SCOTT & The South-Pole

Albert Borlase Armitage

Armitage was born in Perthshire; he became a captain in the Royal Navy; then joined the merchant marine.

His first polar experience was with a group of intrepid, English polar explorers, the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition, 189497.

"After eight years service with the P & O he was nominated by the company for the proposed North Polar Expedition. His initial appointment was that of Observer for which he was given some training at Kew Observatory but by the time the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition set sail for Franz Josef land he was made second in command of the expedition. For three years the expedition was cut off from the world on Franz Josef Land, extensively exploring and surveying the region [North of Russia, North of the Kara Sea]. He claims he was the first person to sight Nansen coming in off the Arctic ocean after his epic journey from the Fram but it was Jackson who first met Nansen and Johanssen. Armitage remained a most ardent admirer of Nansen for the rest of his days. According to Armitage the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition 'fell rather flat' achieving very little other than the slaughter of a great number of bears and other wild life. 'It was one of the worst [experiences] and one of the best that can be imagined, and affected all my subsequent life.' The main effect of both this expedition and his time with the Discovery Expedition seems to have been his loss of promotion with P & O, and this rankled. He certainly lost four years employment with P & O by virtue of this first expedition. However, this did not deter him from volunteering for Scott's Discovery Expedition." (
During the Discovery Expedition, this earlier expedition, Armitage, because of contracting scurvy (I think?) was offered the chance to go home on compassionate grounds, but chose to interpret the offer as a personal slight, and refused. Armitage also promoted the idea that the decision to send Shackleton home, on this very same expedition, arose from Scott's animosity, rather than Shackleton's physical breakdown.

GO TO A List of Persons Involved with Scott at the South-Pole

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Peter Landry