent, especially considering the conditions in which he was painting. A doctor and naturalist with a reputation for detail Wilson was admired for his work on Scott’s previous expedition aboard the Discovery. He was a religious man who remained with Scott throughout and died next his friend. His final letter to his wife read “your little testament and prayer book will be in my hand or breast pocket when the end comes. All is well…’

Scott and the party are still on night marches and are making about 10miles a night. The teams still set out from their camp at staggered times to allow the slow ones a head start. However, as the faster ones catch up there is a temptation to then walk together, but this forces the faster teams to reduce their pace. Wright let go of Chinaman to examine some equipment and the horse decided to gallop off, followed by Jehu. The moment amused those not involved and once all was calm Scott reflected on the life and energy still in these two horses after they were given little chance at the start. Christopher is difficult as usual and the conclusion is drawn that if they ever see a more relaxed Christopher it would be a sign that he was losing his strength not his fight. The sastrugi (irregular groves or ridges on the snow surface) are variable and the surface hard. Mears and the dog teams completed the 10 miles with ease and wanted to go further. Scott’s mood is ‘hopeful’ and the weather is good with only a little southerly wind to spoil the moment, temperature at -12.

Through rank, politics and pragmatism Teddy Evans was the expeditions second in command but Edward Wilson had perhaps a more influential role in the group. Wilson had Scott’s trust more than anyone else and he had accompanied Scott on the previous expedition, the two men were close friends. Wilson played a vital role as interpreter of Scott’s moods and also as peace keeper. While Scott was in England considering another journey south Shackleton began preparing for his own expedition. Wilson remained friends with both men and oversaw a compromise between the two men, circumstances would see that agreement broken but Wilsons importance was clear and he remained loyal to the bitter end. He was the steady, consistent, calm go to man of the group and as such was a conduit into and out of Scott’s planning and decision making, he was the loyal companion leaders need, even isolated and lonely ones. The challenge within such a relationship is to be honest and challenging with each other, how honest was Wilson with Scott, did the strong and loyal relationship allow criticism ?

About hutpoint

Interested in leadership, teamwork, resistance, perseverence and change. A former senior nurse dedicated to learning from and sharing with other flawed humans.
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