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LIFE ON BOARD THE DISCOVERY., Otago Witness, Issue 2561, 15 April 1903
LIFE ON BOARD THE DISCOVERY.
THE GREAT SLEDGE JOURNEY
(From Oca Own Correspondent.)
CHRISTCHGRCH, March 27
A man of some varied cxpsrieoice is Mr Buckridge, one of the Discovery men, who has rrturned by tl.e Morning. Prior to joining the expedition he saw servica with General Kuher in the South African war, during which ho was in throe companies, rising to the position of Sergeant-major. Mr Bucknd'^e. in the eour^-s of a chat with a representative of Truth, made no secret of his reason for re-turning to civilisation. He stated That aft-cr lie had hocn on several sledging journeys he was put on laboratory duty, which ke-pt Urn pennedup on boa'd from 7 o'clock m the morning till 6at night This mc-ant that any exercise he wanted ho had to titko in Ins own time, and excrc.-o is a prime necessity in those regions. He much preferred outdoor work, and would have rathor been with the sledging parties, despite the 1 ard manual work the}' entailed. He sus^e&ted to Captain Scott that ho would like a change of occupation, but tho commander tculci not ccc his way to make any alteration. In addition to tha confinement that thp laboratory work meant, it was also much nitre monotonous than the outdoor \.ork. Consequently, though willing to stay if gnen outdoor work. Mr Biickndze had ('crimed objections to remain at the cinp'oypie-nt ho was engaged tip-in. In view of tho rumour prev-ak-ist rc^ai'l'irr the outfit cf t'u? ]!i--covery. the icprrte- q:ie=;tio.i->d Mr Bur-k-r.djro pearc'rivjly o;i tli.s ponu ' Tho clothing provided," Mr Buckridgo «ud,
" was made of the very best material, but it seems to me that most extraordinary and ridiculous g prices were paid for it. For instance, we had each a reefer jacket, boxcloth coat, and reefer trousers. I don't know what was paid for this suit for the Discovery, but 1 learn that similar suits for the Morning's men co6t £7 10s. Compared with tho Morning's men we did not get anything liko tho clothing they received. Each man on the relief ship, I understand, got four suits similar to that described above, whilst we had one suit. They had six suits of Jaeger underclothing, with mita and socks in abundance. We had three suits of underclothing, and during winter we had to sot to and make mits out of blankets. All the fur apparel brought had to be cut up and altered, and we had to re-make the sleeping bags, although these goods were bought, s» it is understood, by one who had experience cf polar expeditions. Captain Scott, after a three days' practical experience of them, say.' that certain alterations were necessary. He had his ov.*n apparel altered, and left it to everyone else to do so or not, as suited them, and I think I can safoly say that everyone altered their apparel in accordance with the commander's • ideas. The leaders of the different sledging parties had full j»ower to take what supplies they wished, but I noticed that they practically took the same gear and supplies that the commander had found efficient and sufficient. Not only did Captain Scott alter the apparel, but also the sledges themselves and details in connection with their loading — in fact^ he appeared to acquire knowledge in a week or two that some would have not acquired after years of experience. We had an ample eupply of tinned food, but its issue was stopped in' the middle of winter until the time we left. So long as food is good and wholesome I am not one to find fault, and I cannot growl about the food supplied on the Discovery. The great treat we all looked forward to was the New Zealand mutton, which we got every Sunday, and which wa3 always splendid. Under Dr Eoettlitz's advice we lived on seal from the middle of winter right up to the time we left. This diet had the "effect of preventing scurvy."
"About the statements made regarding scurvy having attacked the rae>n, can you give any inf orcnation ? " the reporter asked, at the same time drawing Mr Buckridge's atteutictfi to what has already been published on the point.
"All I know," the Discovery man replied, " is that on Lieutenant Armitage returning from the western sledge journey Dr Koettlitz said that every member of the party was tainted with scurvy — indeed, Mr Ferrier's legs were swollen with it. One man (Cream by name-) had scurvy, but recovered by going on a sledge journey. Dr Wilson, on his return from the great southern sledge journey, was suffering from the same complaint, aud was laid up when wo left, although he was getting better according to Dr Koettlitz. We were all more or less tainted with scurvy."
