SCOTT & The South-Pole

Edgar Evans ("Taff" or "PO")

Edgar Evans in Sledging Gear

Evans was born in Wales, the son of a seaman. At the age of 15, he joined the Royal Navy. In 1899 he was serving on HMS Majestic, where Scott was serving as junior officer, a lieutenant.

"Scott's biographer Roland Huntford described Evans as 'a huge, bull-necked beefy figure' and a 'beery womanizer' who was 'running a bit to fat' by the time of Scott's second expedition in Terra Nova. Evans was nearly left behind in New Zealand when he drunkenly fell into the water while boarding the ship. However, held in high regard by Scott for 'his resourcefulness, his strength and fund of anecdotes,' Scott decided to overlook the incident." (
He served with Scott in the Discovery Expedition of 1901-4 (Savours, Scott's Last Voyage, p. 15)
"During their time in Lyttleton, there was an endless round of socializing. During one reception on the upper deck with local notables, P.O."Taff" Evans arrived back on the dockside from a run ashore roaring drunk and then fell into the dock in front of all the visitors whilst trying to board the ship. Scott could not protect him this time and at the insistence of Teddy Evans, he was put ashore in disgrace. The Terra Nova sailed for Port Chalmers without either Scott or P.O. Evans! Port Chalmers was to be the last port of call before leaving for Antarctica and Scott planned to travel down overland after last minute fundraising in Christchurch as the expedition was still heavily in debt. Taff Evans, the picture of contriteness, approached Scott cap in hand, time & time again asking to be taken back. Scott relented, much to the anger of Teddy Evans, who had again been overridden. It was clear to the other members that Taff Evans was a Scott favourite. From then on there was a certain coolness between the leader & his 2nd in command." (
At the time Scott chose Evans, he was a Petty Officer (1st Class). He was undoubtedly a hard bitten sailor.

Scott wrote of Evans on January 8th, 1912:

"Evans, a giant worker with a really remarkable headpiece. It is only now I realise how much has been due to him. Our ski shoes and crampons have been absolutely indispensable, and if the original ideas were not his, the details of manufacture and design and the good workmanship are his alone. He is responsible for every sledge, every sledge fitting, tents, sleeping-bags, harness, and when one cannot recall a single expression of dissatisfaction with any one of these items, it shows what an invaluable assistant he has been. Now, besides superintending the putting up of the tent, he thinks out and arranges the packing of the sledge; it is extraordinary how neatly and handily everything is stowed, and how much study has been given to preserving the suppleness and good running qualities of the machine. On the Barrier, before the ponies were killed, he was ever roaming round, correcting faults of stowage."
On the return journey, Edgar Evans was the first of the five to die. He had suffered a wound to his hand as the group approached the pole. When the group made the wound became infected; plus, he was suffering from frostbite to his fingers, nose and cheeks. On descending the Beardmore Glacier, it is thought (for none of them lived to tell of it) that Evans fell into a crevasse and struck his head. On February 16th, nearing the base of the glacier, Evans collapsed and within days was dead; his body was buried in the snow near by and was not recovered.

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

Found this material Helpful?

[TOC >> SCOTT & The South-Pole]


Peter Landry