Author Topic: Vaughan Williams's Veranda  (Read 343406 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3380 on: July 05, 2018, 07:28:24 AM »
I've just been reading about Lawrence Oates; he had numerous clashes with Scott but it seems it was only when they got to Antarctica that he realised Scott was totally inept. Quite why Scott chose a man with one leg shorter than the other (Oates) for the final party is beyond me; why Oates agreed to go is also mystifying.

Yes, Oates couldn't stand Scott. Unfortunately Oates's mother destroyed his diaries and letters after his death. Scott was determined that there should be representatives of the army and navy at the South Pole which is why Oates was foolishly chosen. This meant that they were a party of five with all the rations worked out for a four-man party. This also left the final returning party of only three - they nearly didn't survive either.

Roland Huntford wrote a hatchet job on Scott and Fiennes wrote a hagiography. No doubt the truth is somewhere in between.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 07:30:00 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline DaveF

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3381 on: July 05, 2018, 08:04:59 AM »
David Crane's biog ("Scott of the Antarctic") is the most balanced I've read.
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Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3382 on: July 05, 2018, 10:03:56 AM »
Well with any luck at all they would have been alive - they DID almost make it back despite all the blunders and miscalculations. The courage these people show are just staggering. Look around Antarctica how many landmarks, bodies of water are named after British explorers. That is an era the will never repeat itself.

Speaking of miserable has anyone seen a more depressing picture than this one?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3383 on: July 05, 2018, 10:17:55 AM »
David Crane's biog ("Scott of the Antarctic") is the most balanced I've read.

His book is excellent as well.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3384 on: July 05, 2018, 10:19:53 AM »
Well with any luck at all they would have been alive - they DID almost make it back despite all the blunders and miscalculations. The courage these people show are just staggering. Look around Antarctica how many landmarks, bodies of water are named after British explorers. That is an era the will never repeat itself.

Speaking of miserable has anyone seen a more depressing picture than this one?


I agree. That photo must be one of the most tragic and poignant ever taken. Maybe it's reading too much into it but Oates is standing apart from Scott with his weight on his 'good' leg.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline relm1

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3385 on: July 05, 2018, 03:33:22 PM »
I agree. That photo must be one of the most tragic and poignant ever taken. Maybe it's reading too much into it but Oates is standing apart from Scott with his weight on his 'good' leg.

Please explain since this is a topic I am endlessly fascinated with but don't know what you mean.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3386 on: July 05, 2018, 09:25:31 PM »
Please explain since this is a topic I am endlessly fascinated with but don't know what you mean.

Yes, of course - sorry I didn't before:

The photo was taken by Scott's party when they arrived exhausted at the South Pole (Jan 1912) only to find that the Norwegians (led by Amundsen) had beaten them to it. Their dreams were shattered. Scott's party had walked all the way and Amundsen had wisely taken Husky dogs with him. The picture was taken by Bowers (sitting on the left as you look at the image) by pulling a string to release the camera's shutter. Other members of the party are Wilson (also sitting), Oates back left, slightly apart, Scott in the centre at the back and Seaman Evans who was the first to die on the return journey (possibly having suffered a brain injury after falling into a crevasse. The increasingly lame Oates walked out of the tent into a blizzard some time later to try to save the others whom he was holding back ('I'm just going outside and may be some time' were apparently his last words as he walked out into a blizzard in his socks). The other three limped on to within eleven miles of the final food depot (One Ton Depot) but were caught up in a blizzard, couldn't leave the tent and eventually died with Scott writing up his last letters, Journal etc). Sorry  I have to go to work so must stop now - there is a whole 'revisionist' history of all this as well. Scott's death was held up as an example of heroic sacrifice to encourage the nation to mass self-sacrifice on the eve of World War One.

Back on topic, Vaughan Williams's 'Sinfonia Antartica' ends with the final blizzard (wind machine) which wiped out the final three members (Scott, Wilson, Bowers). A search party found their frozen bodies in the tent with Scott's Journals etc the following year).
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 09:34:02 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3387 on: July 05, 2018, 10:44:30 PM »
On a slight tangent but pertaining to these posts about Scott - do listen to the slow movement of Somervell's  'Thalassa' Symphony which is an Elegy/In Memoriam for Scott.  A genuinely powerful and moving piece of music.  The whole symphony is OK but not at the level of this slow movement.

