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Polar archive: Francis Davies

Posted on Brian Goodison-Blanks's Blog

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

This weblog is produced by Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

This article was originally published on Brian Goodison-Blanks's Blog on Thu, 11 Jul 2019 15:18:11 GMT.

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Brian Goodison-Blanks BA(Hons)Brian Goodison-Blanks BA(Hons)

Brian Goodison-Blanks is the Head of the Maritime and Sporting Department at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

Originally from London, Brian Goodison-Blanks was educated in the South East and Hampshire obtaining an Honours degree in Archaeology, American Studies and Japanese culture from King Alfred’s College, Winchester.

Following a short spell working for Canterbury and Colchester Archaeological Trusts as well as The Ambel Project in Aragon, Northern Spain, he joined a well-respected local auction house in 1995 as a trainee general valuer, rising to Auction Room Manager.

In 2004 Brian joined Hampton & Littlewood with special responsibility for re-introducing the specialist Maritime Sale to the South West after a 15 Year absence. Brian’s interest in country sports has also led him to introduce the annual Sporting sale.

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