SCOTT & The South-Pole

Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard ("Cherry")
(18861959)

A Portrait Of Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard

Cherry-Garrard was born at Bedford, England. His father served in the British military forces in both India and China.

"He was educated at Winchester College and Christ Church, Oxford where he read Classics and Modern History. His surname was changed from Cherry to Cherry-Garrard by the terms of his great-aunt's will, through which his father inherited the enormous Lamer Park estate near Wheathampstead in Hertfordshire. Apsley inherited the estate on his father's death in 1907."1
Cherry, at only 24, was one of the youngest members of the Terra Nova Expedition (19101913).
"Cherry's application to join the expedition was initially rejected as Scott was looking for scientists, but he made a second application along with a promise of 1,000 (2009 approximation 50,000) towards the cost of the expedition. Rejected a second time, he made the donation regardless. Struck by this gesture, and at the same time persuaded by Dr Edward 'Bill' Wilson, Scott agreed to take Cherry as assistant biologist."2
Cherry made a trip to Cape Crozier (See map, click on upper right corner), to the far side of Ross Island, 60 miles from Scott's base at Cape Evans, in July, 1911, there to check the Emperor penguin colony and to get some eggs (they did and can be seen today at the Natural History Museum, London). The trip turned out to be a very trying one, but, eventually, they returned to base camp. (It can be mentioned here, that Cherry was nearsighted and could not wear his glasses when sledging, a navigational problem if he was alone or out front. "Cherry-Garrard is remarkable because of his eyes. He can only see through glasses and has to wrestle with all sorts of inconveniences in consequence. Yet one could never guess it -- for he manages somehow to do more than his share of the work."3
"Cherry was afterwards responsible for helping lay depots of fuel and food on the intended route of the party which would attempt to reach the South Pole, and accompanied the team that would make the attempt on the South Pole to the top of the Beardmore Glacier. Cherry was in the first group of those four who returned on 22 December 1911."4
Scott continued to have concerns about Cherry's ability and experience. On the trail, Scott put him on cooking duties. Scott thought that Cherry was not as aware of the little things as he ought to be. For example, on the trail, he would enter Scott's tent, with "all his footgear iced up, whilst Wilson and I nearly always have dry socks and finnesko to put on." (A finnesko is a boot made of birch-tanned reindeer skin with the hair left on the outside.) It seems Scott fathered him, a bit. At one point, we see Scott commenting (not so much about his cooking, I think), "He is excellent, and is quickly learning all the tips for looking after himself and his gear."

Cherry was with Atkinson and the search party when they set out in October of 1912 to see what happened to the South Pole team. When, on November 12th, the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers were discovered "Cherry was deeply affected, particularly by the death of Wilson and Bowers, with whom he had made the journey to Cape Crozier."5

"Cherry developed clinical depression as well as irritable bowel syndrome shortly after returning from Antarctica. His lifespan preceded the description and diagnosis of what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although his psychological condition was never cured, the explorer was able to treat himself to some extent by writing down his experiences, although he spent many years bed-ridden due to his afflictions."6
Cherry-Garrard is acclaimed for his historical account of the Terra Nova Expedition (19101913), The Worst Journey in the World; the BBC made a four part series out of the work. Sara Wheeler wrote a biography on Cherry.

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FOOTNOTES:
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsley_Cherry-Garrard

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsley_Cherry-Garrard

[3] Scott's Journal.

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsley_Cherry-Garrard

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsley_Cherry-Garrard

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsley_Cherry-Garrard

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Peter Landry
2013