|Captain Oates – Antarctica’s Tragic Hero|
A talk by his biographer Michael Smith
Putney's most heroic son Lawrence Oates lived until aged eleven on the Upper Richmond Road. He worshipped at both All Saints and St Margaret's and attended the then Putney based Willington School.
Everyone knows the phrase “I am just going outside and may be some time”, but few know about Captain Oates, the explorer who died in the Antarctic ice with Captain Scott 100 years ago and was born in Putney in 1880. This Eton-educated officer in an elite cavalry regiment was recommend for the VC during the Boer War, but bored with the army, he paid the equivalent of £50,000 from his own pocket to join Scott’s South Pole expedition. As an outsider on the Royal Navy-dominated expedition, he clashed with Scott. He limped to the Pole due to an old war wound leaving one leg one inch shorter. He was also the only member of the party who chose the precise moment to die – his birthday!
Organised by the Putney Society - whose blue plaque commemorating Oates can be seen at 307 Upper Richmond Road.
All Saints Church, Putney Common, SW15 1HL Tuesday 29 May at 7.30pm
Advance booking essential: Hugh Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org
February 17, 2012