Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter


Excerpts from Frederick Hooper’s diary

F.J. Hooper was one of the party who went searching for Captain Scott, Wilson, Bowers, Captain Oates, and P.O. Evans in October 1912, after the Polar Party had not returned from their push for the South Pole the previous March. His diary was started as a letter to his fiancee, and recounts the Search Party’s quest to find the Polar Party, a journey which unexpectedly culminated on 12th November 1912 with the discovery of a tent containing the bodies of Scott, Wilson, and Bowers. Here are some brief excerpts from Hooper’s diary:

17th October 1912
We are to leave here, Cape Evans, on Oct 29th for Hut Point where we shall stay 3 days packing sledges for a start on the night of the 1st Nov weather permitting. 7 mules 2 dog teams & 11 men, 8 men with the mules, 3 men with the dogs are the party going south. Most of the food is at Hut Point, so we leave there finally.

29th October 1912
Left Cape Evans at 10.30 a.m. for Hut Point where we shall make our final start, overcast when starting, Erebus covered with a cloud. After being on the way for an hour the sun broke through the clouds. … We are starting for the south tomorrow night, Oct 30th.

30th October 1912
Up at 8.0 to breakfast, packed sledges. … Had lunch at 1.0 p.m. & turned in till 6.0 p.m. Had supper and got underway at 7.15. Absolutely splendid surface to Cape Armitage, not so good to barrier, sledges drawing light, but mules sinking above the fetlock. Reached the Barrier edge about 9.0 p.m., and had a little trouble in getting mules over. … Camped about 2 miles in on the Barrier at 11.0 p.m. … Mr Wright, Lashly, Keohane & I are tent mates.

2nd November 1912
Corner Camp. A very dull day, wind & drift from the south. … Started blizzarding just before turning in, temperature minus 10.

7th, 8th November 1912
A very bright day, cloudless sky, good marching, another 12 miles. … Temperature at lunchtime 62 degrees of frost, tonight 49 below. We are now 4 miles south of Bluff Depot, 103 miles from Cape Evans.

8th, 9th November 1912
… We are now 16 miles north of 1 Ton Depot which we hope to reach the day after tomorrow.

9th, 10th November 1912
12 miles, good today. Weather bright but cold. Surface soft in places. Temperature 55 degrees of frost at lunch. Tonight much warmer 41 degrees. Abdullah is absolutely tired out, & so are all of them. He has not eaten anything again today. I have got a few frostbites on my fingers & also my face. As a matter of fact we are all suffering from frostbites. We are now camped 4 miles north of 1 Ton Depot.

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