Hidden Injury. Yesterday PO Evan’s and Crean converted the 12 foot sledges into 10 footers. PO Evans injured his hand. It is not clear if this is an old would or a new deep cut but it was serious and it was hidden from all the officers. Small injuries become serious if the body cannot heal. The men are expending more calories than they are taking onboard and the nutrient value of the food is questionable making natural healing slow or impossible.
Scott’s Journal 1st January 1912. ‘Roused hands at 7:30 and got away by 9:30’. Teddy Evan’s and his team set off first and make good progress on foot while Scott follows on Ski. ‘Very stupidly we had not seen to our ski shoes beforehand and it took a good half hour to get them right’. Once away they made good progress and gained on the team ahead who were on foot. By the end of the march they were now 9600 feet above the ice barrier and had completed 11 miles. They were a little delayed after lunch as Scott repaired the cooker and PO Evans the tent. Scott is surprised how easily the sledge pulls and comments that ‘we have hardly exerted ourselves all day’. The temperature is falling although mainly with the wind and Scott’s progress on ski has been good as they did not encounter any hard ice patches. Scott concludes his entry, ‘we are very comfortable in our double tent, stick of chocolate to celebrate new year. The supporting party not in high spirits, they have not managed matters well for themselves. Prospects seem to get brighter – only 170 miles to go and plenty of food left’.
Commentary. Scott admits to a stupid mistake today with regard the ski shoes, perhaps as basic for experienced polar explorers as the errors he became upset with Teddy Evan’s for making a few days ago. Scott is critical of the second team again, perhaps this is part of the process he needs to go through to talk himself into the decision needed. In a few days some of the men will be told to turn and head back. Another injury is kept from Scott, so now we have Oates and PO Evan’s both carrying injuries that the commander, and man who must make decisions concerning their survival, does not know about. Commentators talk about the men hiding injuries to ensure they have a chance of making the last party while other talk of men not wanting to be seen as weak or as letting the team down. In such cases over communication on the mundane is essential as is over diligence from the senior leaders – this relationship does not appear to be present. Teddy Evan’s sometimes gets accused of not pulling as hard as the others, perhaps he is thinking in a similar way, and he must remain strong enough to make it into the last party. Yesterday Scott recorded that 3 men saw in the new year in one tent and 5 men the other. Lashly, PO Evan’s and Crean, the seamen, were in one tent while Teddy Evan’s, Wilson, Bowers, Oates and Scott, the officers, were in the other. It appears hierarchical and unhealthy from a modern perspective but I have no sense of the normality of the age or if Crean, Lashly and Evan’s actually preferred their own space. Teddy Evan’s describes that New Years Eve as being warm and friendly with very open conversation in which the men shared a great deal about themselves and their experiences. There are reports of warmth and humour and some very genuine signs of affection as the men enjoyed each others company. At one point Scott comments that they have been talking for 4 hours. This affection seems very different to the often hostile picture we have gathered of some of the relationships between these men. Perhaps the shared experience and the achievement was allowing them to see all they had accomplished with a new perspective. If they had all survived then a growing respect would come out of the shared experience and maybe a different understanding of the bond these men share would emerge. But I wonder why the conversation, warmth and humour in the group makes very little appearance in Scott’s journal, does he not see its importance or is it that he does not recognise the more harmful and lasting effects of people relating to people ? Scott seems to get angry and describes his frustration with others but he also forgives and carries no grudges. Perhaps he believed that positive achievement would trump negative emotion, maybe he is right, but he has to successfully survive for that to happen.