Robert Falcon Scott Timeline 1868-1912

Robert Falcon Scott

Born – 6th June 1868
Died – 29th March 1912
Father – John Edward Scott
Mother – Hannah Cuming
Spouse – m. 1908 – Kathleen Bruce (1878 – 1947)
Children – Peter (1909 – 1989)
Known to History – Polar explorer



1868 (6th June)
Robert Falcon Scott was born to John Edward Scott, a brewer, and his wife, Hannah nee Cuming in Plymouth, England.
1872 (around)
Robert began his education at a local day school.
1876 (around)
Scott attended Stubbington House School in Hampshire. Here he was prepared for the naval school entrance examinations.
1881 (during)
Robert Falcon Scott passed his naval examinations and was accepted as a naval cadet on the training ship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth.
1883 (July)
Scott passed his examinations and qualified as a midshipman.
1883 (October)
Robert Scott travelled to South Africa to join the ship HMS Boadicea as a midshipman.
1887 (March)
Robert Falcon Scott met Clements Markham, Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, for the first time while he was stationed on the island of St Kitts.
1888 (March)
Scott qualified as a sub-lieutenant.
1889 (during)
Scott was promoted to lieutenant.
1891 (during)
Robert Scott applied for torpedo training on HMS Vernon and was accepted.
1893 (during)
Having passed his torpedo training Scott was commanding a torpedo boat when it ran aground.
1894 (during)
Scott learned that his father had sold his brewery and had made bad investments and lost all the proceeds of the sale. This left Scott’s family in bad financial straits. Scott’s father had had to take employment as a brewery manager and moved the family to Shepton Mallet in Somerset.
1897 (during)
John Edward Scott died. this meant that Robert Scott’s mother and unmarried sisters were financially reliant on John and his brother Archie.
1898 (during)
Robert’s younger brother, Archie, died of typhoid. This meant that his family was totally reliant on Robert for financial support.
1899 (early June)
While on leave in London, Scott met Clements Markham again. Markham was now President of the Royal Geographical Society and he told Scott about the upcoming Antarctic Expedition on the ship ‘Discovery’.
1899 (11th June)
Robert Falcon Scott visited Clements Markham and volunteered to lead the Antarctic Expedition on the ship ‘Discovery’.
1900 (June)
Robert Scott was promoted to the rank of Commander.
1901 (17th February)
Ernest Shackleton was appointed third officer on the National Antarctic Expedition ship ‘Discovery’.
1901 (5th August)
King Edward VII visited ‘Discovery’. He created Scott a Member of the Royal Victorian Order during the visit.
1901 (6th August)
The National Antarctic Expedition, nicknamed the Discovery Expedition, left the Isle of Wight. The expedition was led by Robert Falcon Scott.
1901 (29th November)
The ‘Discovery Expedition’ reached New Zealand.
1902 (8th January)
The ‘Discovery’ reached the Antarctic coast.
1902 (8th February)
The ‘Discovery’ reached McMurdo Sound where it was anchored. They set up base and named it ‘Hut Point’.
1902 (2nd November)
Robert Scott selected Ernest Shackleton to join him and Dr Edward Wilson in a march south to try to beat the record for the southernmost latitude.
1902 (30th December)
Scott, Shackleton and Wilson reached 82.17 degrees south, however they had lost all their dogs to sickness and all three men suffered the effects of snow blindness, scurvy and frostbite so they turned back.
1903 (4th February)
Shackleton, Scott and Wilson finally made it back to the Discovery. Shackleton was very weak after the journey and Robert Scott decided that he should leave Antarctica on the relief ship Morning. Some sources indicate that relations between Shackleton and Scott had broken down which was the real reason for Shackleton being sent home.
1903 (26th October)
Robert Scott, Edgar Evans and William Lashly set out on a westward journey hoping to locate the South Magnetic Pole. They were accompanied by a support team.
1903 (13th November)
Robert Scott and his party set out without their support team and discovered the Polar Plateau.
1903 (24th December)
Robert Scott, Edgar Evans and William Lashly returned to the ‘Discovery’. Scott was surprised to find that the ship was still stuck fast in the ice.
1904 (5th January)
Relief ships arrived in Antarctica to take the explorers home. They brought instructions that ‘Discovery’ was to be abandoned if she was not free of the ice.
1904 (14th February)
Scott had been using explosives to try to free the ‘Discovery’ and she now finally broke free.
1904 (10th September)
The ‘Discovery’ reached Portsmouth.
1904 (late September)
Robert Scott was promoted to Captain and was created a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.
1904 (October)
Robert Scott was in great demand for public speaking and public events.
1905 (during)
Robert Scott published ‘The Voyage of the Discovery’.
1906 (August)
Scott returned to the navy and became Flag-Captain on HMS Victorious.
1907 (during)
Robert Scott remained in touch with Clements Markham, President of the Royal Geographical Society.
1907 (early)
Robert Scott met the sculptress and socialite, Kathleen Bruce at a luncheon party.
1907 (February)
Robert Scott spoke to the Royal Geographical Society about making a return expedition to Antarctica. However, he was dismayed to learn that Ernest Shackleton had already put forward plans for an Antarctic Expedition of his own which had been accepted.
1907 (11th February)
The HMS Albemarle, commanded by Robert Scott, collided with the HMS Commonwealth.
1907 (Spring)
Robert Scott wrote to Ernest Shackleton advising him that the McMurdo region of Antarctica was his own ‘field of work’ and that Shackleton should steer clear of that area.
1907 (17th May)
Ernest Shackleton wrote to Robert Scott agreeing to avoid McMurdo and confine his work east of the area.
1908 (during)
Robert Scott met Kathleen Bruce again and began dating her.
1908 (during)
Scott put forward the idea that it would be impossible to reach the South Pole using men to pull supplies. He suggested that some form of motorised vehicle would be best for this purpose.
