Scott 100 Day 93 1st February 1912 : A clean side

A clean side. Lashly and Teddy Evans have been on the ice for over 100 days and are returning to the Cape with Tom Crean. The party left Scott and the others to complete the pole trip. In Lashly’s diary notes, reproduced by Cherry-Garrard, he remarked yesterday that the temperatures were high, very different to Scott who is still on the plateau. Lashly also notes today that he has changed his shirt and that of the 2 shirts he has had with him this is the last clean side as he changed round his shirt once a month. Smith reports that Teddy Evans, who is normally ‘buoyant’ was ‘uncharacteristically gloomy and pessimistic’. Evans had recorded that he was very disappointed at not being included in the final party that made for the pole and this ‘had not helped’. Lashly was becoming aware of the worsening condition of Teddy Evans and is determined to push on. Within Scott’s party there is also a change in the men. Scott had noted that PO Evans was deteriorating physically but was also commenting on his decreaseing ability to cop and Bowers has stopped his normal chatty entries into his diary. It is around this point in the story that Huntford believes Bowers began to become aware of Scott’s ‘incompetence’. Bowers knew the situation with the supplies and also the margins that existed for delay and while they were searching for their last depot had noted, ‘we have only three days food with us and shall be in queer street if we miss the depot’.

Scott’s Journal 1st February 1912. Minimum temperature of -20 today and it was a hard day of pulling. Things improved in the afternoon as they came downhill but then the surface turned bad again, sandy drifts and hard work for all. They marched on past 8pm and past a previous cairn that marked a weeks walk to the next depot and they have 8 days food left on full feeding. Scott increased rations and it made a big difference to the men. Wilsons leg is much better but Evans has more trouble with his hands and his finger nails are coming off.

Commentary. Teddy Evans is not going well and the comments concerning his disappointment at not going to the pole touch on another of the Terra Nova discussion points. Evans was supposed to be second in command, although Scott’s relationship with Wilson often seemed to contradict this positioning. Evans had become second in command when he had given up leading his own expedition to join with Scott. The story is that there was an understanding between Scott and Evans and that he would be in the final party. Throughout Evans comes in for repeated criticism from Scott, perhaps more than any other person. In the published account of the expedition by Evans he does not criticise Scott at all. It could be argued that his then position in the navy and the timing of the book (in the early 1920’s when Scott was seen as a hero) meant that the account he wrote was a glossy version without the grit of the real and complex relationships between the men on the ice. It is also true that others in the party were critical of Evans but I sense that he had been in a difficult place in his relationship with Scott and this transferred across to the men. A deputy who is seen not to have the trust of the leader will struggle to gain the respect of the team. The way to influence Scott was not through the hierarchy and declared formal lines of authority but through informal lines via Wilson, how did that make Evans feel ?. I wonder if Scott was aware of the complexity of the relationships beneath him and what he contributed to it. Communication and influence with the leader does not need to always be through formal lines and successful leadership is often the ability to work across established hierarchies. But ego is a powerful thing and if junior staff feel undermined, ignored, out of the loop or usurped it can have a devastating impact on morale and effectiveness.

About hutpoint

Interested in leadership, teamwork, resistance, perseverence and change. A former senior nurse dedicated to learning from and sharing with other flawed humans.
This entry was posted in bowers, evans, oates, scott, Uncategorized, wilson and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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