Captain Lawrence Oates - Self Sacrifice Antarctic Oates family photo
Photo provided courtesy of the United States Library of Congress.

Captain Lawrence Oates - Self Sacrifice Antarctic

Captain Lawrence Edward Grace ("Titus") Oates, born March 17th 1880 and died March 16th, 1912, was an English explorer best remembered for his self-sacrifice during an expedition into the Antarctic. This particular photo of Captain Oates was taken around 1910 or 1911 during his journey with Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to the South Pole. Having relatively little experience, he was accepted in thanks to his strength and expertise with horses, but I believe that Robert was upset with his choice given that Lawrence and he argued continually during the expedition.

During their expedition the team ran into multiple issues due to the extreme weather, status of the animals, and other ailments. Lawrence Oats himself fell prey to a combination of frostbite and scurvy, causing him immense pain in his feet during the return journey home. After days of agony, Lawrence asked that the rest of the group proceed without him as his condition slowed the group and risked them running out of food.

With the team not willing to leave him behind, Lawrence Oates excused himself for a 'long walk' and left the tent to never return. Captain Robert Falcon Scott wrote in his diary "We knew that poor Oates was walking to his death, but though we tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman". Unfortunately, his valiant effort did not save the rest of the team. The rest of the expedition, including Captain Scott died just a few days later, only twenty miles away from the nearest supply depot.
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Capt. Oates
1 photographic print ; 16.5 x 11.8 cm (image), 29.3 x 24.3 cm (mount)
Photograph shows Capt. Lawrence Oates, full-length portrait, standing, facing front, holding shovel in right hand, during the British Antarctic Expedition.
  • J181347 U.S. Copyright Office.
  • Title from published source.
  • Copyright 1913 May 12, by Herbert G. Ponting.
  • Published in: The Great White South... / by Herbert G. Ponting, F.R.G.S. New York : Robert M. McBride & Co., 1922.
  • Miscellaneous Items in High Demand
  • Oates, Lawrence Edward Grace,--1880-1912.
  • British Antarctic ("Terra Nova") Expedition--(1910-1913)
  • Explorers--British--Antarctica--1910-1920.
  • Clothing & dress--Antarctica--1910-1920.
  • Photographic prints--1910-1920.
  • Portrait photographs--1910-1920.
Ponting, Herbert George, photographer
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Photo taken at Antarctic Expedition, Antarctic