1908 (29th January)
Although he had promised Robert Scott that he would not dock at McMurdo Sound, Shackleton had no choice. The ‘Nimrod’ was stopped by ice about 16 miles north of the spot where Scott’s ‘Discovery’ had anchored.
1908 (2nd September)
Robert Falcon Scott married Kathleen Bruce in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace, London.
1909 (24th March)
Robert Scott was appointed naval assistant to the Second Sea Lord based in London.
1909 (Summer)
Robert Scott decided that using just motorised vehicles to pull supplies to the South Pole would be insufficient because vehicles would not be able to reach the Polar Plateau. Therefore an expedition would also need ponies and dogs.
1909 (July)
Ernest Shackleton had returned from his ‘Nimrod Expedition’ having failed to reach the South Pole by 112 miles. Scott determined to lead another expedition.
1909 (10th July)
Scott attended the official reception for Ernest Shackleton.
1909 (14th September)
A son, Peter Markham Scott was born to Robert Scott and Kathleen Bruce in London, UK.
1909 (December)
Robert Falcon Scott was released from his naval position to lead the British Antarctic Expedition on the ship ‘Terra Nova’. It was referred to as the Terra Nova Expedition after the ship.
1910 (15th June)
The ‘Terra Nova’ set sail from Cardiff in South Wales bound for South Africa where Robert would meet it later. Scott stayed in England to continue raising funds for the expedition. A government grant had provided around half of the total sum needed but the balance had to be raised from private companies and individuals.
1910 (late Summer)
Robert Falcon Scott arrived in South Africa where he boarded the ‘Terra Nova’.
1910 (October)
The ‘Terra Nova’ reached Melbourne, Australia. There Scott received a telegram from Roald Amundsun informing him that his ship ‘Fram’ was on the way to Antarctica.
1910 (29th November)
The ‘Terra Nova’ set out from Port Chalmers, New Zealand to Antarctica.
1910 (10th December)
The ‘Terra Nova’ became stuck in pack ice.
1910 (30th December)
The ‘Terra Nova’ finally broke free of the pack ice.
1911 (5th January)
Robert Scott Falcon and the ‘Terra Nova’ expedition reached a point 15 miles north of Hut Point where Scott had made his base in 1902. They named it Cape Evans.
1911 (27th January)
A group set out to lay supply depots along the route to the South Pole.
1911 (22nd February)
Scott learned that Amundsen had set up camp in Antarctica.
1911 (23rd April)
The sun set and winter began. The men set themselves up in Cape Evans to wait for spring.
1911 (13th September)
Robert Falcon Scott finalised plans for his journey to the South Pole. A total of sixteen men would set out with groups being sent back to replenish stores for the return journey. The final group would make a push for the Pole.
1911 (24th October)
The motorised sledge party set out to take supplies south and then wait for the main group to arrive.
1911 (1st November)
The two motorised sledges had failed after travelling just 50 miles. The men continued hauling the supplies themselves.
1911 (16th December)
Unknown to Scott and his party, Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole.
1911 (20th December)
Robert Falcon Scott reached the top of the Beardmore glacier and the Polar Plateau.
1912 (3rd January)
Scott decided that the men who would accompany him to the South Pole were Edward Wilson, Lawrence Oates, Henry Robertson Bowers and Edgar Evans.
1912 (9th January)
Robert Falcon Scott passed the point reached by Shackleton on the ‘Nimrod Expedition’.
1912 (17th January)
Scott and his men reached the South Pole where they saw the Norwegian flag planted and realised that Amundsen had got there first.
1912 (early February)
The ‘Terra Nova’ had returned as arranged, bringing fresh supplies. However, Atkinson delayed leaving with the dogs to meet the returning party.
1912 (early February)
Scott was concerned about Edgar Evans who was suffering from frostbite and Oates whose feet were in a poor condition.
1912 (7th February)
Scott began to descend the Beardsmore glacier. They knew that a supply depot was nearby but it took them some time to find it.
1912 (mid-February)
Atkinson had set out with the dogs to meet Scott returning from the South Pole. On the journey he met Edward Evans who was very ill and needed medical assistance. He therefore instructed Cherry-Garrad to continue to the rendezvous point. Unfortunately Cherry-Garrad was a poor navigator.
1912 (17th February)
Edgar Evans collapsed near the foot of the Beardsmore glacier. He died a short time later.
1912 (27th February)
Scott reached the point where they expected to meet a returning party with dogs. However, the dog teams failed to appear and Scott took the decision to press on to the next depot.
1912 (early March)
The party continued their return journey but the temperature suddenly dropped making for extreme conditions. Furthermore there was insufficient fuel in the supply depots to keep them warm.
1912 (10th March)
The dog teams had still not appeared and Scott determined that either the dog teams had had a very bad return journey or that he had missed the meeting point.
1912 (10th March)
Lawrence Oates was now in a bad way with severe frostbite on his feet and hands. He walked out of the tent stating ‘I am just going outside, I may be some time.’ He was never seen again.
1912 (20th March)
Scott, Wilson and Bowers were forced to stop by a severe blizzard. By this point Scott was suffering from frostbite to his toes.
1912 (28th March)
Although they had tried to resume their journey every day, Scott, Wilson and Bowers were still confined to their tent.
1912 (29th March)
Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson and Henry Robertson Bowers are assumed to have died on this day since nothing more is recorded in Scott’s diary.


Published Jan 18, 2020 @ 10:50 am – Updated -[last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Robert Falcon Scott 1868 – 1912 Last accessed [date]


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