Pictured at the pole: Scott of the Antarctic’s flag that found its way to Sandringham in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 11:56 12 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:13 12 November 2017
More than 100 years ago, they posed up for a selfie in the snow with what would become a piece of Norfolk’s history.
Capt Robert Scott and his team of explorers snapped themselves after reaching the South Pole in January, 1912.
The camera, triggered by a piece of string, recorded a hollow triumph.
For the British had found out that they had been beaten by rival Norwegian explorers, who had reached the landmark before them.
Two months later Scott and his men would all be dead, succumbing to the cold on the long march back to base camp as temperatures unexpectedly plunged below -40C. Some said defeat sapped their spirits.
The black and white picture is expected to fetch thousands when it comes under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London on Tuesday, in a sale of polar paraphernalia including cutlery and a newspaper taken on Scott’s final trip, along with books and memorabilia owned by fellow explorer Ernest Shackleton.
The Union Flag in the background of the picture found its way to Norfolk after the ill-fated expedition.
It was presented to Scott by Queen Alexandra, the widow of King Edward VII, before he set off to reach the pole in 1910.
It was found alongside his body by a search party in November 1912, along with letters, negatives and the remains of three other explorers.
In a final note on March 29, Scott wrote: “We took risks, we knew we took them, things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last.
“Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman.”
The flag was returned to the Queen the following year. Since then it has been kept at Sandringham, the Royal Family’s Norfolk retreat.
In the foreword to book about Scott and the other great polar explorers, published in 2011, the Duke of Edinburgh said he found it whilst “pottering about” in the ballroom at the house.
It has now been placed on display and visitors can see it when the house is open to the public during the summer season.
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