 




as far as the read superscriptions go I like very much Raymond Leppard's take on KOSS where his narrator extends the links with further readings from the diaries.  No "authenticity" to this approach but a very fine musical performance/recording and an interesting alternative take.....


Online Biffo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3388 on: July 05, 2018, 10:59:18 PM »
Yes, of course - sorry I didn't before:

The photo was taken by Scott's party when they arrived exhausted at the South Pole (Jan 1912) only to find that the Norwegians (led by Amundsen) had beaten them to it. Their dreams were shattered. Scott's party had walked all the way and Amundsen had wisely taken Husky dogs with him. The picture was taken by Bowers (sitting on the left as you look at the image) by pulling a string to release the camera's shutter. Other members of the party are Wilson (also sitting), Oates back left, slightly apart, Scott in the centre at the back and Seaman Evans who was the first to die on the return journey (possibly having suffered a brain injury after falling into a crevasse. The increasingly lame Oates walked out of the tent into a blizzard some time later to try to save the others whom he was holding back ('I'm just going outside and may be some time' were apparently his last words as he walked out into a blizzard in his socks). The other three limped on to within eleven miles of the final food depot (One Ton Depot) but were caught up in a blizzard, couldn't leave the tent and eventually died with Scott writing up his last letters, Journal etc). Sorry  I have to go to work so must stop now - there is a whole 'revisionist' history of all this as well. Scott's death was held up as an example of heroic sacrifice to encourage the nation to mass self-sacrifice on the eve of World War One.

Back on topic, Vaughan Williams's 'Sinfonia Antartica' ends with the final blizzard (wind machine) which wiped out the final three members (Scott, Wilson, Bowers). A search party found their frozen bodies in the tent with Scott's Journals etc the following year).

As an afterword: There was a claim fairly recently that the blizzard abated a couple of days earlier than usually thought and that Bowers and Wilson could have saved themselves if they had been willing to abandon Scott but they chose to die with him. I can't remember what the basis for this claim was but it makes their end even more poignant.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3389 on: July 06, 2018, 12:28:56 AM »
On a slight tangent but pertaining to these posts about Scott - do listen to the slow movement of Somervell's  'Thalassa' Symphony which is an Elegy/In Memoriam for Scott.  A genuinely powerful and moving piece of music.  The whole symphony is OK but not at the level of this slow movement.

 




as far as the read superscriptions go I like very much Raymond Leppard's take on KOSS where his narrator extends the links with further readings from the diaries.  No "authenticity" to this approach but a very fine musical performance/recording and an interesting alternative take.....


Thanks for this. I think that I have the Thalassa CD so must look it out.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3390 on: July 06, 2018, 12:32:57 AM »
As an afterword: There was a claim fairly recently that the blizzard abated a couple of days earlier than usually thought and that Bowers and Wilson could have saved themselves if they had been willing to abandon Scott but they chose to die with him. I can't remember what the basis for this claim was but it makes their end even more poignant.
Yes, there are various theories about this. Roland Huntford, in his hatchet job on Scott, 'Scott and Amundsen' suggests that Scott stage-managed the final scenes so that the focus would be on heroic self-sacrifice rather than on his own mis-management and incompetence.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Oates

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3391 on: July 06, 2018, 04:19:21 AM »
Yes, there are various theories about this. Roland Huntford, in his hatchet job on Scott, 'Scott and Amundsen' suggests that Scott stage-managed the final scenes so that the focus would be on heroic self-sacrifice rather than on his own mis-management and incompetence.

