Bowers. Teddy Evans wrote and account of the expedition (South With Scott). In the text he reproduces sections from the journals of others telling their story of the march south and back. There is a section from Birdie Bowers entry for today. ‘Our record march today. With a good breeze and improving surface we were soon in amongst the double tracks where the supporting party had left us. Then we picked up the memorable camp where I transferred to the advance party. How glad I was to change over’. There are some further descriptions and the usual details of navigation, position and environment. But essentially that is the last entry from Bowers that has anything of his personality attached to it. Wilson also made a diary entry describing the pain he was in from a bruise on his shin. It was so bad he needed to come out of the skis and walk while Bowers was then able to use the ski. Williams reports that it is believed Wilson’s description of the injury is the first known of a condition called ‘Compartment Syndrome’, a now well recognised condition suffered by athletes.
Scott’s Journal 29th January 1912. A terrific march in terms of miles covered as the party complete over 19 miles today. They had clear tracks and a good wind behind them. They are also able to follow the tracks of the return party of Teddy Evans, Crean and Lashly. The surface looks different to Scott than it did during the outward journey. Snow has been blown into heaps and the movement has ‘polished’ the surface and the sledge runs easily. Only 24 miles to the next depot but Scott agin reports that the men are getting hungrier. They hope to be able to increase rations after the next depot. Scott concludes, ‘It is monotonous work but than God the miles are coming fast at last. We ought not to be delayed much now with the down-grade in front of us’.
Commentary. When Teddy Evans concluded his recreation of Bowers journal he states, ‘it must be the beginning of the end’. Other authors have also commented on this moment, the change in the journal of Birdie Bowers. The character and personality of Bowers had been so distinctive, he was relentless, did not complain, loyal, positive and a any criticism was always targeted at himself. His journal changed and became a functional record of height, distance and temperature with none of his personality present. Bowers, and his colleagues, had undergone an ordeal like no other. They were tired, injured, cold and hungry. When the party stopped marching for the day Bowers had these other tasks to conclude and maybe the change in the journal is simply time, the need to get to food and rest as soon as possible. This change in Bowers is noted in most of the texts and it indicates that the unique character and personality of Bowers was recognised. Bowers has more reason than anyone in history to cease keeping a journal but it is a lesson for leaders that even the most powerful of characters and positive personalities have a point at which things may change. Knowing the normal personality and character of the team is an important element of leadership. Observing and noticing when changes occur, and then being able to respond is essential in maintaining morale and effectiveness. Time spent learning about the members of a team is time well spent and is a core component of a leaders role.