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22 NAVY NEWS, MARCH 2010
Astute
Polar epic revisited
A sporting
arrival is gesture
covered
A SNOW-encrusted statue in
by Billy
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
THE Royal Naval Philatelic
is a timely reminder of the start
MINISTRY of Defence Police
Society has produced a limited
officers at Coulport in Scotland
edition commemorative cover to
of a series of anniversaries over
have been doing their bit to ease
mark HMS Astute joining the
the next two years.
the lives of people in Afghanistan
Fleet.
The bronze statue is of legendary
through the international medium
There are five categories of
Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon
of sport.
cover, three of which are signed,
Scott, and was sculpted by his
Constable Billy Hayes, currently
and all use the Royal Mail stamps
widow Lady Kathleen Scott in
serving at the Interim Helmand
from 2001 which were produced
1915 to commemorate her
Police Training Centre at Lashkar
for the centenary of the Submarine
husband’s doomed attempt to be
Gah, issued an appeal to MOD
Service.
the first to reach the South Pole.
Police and Guarding Agency
They range in price from
A century ago Scott, who
colleagues to collect old sports
£10.90 for the plain version to
was born near Devonport, was
tops and equipment.
£52 for those signed by senior RN
preparing for his ill-fated second
He had noticed that although
officers and Astute’s CO and XO,
foray to the frozen continent – the
the locals enjoyed sporting
though society members receive a
Terra Nova expedition.
activities during their spare time,
50 per cent discount.
Today museums in Portsmouth
they lacked basic clothing and
All 410 covers also contain a
and Cambridge are preparing to
equipment.
text sheet and four double-sided
celebrate the centenary of this
Officers at Coulport, the RN
colour photographs.
important scientific voyage.
armaments depot near Faslane,
For details of this and other
In 2012, the centenary of Scott’s
where Billy is normally based, rose
sets still available see the RNPS
death, the Royal Naval Museum
to the challenge and so far have
website www.rnphilatelic.org/
in Portsmouth plans to display a
collected around 170 tops and
sledge and pair of skis from that
other clothing.
Museum
expedition. ● Heavy snow, a masted ship and Capt Scott – the pictures by Phil
“When the working day is done,
The sledge was used by PO George (above, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard) and Lt Rolf Williams
after evening prayers, the recruits
Thomas Williamson in the search (right) evoke the events of a century ago
and local people like a kick-around
recruiting
for Scott’s missing polar party.
and other sports,” said Billy.
In June this year – the
exhibitions on the explorers himself to give the others a better
“It is a way for them to unwind
anniversary month of Scott’s
who mapped out the Arctic and opportunity.
and come together.”
CODEBREAKING museum
departure – the Polar Museum at
Antarctic, while the section on The sacrifice was in vain, as his
Billy is a part of the international
Bletchley Park had a record-
the Scott Polar Research Institute
Scott and his expedition will companions were later brought
peacekeeping force in the region,
breaking 2009, and now needs in Cambridge will reopen with
display clothing, food, transport to a standstill by unusually severe
training around 150 new police
more volunteers to help this year’s new galleries.
and scientific equipment, as well weather conditions, and their
recruits every three weeks.
visitors get the most from the site. The Institute, a sub-department
as Capt Oates’ sleeping bag – frozen bodies were discovered by
Last year saw a 30 per cent of the University of Cambridge,
recently selected as one of the top a search party in late November
Marines cleared
increase on 2008, and the museum was established in 1920 by Frank
100 items in the BBC’s A History 1912, barely a dozen miles from a
– home of the boffins who cracked Debenham as a memorial to Scott
of the World. stores depot. FOUR Royal Marines have been
the German Enigma code in and his companions.
Lawrence Oates, an officer in Diary entries suggested the cleared of all charges over the
World War 2 – smashed through Debenham was a geologist on
the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, last man alive – probably Scott death of a sailor in Portsmouth
the 100,000-visitor mark. the expedition, and a member
was one of the four men who – had succumbed to cold and last year.
The National Codes Centre is of the support party who turned
accompanied Scott in his attempt exhaustion at the end of March Mne Ben Scott was charged
seeking to recruit volunteer tour back before the final push to the
to be the first to the South Pole. that same year. with manslaughter and affray, and
guides and stewards, with the South Pole.
On their return, disheartened A number of events will be Mnes Mark Clarke, Luke Morton
initiative being formally launched While wanting a fitting tribute
at having been beaten to their goal staged over the next two years and James Taylor charged with
at a special recruitment fair on to Scott, he was also keen to see
by Amundsen (who reached the to commemorate the Terra Nova affray, following the death of ET
Friday March 12 and Saturday the explorer’s work continue.
pole a month before the British expedition, Scott’s career and Kyle Bartlett, of HMS Liverpool,
March 13, when the park’s existing The Institute developed into
party), Oates became increasingly polar exploration. on May 5 2009.
tour guides will be on hand to an international centre for polar
troubled by war wounds. More information will be But a jury at Winchester
meet potential new recruits and explorers, scholars and enthusiasts,
Conscious that he was slowing posted on the museum websites, Crown Court acquitted all four
show them the ropes. and has been in the van of polar
the progress of his companions, www.spri.cam.ac.uk and www. defendants – who had originally
For more information see www. work for more than 85 years. and thus reducing their chances historicdockyard.co.uk, as it
been charged with murder – on
bletchleypark.org.uk The new galleries will include of reaching safety, Oates sacrificed becomes available
all charges.
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