Captain Robert Falcon Scott RN (centre, wearing balaclava) and members of the ill-fated British expedition to Antarctica (Picture: PA).
Arctic/Antarctic

Ice Pick From Doomed Captain Scott Antarctica Expedition To Be Auctioned

Captain Scott and four others died as they made their way back from the South Pole.

Captain Robert Falcon Scott RN (centre, wearing balaclava) and members of the ill-fated British expedition to Antarctica (Picture: PA).

Captain Robert Falcon Scott RN (centre, wearing balaclava) and some members of the ill-fated British expedition to Antarctica (Picture: PA).

An ice pick once owned by a member of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's doomed Antarctic expedition team is to be sold at auction.

Captain Scott, who was in the Royal Navy, was the leader of the Terra Nova British Antarctic Expedition - a scientific expedition across Antartica in which the group hoped to become the first people to reach the South Pole.

A group of five men, led by Captain Scott, arrived at the South Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that they had been preceded by Roald Amundsen's Norwegian expedition which arrived a month earlier.

Captain Scott and his comrades all perished on the return journey.

Geologist Frank Debenham was also part of the expedition but injured his knee while playing football in the snow and did not go on to the South Pole.

The ice pick, which Mr Debeham took on the start of the expedition in 1910, is to be sold at Cheffins in Cambridge where it has a pre-sale estimate of £200-£400.

Captain Robert Falcon Scott (Picture: PA).
Captain Scott (left) during the expedition (Picture: PA).

Mr Debenham died in 1965 but gifted the ice pick to a friend, who in turn gave it to its current owner.

Charles Ashton, a director at Cheffins, said: "Items dating back to the early expeditions, such as the Terra Nova, are really very rare to the open market.

"The ice pick has incredibly strong provenance and can be directly traced back to the well-known Frank Debenham, which will certainly help it to sell well."

It was on Captain Scott's expedition to the South Pole that Captain Lawrence Oates, one of his four companions, left his tent to sacrifice himself to the elements with the famous last words: "I am just going outside and may be some time."

He had been suffering frostbite and believed he was slowing the progress of the others.

"There is a real romanticism attached to Scott's expeditions," said Mr Ashton.

"Not too far from the public fascination with the Titanic, these great acts of exploration, hardship and bravery in the face of the unknown has always appealed to collectors from all over the world.

"The Terra Nova must be the most famous of all great expeditions, mainly because of its tragic end for the explorers."

The ice pick will go to auction as part of the Cheffins Fine Sale on 6 and 7 March.