A number of Union flags, including one presented to Scott by the Queen, were taken on the Terra Nova. Two are illustrated in Ponting's photographs: a smaller Union flag hangs behind Scott in the famous photograph of the Midwinter Day Dinner at Cape Evans, and was probably the flag flown and left at the Pole ('We carried the Union Jack about of a mile north with us and left it on a piece of stick as near as we could fix it.' (R.F. Scott, Journal, Thursday morning, January 18.), and the large silk Union flag which decorates the table in Ponting's photograph of 'Captains Scott's Last Birthday Dinner', 6 June 1911, which is probably the present flag.
It was included, amongst a group of Scott's effects lent by his widow, then Lady Hilton Young, in the British Polar Exhibition in London in 1930 where it was described as '229 The Union Jack hoisted at the South Pole by Capt. Scott and his companions, on January 17th, 1912.' Cherry-Garrard records 'a flag' being recovered from the tent, which, if not a sledging flag, may suggest the present flag was carried to the Pole.
In March 1910 Queen Alexandra 'had presented Captain Scott at Buckingham Palace with a Union Jack to be placed on the furthest point south reached by the expedition, if possible on the Pole itself.' (The Daily Telegraph, 21 April, 1910)
The present flag otherwise is similar. if not identical with 'the large silken Union Jack...hoisted at Hut Point' to celebrate the King's birthday on 9 November, 1902 (R.F. Scott, The Voyage of the 'Discovery', London, 1907 new edition, II, p.96), and the present flag, like Scott's sledging flag (lot 203), may be a veteran of both Discovery and Terra Nova expeditions.