Mr Buckridge, who was one of the party who accompanied Lieutenant Armiteze on the western sledge journeyv supplied some further details of that trip:— "l am the only man who has come by the Morning who went with Lieutenant Armitage the whole of the distance, and we were away for seven weeks and three days. When we left Dr Koettlitz and some of the others were then supposed to be at the top of a glacier, but it afterwards proved to be an ice slide. From this slide we saw the most wonderful scenery I have ever beheld. We were then at an altitude of 5000 ft, and 3000 ft below us there was a glacier shimmering in the sun, looking for all the world like a river that had been frozen over in an instant. The desc-nt to this glacier was quite precipitous, and for some time Lieutenant Armitage would not venture on the descent, and it was a week before he was persuaded that the* journey could be done. At length a start was made, and we had a meet exciting time negotiating the slope between our position and the glacier. We descended 1300 ft in Imin lOsec, hanging on by the traps to the back of the sledges, the weight of which wa= sufficient impetus for them to descend. As toon as tho sledges got way on all we could do was to guide them, otherwise they were beyond control. The experience was somewhat similar to a ride on a ewitchbaclf, only there was no switchback. After getting over the glacier we ascended to 8000 ft. About this time Macfarlane fell down in harness exhausted. Respiration at those altitudes is difficult, and possibly this contributed to his breakdown. Anyway he did no more pulling, and a camp was formed, and Macfarlane was left behind with some of the par»y — Armitage, Skelton, Stock, Courtnay. Evans, and my.self goinsc on. We continued westward for four clpys, ond gained the summit of the ice ca^:,_ where observations were taken. The view from this point was extensive, and wo saw several points of new land and also ir-lmnd ice, descending in undulations to tlio ice barrier. To tie north we could see nothing but ire, whicli wan highfr than that westward of i.s. On the return journey Lleuttca.it Armitage fell down a crevasse, and was hung suspended about 50ft below the stufac?. As wo were all harnss=ed together h ; s fall to tl.e bottom, probably pbout 2000 ft, was prevented. We got him out all right, and uninjureJ. At tome pc:tion? of th? journey, I might state, we were engaged in rro^'ir..' r.ore oreva-i-es than so.id ie?. Seme of these were probably 2000 ft clcep._ We joined with tho party left with Macfarlar.e on cur way to thr> ship. MacfaiJane walked a part of the dibtai-cc ivlong'-ide a sledge, but afterwards he i ode, the distance covered in th:.3 way being between 120 and 130 miles."
As iiidloi'tir.g the tremeruous force cf the blizzards encountered in the Antarctic regions. Mr Burkiidgc state.} that v;crc above hurricane foice. The windmill on the Discovery, which was prowded to generate fl-ectnoity fci h^htu.g i i.rpcio. v.as t\v;cc blo'vn down On tlie sregnd occasion the biizzaru practically smu-hed it to pieces, and c'ld c o rr.rth damage that it could not b" re-erected. Sfakins; of his commander, Mr Buckridge €\pie-»-eJ tlif orir.itti that lie is the right man in the right place, and the O'lly thing 1 that the men under him complained cf ie that he ucps not look after the' internal arrangement of things i-ufticicntly, taking \ery often li.s officers' op'.niiu of the n en rather than foiminß his own opinion of th«m. Mr Bnckndfjo foes not think that ha*, ing a en w coinpos^t! partly of naval men and partly of rmhans has proved ultOßoiher a iuocc* in the Di'=ccver\'o ca^e. At anyrato. he s-tates that quite a different ''ta.te of thingF na.s aiiparont on tiio Morning ns compaicd with tl.ose on the Ditco\eiy Diir.ng the winter « the men all lived on ivsrJ, the hv.t vrpck^d nor ]>en,£ op?d as ,i h&bitauon. lv v »vcxe held a uuiaber of
entertainments, got up to lessen the tedium of their life. Sometimes in the winter the temperature on the Discovery in the living quarters was as high as 80 degrees. To-day tha men of the Morning were engaged nutting things generally cm board in a ship-shape state. Some stores taken for the Discovery, but not wanted, were landed and inspected. A number of penguin skins, evidently intended for the museum, were also landed.
The Hon. C. C. Bowen visited the Morning to-day and had a lengthy conference with Captain Colbeck. It is understood <hat the crew of the Morning will be paid tomorrow. The men brought back from, the Discovery, with the exception of the naval men, have only received £1 each eince th«ir arrival. Captain Scott's crew now ccmeiste of uaval men, with the exception cf two civilians. One of these wished to return with the Morning, but. being the only practical batcer on board, he could not be spared.
LIFE ON BOARD THE DISCOVERY., Otago Witness, Issue 2561, 15 April 1903
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