Wilfred Montagu Bruce collection

Scope and Content

The British Antarctic Expedition, 1910 - 1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) spent two winters at Cape Evans on Ross Island. Extensive scientific investigations and exploration was conducted along the coast of Victoria Land and on the Ross Ice Shelf. The first cin documentary film of an Antarctic expedition, 90° South was made. After reaching the pole on 17 January 1912 Scott and his five companions perished during the return journey. The collection comprises of letters, journals and diaries written by Bruce during the expedition.

  • MS 402/1-4;BJ Journals kept during the expedition, 4 volumes (1 for each year) holograph
  • MS 280/11/BJ Zoological log kept during the expedition [Note on cover says log written by Commander H.L.L.Pennell,R.N. 1 volume
  • MS 1488/2;BJ Letter to Kathleen Scott (his sister), 27 February to 26 March 1911. In [Scott Robert Falcon] Scott's last expedition. Kathleen Scott's copy, Volume 2, facing p. 502 [Long account of activities of ship's party in early stages of expedition] 8 leaves, holograph
  • MS 1192;D Letter to Miss Guennie Bruce, 23 January 1913 [Records briefly the death of Scott and the members of the pole party] 1 leaf holograph (Xerox)
  • MS 606;D Letter to Miss Phobe May, 23 January 1913 [Tribute to Scott's character]

Administrative / Biographical History

Wilfred Montagu Bruce was born in Scotland in 1874. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and joined HMS Worcester as a cadet, later serving in the Merchant Navy as an officer in passenger liners. Bruce, whose sister Kathleen had married Robert Falcon Scott in 1908, joined the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910 - 1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott). Initially he helped to collect and transport sledge dogs and ponies from Vladistock to New Zealand. Later he served as second officer onboard Terra Nova on both the southern voyages.

During the First World War, he was in charge of minesweepers at Lowestoft, and was promoted to the rank of captain in 1917. He left the sea soon afterwards, married and became a country gentleman and farmer. He died on 21 September 1953.

Published work: Reminiscences of the Terra Nova in the AntarcticBlue Peter (1932) SPRI Library Shelf Folio (7):91(08)[1910-1913] British National Antarctic Expedition 1910-1912Bound pamphlets Vol.2, no.2

Access Information

By appointment


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Polar Record, (July 1954) Volume 7 no. 48 p233 and Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events,(1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue. Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible

Related Material

  • MS 687/2;D Evans, E.R.G.R. Notes for a speech
  • MS 280/24;D Pennell, H.L.L. Letter, 1913