Under Scott’s Command: Lashly’s Antarctic Diaries

Lashly was a leading stoker on the Discovery and the Terra Nova, and was part of the South Pole expedition, making all but the final cut. He comes across well in a jingoistic book, e.g. Fuchs introduction: “This book is a further contribution to our knowledge of the happy atmosphere which pervaded two polar expeditions. It was the combination of great leadership and loyal support which added an epic to our history” (p. 10). The book certainly shows loyal support, esp. from Lashly, but scarcely hides the inadequacy of Scott’s leadership.

p. 40, reference to South Polar Times and the Blizzard as part of winter routine.

p. 41: Twelve months ago today we left England for Madeira. We have a nigger party [minstrel show] to celebrate the event tonight in the Royal Terror Theatre. [Officers also provided more substantial lectures.]

p. 70-1, 27th October 1902 on western journey: Scott found his “Hints to Travelers” was missing. This was the book containing the tables that were necessary for working out sun sights to establish their position when they got on to the featureless plateau. He was determined not to return to the ship again, and, with the agreement of the rest of the party, he decided to press on without the tables.

p. 110-111, winter routine in 1912, including description of Vol. 3 of South Polar Times, and the lectures of the South Polar University, including Scott’s lecture on “Future Plans” for the expedition.

p. 123, while waiting in tents for the main party toward last polar thrust: They spent long hours resting peacefully in their sleeping bags while day read to them from the Pickwick Papers.