One of the problems is that we only have Scott's account of the final days. Huntford suggests that Scott invented Oates' "I'm just going outside" line. Tellingly, if you read Wilson's diaries (and Wilson is a much more dispassionate and logical mind, not given to hyperbole or drama - probably the reason why his diaries aren't read as much) his entries stop on 27 Feb - 18 days before Oates' death and 22 days before the final camp. So Scott knew his version of events wouldn't be contradicted (Bowers' diary was largely meteorological I believe). Several commentators have glorified the 'heroic' end by commenting on the fact that they each had opium tablets but nobly chose not to take them - well, given there were no postmortems, is this true?  I'm sure I would in those circumstances. 

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3392 on: July 07, 2018, 02:58:08 PM »
One of the problems is that we only have Scott's account of the final days. Huntford suggests that Scott invented Oates' "I'm just going outside" line. Tellingly, if you read Wilson's diaries (and Wilson is a much more dispassionate and logical mind, not given to hyperbole or drama - probably the reason why his diaries aren't read as much) his entries stop on 27 Feb - 18 days before Oates' death and 22 days before the final camp. So Scott knew his version of events wouldn't be contradicted (Bowers' diary was largely meteorological I believe). Several commentators have glorified the 'heroic' end by commenting on the fact that they each had opium tablets but nobly chose not to take them - well, given there were no postmortems, is this true?  I'm sure I would in those circumstances.
I would be shitting bricks instead of calmly writing in my diary. Anyway I would cut them some slack if any one of them did glorify themselves somewhat. Ironically Amundsen's journey was some 60 miles or so closer to the Pole than Scott's. Those 60 miles literally did mean life and death.

Offline relm1

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3393 on: July 07, 2018, 04:07:36 PM »
I would be shitting bricks instead of calmly writing in my diary. Anyway I would cut them some slack if any one of them did glorify themselves somewhat. Ironically Amundsen's journey was some 60 miles or so closer to the Pole than Scott's. Those 60 miles literally did mean life and death.

I trust Scott's account.  You aren't made of the same cloth as he so shouldn't put yourself in his place.  I just finished reading Michael Collins' book Carrying the Fire and as some of you might know, he was a 1960's era astronaut who flew on Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 (the first trip on the moon) which is far more dangerous than what Scott or any Antarctic explorer experienced though somewhat similar in that they were reaching the final frontier of their day.  These guys operated in a domain of death not visited by us.  So my point in all of this is that you should not consider your point of view in such an experience relevant to the truthfulness of an explorer.  Many of these people go into this exploration knowing they very well might die just like the first space explorers did.  When the mercury astronauts were selected, 1 out of 2 rockets exploded.  By the time they launched the failure rate was 1/8 so not great odds with 7 astronauts.  Sort of like Russian roulette.  Very dangerous stuff these men did knowingly.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 05:33:09 AM by relm1 »

Online Biffo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3394 on: July 07, 2018, 11:51:28 PM »
I would be shitting bricks instead of calmly writing in my diary. Anyway I would cut them some slack if any one of them did glorify themselves somewhat. Ironically Amundsen's journey was some 60 miles or so closer to the Pole than Scott's. Those 60 miles literally did mean life and death.

Superior organisation, equipment and personnel were the reason for Amundsen's success. Shackleton pioneered the route up the Beardmore Glacier to the Antarctic Plateau and got to within 90 miles of the Pole. Scott followed Shackleton's route. Amundsen had to take a completely unexplored route; it turned out to 60 miles shorter than Scott's but it was journey into the unknown.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3395 on: July 08, 2018, 07:35:09 AM »
I trust Scott's account.  You aren't made of the same cloth as he so shouldn't put yourself in his place.  I just finished reading Michael Collins' book Carrying the Fire and as some of you might know, he was a 1960's era astronaut who flew on Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 (the first trip on the moon) which is far more dangerous than what Scott or any Antarctic explorer experienced though somewhat similar in that they were reaching the final frontier of their day.  These guys operated in a domain of death not visited by us.  So my point in all of this is that you should not consider your point of view in such an experience relevant to the truthfulness of an explorer.  Many of these people go into this exploration knowing they very well might die just like the first space explorers did.  When the mercury astronauts were selected, 1 out of 2 rockets exploded.  By the time they launched the failure rate was 1/8 so not great odds with 7 astronauts.  Sort of like Russian roulette.  Very dangerous stuff these men did knowingly.

