25 September 2002
HENRY ROBERTSON 'BIRDIE' BOWERS (1883-1912)
A Royal Indian Marine menu, dated '8.4.10' and signed 'H R Bowers Lieut R.I.M.', 6½ x 4¼in. (16.5 x 10.8cm.), framed with a photograph of Bowers in the Antarctic after Herbert George Ponting, a contact print by Ponting of Bowers and others working in the hut at Cape Evans, a photograph of stores being unloaded from the Terra Nova at Cape Evans, and reproduction of the memorial tablet to Bowers erected in St. Thomas' Cathedral, Bombay and St. Ninian's Church, Port Bannatyne, Bute.
22¾ x 18½in. (57.8 x 47cm.) including frame.
The menu records a farewell dinner for Bowers in Bombay on the eve of his departure to London to join Scott's Terra Nova expedition. He wrote to his mother the following day: 'Bombay. Apr. 9, '10. I am sure you will be awaiting some explanation of what you will consider to be a bomb-shell. Well, mother dear, I know how you have stuck out against polar exploration for me, and now I out of 8,000 am appointed without even an application. One can only say it is destiny -- it cannot be helped, and had to be ... On arriving here the Director told me of my appointment and congratulated me, and now cables are flying about like smoke and your son has become a curio. Capt. Hunt is highly pleased and I was dined by the Foxes at the Yacht Club last night ...' (quoted in G. Seaver, 'Birdie' Bowers of the Antarctic, London: 1938, pp.146-7.)
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