Yesterday I heard on the national BBC Radio 4 news that there was to be the unveiling of a plaque in memory of Captain Lawrence Oates in Meanwood Park in Leeds.
My interest was piqued as many years ago I visited Selborne in Hampshire where the Lawrence Oates Museum is located in the attic area of Gilbert White’s The Wakes.
As I work in the library on Saturdays I was unable to attend the unveiling but I went along today – parking nearby at Waitrose – and visited the park to view, along with many other visitors, the plaque and information boards.
Lawrence Oates’ connection with the Meanwood area of Leeds has long been commemorated by a stone plaque on the gatepost of Holy Trinity church and there’s a brass plaque in the Leeds Parish Church, which I have yet to see.
From the Oates Collection website :
“Captain Lawrence Oates (1880 – 1912)
Captain Lawrence Oates is best remembered as the brave Antarctic hero who was chosen to be part of Captain Robert Scott’s team to undertake the epic journey of discovery to the South Pole 1911-12. The ill-fated expedition turned into a race for the pole when the explorers learnt of the presence of the Norwegian team led by Admundsen. Scott’s team suffered inadequate food supplies, severe weather conditions and failing health so Oates sacrificed his life in the hope of saving his comrades, leaving the tent in a terrible blizzard with the famous last words “I am just going outside and may be some time.” His body has never been found.”