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The interpretation and probable dating of conversations found in Victor Campbell's field note-book, written while in a snow-cave on Inexpressible Island, Antarctica, during the winter of 1912

  • Don Webster (a1)

Abstract

Scott's Northern Party, led by Victor Campbell, after almost a year at Cape Adare was moved south by Terra Nova. They landed at Evans Cove for five weeks’ sledging in the Wood Bay area. Bad ice-conditions prevented the vessel from returning. Campbell's party, stranded with little food and only summer equipment, faced the 1912 winter alone. For shelter they dug a snow-cave and there survived for seven months, living mainly on seals and penguins. Finally in early spring they sledged 230 miles back to Scott's party at Cape Evans. The small snow-cave provided little privacy. Authors have mentioned how Campbell divided the cave into two virtual messes, one for the ratings, the other for the officers, with the associated naval implications that conversations in one mess were not to be ‘paid attention to’ in the other. Still, at times, private exchanges were needed. Hooper describes one silent conversation between Campbell and Levick found in the latter's cave-diary, and mentions some others relating to health matters. This paper describes one drawing and nine new written conversations between Campbell, Levick and Priestley found in a field-notebook held in the Victor Campbell Collection at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. The conversations are transcribed, interpreted, and placed in the context of the life in the snow-cave. All were written during September, their last month there, and show that officers often needed to converse silently in writing and, furthermore, that the two-mess concept was not a satisfactory context for private conversations.

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References

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Grenville, N. 1988. The papers of Captain Victor Campbell. St John's, Newfoundland: Memorial University. Centre for Newfoundland Studies Col-010.
Harrowfield, D.L. 1995. Icy heritage, historic sites of the Ross Sea region. Christchurch, NZ: Antarctic Heritage Trust.
Hooper, M. 2010. The longest winter. London: John Murray.
Huxley, E. 1977. Scott of the Antarctic. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
King, H.G.R. 2001. The wicked mate. The Antarctic diary of Victor Campbell. Norwich: Bluntisham Books Erskine Press.
Lambert, K. 2004. The longest winter, the incredible survival of Captain Scott's lost party. Washington: Smithsonian Books.
Priestley, R. 1915. Antarctic adventure, Scott's Northern Party. New York: E.P. dutton and Co.
Raeside, A. 2009. Return to the Antarctic. Mississauga, On: John Wiley and Sons, Canada.
Skinner, D. 1962–1963. Photograph, summer 1962–1963. Christchurch NZ: Antarctic NZ Pictorial Collection, HS19.

The interpretation and probable dating of conversations found in Victor Campbell's field note-book, written while in a snow-cave on Inexpressible Island, Antarctica, during the winter of 1912

  • Don Webster (a1)

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