Scott 100 Day 32 2nd December 1911 : Horsemeat for all the men

Demetri Gerof. Gerof was recommended to Meares as an experienced dog handler when he bought the dogs and horses in Siberia. He survived the expedition and went on to become a gold miner.

Scotts Journal December 2nd 1911. They march in poor light and falling snow and the horses did poorly due to them sinking deeply into the surface. With Christopher dead Oates took over Scotts horse ‘Snippets’ and Scott took to ski’s. Scott offered Oates the option not to lead a horse but to observe the progress of the other animals instead, but Oates preferred to lead a horse. The conditions did improve as the march went on and they arrived at camp in good condition. Victor is shot and Scott describes an emotional response from his lead, Bowers. Supplies for the horses are running out and so they must kill in order to get some horses through to the end. Scott describes the progress of the dogs as ‘splendid’ and they will now have their load increased. Scott has with him Frank Wild’s diary of the Shackleton expedition and compares weather reports. Wild reports bad weather as rare while Scott states that ‘fine weather has been the exception so fare’. The temperature was warm when they camped and the snow was melting as it fell. Oates swapped tents with Cherry-Garrard and is now in Scott’s tent and the men have all taken to eating horse meat and are well fed. The team recorded by Scott this day are; still leading horses, Wilson, Oates, Keohane, Pettyy Officer Evans, Cherry-Garrard and Crean. Scott and Bowers are walking / skiing with Teddy Evans, Atkinson, Wright and Lashley manhauling. Scott does not mention Meares or Demetri Gerof with the dogs as being part of the group.

Commentary. Bowers was more than a little upset at the shooting of Victor. Bowers describes the horse as ‘splendid’ and keeping ahead of the others carrying a heavy load and ‘it was an awful pity to have shoot a great strong animal’.  Bowers cut off Victor’s hooves and buried them to be collected on the return trip. Cherry-Garrard had noted some criticism of the horses as well and Scotts journal either recognises the public story he is privately writing or he himself is blind to his mens real emotions and opinions. Oates had cared for the horses since they met up in New Zealand and now with Christopher gone he had a chance to have a greater role in caring for the rest, but he refused, I wonder why ? But now Scott is given a further opportunity to rethink the use of his men. When the horse party met up with the manhauling tractor party it was clear that manhauling had taken more out of the men than leading the horses. Now with men freed from horse duty he could rotate the manhauling group and conserve strength and condition in all his men. Why didn’t he do this ? The underlying narrative at this stage of the march is that Scott had not decided on the final group who would head for the pole. If this is true he should have rested some of those who had been manhauling since the tractors failed and also allow others some time to become familiar with manhauling techniques. It could be that the rhythm of manhauling is established by a fixed group and Scott did not want to break this, although Scott had spilt groups before. Or had Scott already decided that some men were not going to be in the final push ?

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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2 Responses to Scott 100 Day 32 2nd December 1911 : Horsemeat for all the men

  1. Brian N says:

    Scott wanted Oates to ” Obserrve the progress over the other horses” but to what end? To decide when to kill them perhaps? Delegating the responsibility away from himself.

    At this point none of the final party are manhauling. It would seem that he preferred to conserve some at the expense of others.

    • hutpoint says:

      Absolutely and yet had not declared so to the men. It’s must have appeared strange or obvious. Wonder why he did not conserve the final party mores by stating so right from the outset – or at least when underway and he could see their performance. Thanks for the contribution.

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