Edgar Evans Polar Explorer
Edgar Evans was born in Middleton near Rhossili on the Gower peninsular on 7th March 1876 one of twelve children. After leaving school he worked for a short while as a courier for the Post Office in Swansea. At the age of 13 he enlisted as a cadet to the Royal Navy and later in his youth became an Able Bodied Seaman. He was a strong and fit sailor and at the age of 24 accompanied Sir Walter Falcon Scott on the 1901 – 1904 Discovery Expedition of the Antarctic. At the age of 34 and now a Petty Officer he once again joined Scott and his team on the Terra Nova expedition in an to attempt to be the first people to reach the South Pole. Petty Officer Edgar Evans was put in charge of all the essential equipment for the journey, sledges, tents, sleeping bags, ropes etc. During the summer and autumn of 1911 he was a member of the party chosen to map out Victoria Land prior to their attempt at reaching the South Pole. On the 13th January during the eleven-week journey to reach the pole Edgar sustained a nasty cut to his right hand while securing a sledge. The wound in his hand became infected and as a result, his work at pulling the sledges was hindered greatly. Scott’s team were bitterly Disappointed on reaching the South Pole as the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it by five weeks. On the return journey Edgar, suffered badly with his wounded hand and together with a combination of bad weather, food shortage and also suffering from severe frostbite to his nose and hands became very ill. He also had a bad fall into a crevasse and injured his head making him disorientated and delusional. Edgar Evans died on February 17th 1912 probably of a brain haemorrhage sustained in the fall. Of the Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition no one was to survive.
A memorial plaque to Edgar Evans can be found at St Mary’s Church Rhossili, it reads.
To the GLORY OF GOD and in memory of Edgar Evans 1st Class Petty Officer,R.N., and a native of this Parish, who perished on 17th Feb 1912, when returning from the South Pole with the Southern Party of the British Expedition under the command of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, C.V.O., R.N. “To seek, to strive, to find and not to yield”.