Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard (1886-1959)

Letters written by Apsley Cherry-Garrard to his mother during the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-13, will be on display at The Polar Museum until May 2014. The Museum has been lent this exclusive collection of letters by The Richard C Dehmel Trust.

Many I am afraid are ancient history on the light of recent events.

Apsley Cherry-Garrard

Cherry-Garrard, author of The Worst Journey in the World, was the assistant zoologist and part of Captain Scott’s support team. In March 1912, accompanied by Russian dog-driver, Dmitriy Gerov, he reached One Ton Depot carrying supplies for the returning Polar Party. Unable to stay longer than six days due to a lack of dog food and concern for Gerov's deteriorating health, Cherry-Garrard had no means of knowing that Scott's party was just 60 miles further south. He regretted the decision to return to base for the rest of his life. When Scott failed to reach Cape Evans, it was clear that he and all those with him had died. Cherry-Garrard was a member of the search party, which later found and buried the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers in November 1912.

The letters now on display at The Polar Museum cover the entire expedition south towards the Antarctic stopping at Madeira, South Trinidad, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Momentous occasions are recorded including Cherry-Garrard breaking his left wrist and the time when Herbert Ponting, the expedition photographer, was almost eaten by killer whales.

The display of letters will be changed over the coming months according to the year in which they were written so that members of the public can see the progression of the journey and read Cherry-Garrard’s first hand experiences. Selected letters from 1910 will be on display until 8 February 2014, beginning with two telegrams sent on the Terra Nova's departure from Cardiff in June of that year. From 10 February – 29 March 2014 letters which include sketches of the Ross Ice Shelf in 1911 will be exhibited and 31 March – 17 May 2014 will see 1912-13 represented, including an account of finding the bodies of the Polar Party. The final poignant letter was written from New Zealand, where Cherry was able to post his earlier correspondence, though he noted, "many I am afraid are ancient history on the light of recent events”.

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