Ah, Michael Collins, the Command Module pilot on Apollo 11 - one of the heroes of my youth. Apollo 1 caught fire during a test killing all three astronauts (White, Grissom, Chaffee, if I remember correctly). White made the first space walk I think.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3396 on: July 08, 2018, 01:21:29 PM »
One thing that wasn't very clear was how Scott trained for the mission. He was there previously so that helped. But unlike Apollo astronauts who spend their entire time training and re-training I am not sure what Scott's team DID to prepare themselves for the trip. They didn't even look like they were dressed warm enough. Just look at the way they were dressed and look at the way Amundsen's team was dressed.

No question these men were make of another ilk, men like Crozier, Ross, Franklin, Scott. Their missions were for a few years that to me is pretty unfathomable.

Another similar tragedy that I can think of is the one of George Washington De Long - writing in his journal till the bitter end, not being found until much later...
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 01:24:13 PM by PerfectWagnerite »

Offline relm1

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3397 on: July 08, 2018, 03:45:09 PM »
Ah, Michael Collins, the Command Module pilot on Apollo 11 - one of the heroes of my youth. Apollo 1 caught fire during a test killing all three astronauts (White, Grissom, Chaffee, if I remember correctly). White made the first space walk I think.
Correct.  It was problematic.  In Collins book he says had the Apollo 1 fire not happened, it wouldn't have sped the first lunar landing since they just didn't yet know how to do it until 1969.  It's a fantastic book and as close as we will ever be to understanding Scott or Ernest Shackleton which is not a common mindset in our time.  The bottom line is that heroes aren't moved by the grandiose.  They have a job to do which might result in their death based on a risk they've accepted.  It is really nothing different than a fire fighter who races to their demise up the twin towers on September 11.  A hundred years from now, those heroes might be regarded as the very same as Apollo 1 or Scott.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 03:48:09 PM by relm1 »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3398 on: July 08, 2018, 11:04:02 PM »
Correct.  It was problematic.  In Collins book he says had the Apollo 1 fire not happened, it wouldn't have sped the first lunar landing since they just didn't yet know how to do it until 1969.  It's a fantastic book and as close as we will ever be to understanding Scott or Ernest Shackleton which is not a common mindset in our time.  The bottom line is that heroes aren't moved by the grandiose.  They have a job to do which might result in their death based on a risk they've accepted.  It is really nothing different than a fire fighter who races to their demise up the twin towers on September 11.  A hundred years from now, those heroes might be regarded as the very same as Apollo 1 or Scott.

OT

I suspect that you may well be right. I'm old enough to remember the 1969 moon landing and recall my youthful self looking up at the moon and thinking 'gosh - there are people up there!' I was the only one of my family to stay up all night to watch it. Apollo 8 was even more special in my memory - that picture of Earthrise from the moon and Frank Borman reading from Genesis on Christmas Eve I think.

Those names are etched in my memory: 'Borman, Lovell, Anders' - 'Armstrong (RIP) Aldrin Collins'.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 11:06:29 PM by vandermolen »
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Online Biffo

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Re: Vaughan Williams's Veranda
« Reply #3399 on: July 08, 2018, 11:35:38 PM »
One thing that wasn't very clear was how Scott trained for the mission. He was there previously so that helped. But unlike Apollo astronauts who spend their entire time training and re-training I am not sure what Scott's team DID to prepare themselves for the trip. They didn't even look like they were dressed warm enough. Just look at the way they were dressed and look at the way Amundsen's team was dressed.

No question these men were make of another ilk, men like Crozier, Ross, Franklin, Scott. Their missions were for a few years that to me is pretty unfathomable.

Another similar tragedy that I can think of is the one of George Washington De Long - writing in his journal till the bitter end, not being found until much later...

Amundsen spent a considerable time in the Canadian Arctic living with the indigenous people. He learned how to handle dogs and he studied their clothing. They wore clothing that was fur-lined and very warm; Amundsen had several sets of this clothing made for his team. Scott and his team wore canvas outer clothing. Given that Scott had been on an Antarctic expedition before his preparation and equipment is unfathomable.