27 September 2006
EDWARD LEICESTER ATKINSON (1882-1929)
Autograph letter signed to Captain Ramsay, the harbourmaster in Oamaru, Terra Nova, 14 February 1913, 2 pages, 8vo, on a bifolium, printed roundel of 'British Antarctic Expedition', uncancelled 'Victoria Land' 1d stamp attached to upper margin of p.1 (short splits at folds, light soiling to margins).
THE BREAKING OF NEWS OF SCOTT'S DEATH: Atkinson writes with thanks for Captain Ramsay's reception of himself and Pennell when they landed incognito on the night of 10 February to send off the official telegram reporting the fate of the expedition, mentioning 'your great kindness to two complete strangers who arrived under suspicious circumstances. I think you will appreciate what a fine story is that of the Southern Party and their noble end ... Thank you also for your kindness in keeping silent', and promising to have Ramsay's daughter's autograph book duly filled in by all the expedition members.
Ramsay's discretion was necessitated by the expedition's exclusive contract with the Central News Agency, who had to be the first to get the news -- to the extent that after landing Atkinson and Pennell, Terra Nova stood off and cruised around for a day to preserve the embargo. Originally the junior surgeon and parasitologist, Atkinson was left by default the commander of the expedition during the last winter at Cape Evans.
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The Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project is an international project led by the Antarctic Heritage Trust (NZ) to conserve the iconic expedition bases of Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Carsten Borchgrevink located in Antarctica: www.heritage-antarctica.org/index.cfm
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