Polar archive: Francis Davies

Published 11th July 2019

As a young boy Francis Edward ‘Frank’ Davies (1885-1952) was inspired after reading ‘Farthest North‘ an account of Fridtjof Nansen’s Polar Exploration aboard the ‘Fram’, to one day travel the world on an adventure and explore unknown regions. On the 4th July Francis Davies reported to the Royal Naval barracks Devonport and signed on as a shipwright for twelve years, beginning his own lifetime of adventure and exploration.   In 1910 Francis Davies was selected as the ships carpenter aboard the Terra-Nova for Captain Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1913, where he proved himself invaluable by keeping the aged ship afloat, even spending nights asleep beside the Terra Nova’s ever troublesome main pump. Francis Davies was instrumental in the preparations and construction of the expedition’s winter quarters of ‘Scott’s Hut’ at Cape Evans on Ross Island, Antarctica and after hearing the news of the loss of Scott and his party on the return journey from the South Pole, Francis Davies constructed the Terra Nova memorial cross erected on Observation hill. Both structures still stand today and are designated Antarctic Historic Monuments.


rrs discovery ii leaving london, december 1929

RRS Discovery II leaving London, December 1929 


The friendships established on the Terra Nova Expedition were to last throughout Francis Davies lifetime, through both World Wars and further participation in Polar Expeditions aboard RRS Discovery II and RRS William Scoresby in the late 1920s.   A selection of Francis Davies Polar archive from his later expeditions along with a collection of correspondence are to be included in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewoods Maritime Auction of the 14th August 2019. 


rrs william scoresby with plane aboard for the second wilkins-hearst polar expedition

RRS William Scoresby with plane aboard for the Second Wilkins-Hearst Polar Expedition


Among Francis Davies Polar Archive is a photograph album of the Second Wilkins-Hearst Polar Expedition of 1929-1930 with some wonderful images of both the RRS Discovery II and RRS William Scoresby. Also included in this Polar archive are a number of images of the planes used during the Wilkins-Hearst Expedition and the conditions that he men faced in Antarctica. 

rrs william scoresby with float plane in antarctica 1929-1930

RRS William Scoresby with float plane in Antarctica 1929-1930

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