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Admiral Sir Edward Evans


Admiral Edward Ratcliffe Garth Russell Evans, 1st Baron Mountevans of Chelsea KCB DSO (October 28, 1881 - August 20, 1957), known as "Teddy" Evans, was a British naval officer and Antarctic explorer. He served as second-in-command on Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Polemarker in 1910-1913 and as captain of the expedition ship Terra Nova.

Early life

Edward Evans was born in London in 1881, the son of barrister, Frank Evans. Expelled from Merchant Taylors' School, Londonmarker for truancy, he eventually completed sufficient schooling to make his way onto the Mercantile Marine training ship HMS Worcester and obtain, two years later, a naval cadetship in 1896. He attended the Royal Naval College from 1900-1902. In 1900 he was promoted to Acting Sub-Lieutenant, then Sub-Lieutenant and Lieutenant in 1902 and the same year served as second officer of the Morning, the relief vessel of Scott's first Antarctic expedition in 1901-1904.

Scott's Second Antarctic Expedition (1910-13)

Comparison of the Amundsen and Scott Expeditions


Scott offered Evans the position with his second expedition as a means of persuading him to drop plans for his own competing expedition to explore King Edward VII Land. However, it was an uneasy working relationship, as Scott continued to regard Evans as a rival.

In Antarctica, Evans was initially in charge of Scott's motor-sledge party. After the sledges broke down, he continued south, man-hauling, as the leader of the last supporting party to accompany Scott to the pole. After hearing from Scott that he was not going to be one of the men making the final push to the South Pole, Evans turned back on January 4, 1912, within 150 miles of the pole, leaving another of his party, Henry R. Bowers, to join Scott's Polar party. On the return journey, Evans became seriously ill with scurvy and by February 11, still 100 miles from base camp, could no longer stand unaided and had to be pulled on the sledge by his remaining two companions, Tom Crean and William Lashly. Evans ordered them to leave him behind as he feared all three would otherwise die, but they refused. Evans would later say that this was the only time in his naval career where his orders were disobeyed. Evans declining condition was chronicled in the journal of Lashly, who observed that Evans was "turning black and blue and several other colours as well", and later that he was in great pain and unable to stand. Evans later wrote: "Very seriously and sadly they re-erected our tent and put me once again inside. I thought I was being put into my grave....".. At this point, with not enough supplies to last the 3 men for the remaining 35 miles, Crean volunteered to go alone to fetch help. On February 19, after walking for 18 hours non-stop, Crean reached Hut Point where he found two members of the expedition, physician Edward L Atkinson and dog-handler Dimitri Gerov, who set off on dog sleds and rescued Evans and Lashly. Altogether, the three had marched about 1500 miles.

Because of his illness, Evans was sent home in the expedition's ship Terra Nova in March, 1912, but he recovered and returned the following year in command of the ship to take off the expedition's survivors.

Post-Antarctic service

Following his Antarctic service, Evans had a successful naval career. At the break out of the First World War in 1914 he was promoted to Commander. On 20 April 1917, while on night patrol of the Dover Barrage near Goodwin Sandsmarker, he commanded the destroyer HMS Broke in an action against six German destroyers of the Kaiserliche Marine that had started to bombard Dover. Along with HMS Swift, Evans engaged the German destroyers in what became known as the Battle of Dover Strait. A torpedo from HMS Swift sank one of the enemy destroyers, G-85. Then the Broke deliberately rammed another, G-42, almost breaking it in two. The two ships became locked together and for a while there was close-quarters fighting on Broke's deck until the Broke managed to break free and the German destroyer sank while the remaining German destroyers made their escape. The badly damaged "Broke" was towed home, while the equally damaged "Swift" made her own way back. The action gained him immediate promotion to the rank of Captain and made Evans a popular hero, feted in the British press as "Evans of the "Broke". He received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) the following month. In January, 1916, he married Norwegian Elsa Andvord. Evans wrote an account of his activities on the Dover Patrol in his book "Keeping the Seas" (1920).

In February, 1928 he was promoted to Rear-Admiral commanding the Royal Australian Navy. In November, 1932 he was made Vice-Admiral. He was commander-in-chief of the Africa station and deputy high commissioner of the British Protectorates from 1933-35. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1935. He was Commander-in-Chief at the Nore from 1935-1939. Recalled in 1939, he served as London Regional Commissioner for Civil Defence during the Second World War. In December 1945, he was created a baron, Lord Mountevans of the Broke and finally achieved the rank of Admiral in July, 1946. He retired from the Royal Navy in 1949. He was Rector of Aberdeen University from 1936-1942.

He wrote several books about Antarctica. South with Scott (1921); British Polar explorers (1944); The desolate Antarctic (1950).

Honours and Awards

Orders and Decorations awarded to Edward Evans with London Gazette entries (more added as entries located):

Companion of the Order of the Bath (LG 16 May 1913, p.3507)

Distinguished Service Order (LG 10 May 1917, p.4481)

Polar Medal "Antarctic, 1910-1913" Silver Medal (LG 25 Jul 1913, p.5322).

Commander of the Order of the Crown - Belgium (LG 8 Apr 1921, p.2797).

Officer of the Legion of Honour - France (LG 20 Jul 1917, p.7427)

Officer of the Order of Leopold (LG 1 Jan 1917, p.11)

Order of the Tower and Sword 2nd Class - Portugal (LG 17 Jan 1919, p.887)

Navy Cross - United States (LG 16 Sep 1919, p.11583)

Croix de Guerre - France (LG 22 Jun 1917, p.6257)

Medaille Civique - Belgium (LG 12 Dec 1919, p.15432)



Footnote

E.R.G.R. "Teddy" Evans is not to be confused with Petty Officer Edgar Evans, who was a member of Scott's polar party and died with his companions on the return journey from the pole.

References



  • Cherry-Garrard, Apsley: The Worst Journey in the World. ISBN 0-88184-478-0
  • Evans E.R.G.R. South With Scott Collins, London, 1921.
  • Huntford, Roland: The Last Place on Earth. ISBN 0-689-70701-0
  • Preston, Diana: A First Rate Tragedy. ISBN 0-618-00201-4
  • Fiennes, Ranulph (2003). Captain Scott. Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. ISBN 0-340-82697-5.


External links



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