Oates, correspondence

Scope and Content

  • MS 1495;D Letter to his brother Bryna, 3 January [1912] [Apparently written just before his last letter to his mother (MS 1317/1/4;D) regarding the pole journey] 1 leaf, holograph (Xerox)
  • MS 1016/1-339;BJ&D Letters (339) to his mother, 1899-1910 [Covers the years of Oates's service in the army and the first months of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913.The letters are split into twelve annual folders comprising of letter numbers 1-35, 36-81, 82-99 (mainly from South Africa regarding Boar War), 100-109, 110-139 (Army barracks in Ireland), 140-171, 172-201, 202-240, 241-254 (written from Ciro but mainly on family, army and horse racing matters), 255-282, 283-323 (From Mhow, India, regarding hunting, shooting and polo), 324-339 (Covering joining and setting out on the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 particular mention of the ponies)] 9 letter books and 16 unbound letters, holograph
  • MS 1478/1-2;D Letters (2) to his mother, 20 October 1905 and 24 June 1909 [These letters are additional to the series of 339 letters from Oates to his mother (see MS 1016;D), written from Bulford Camp, Salisbury and Yacht Saunterer, Flushing] 4 leaves, holograph (Xerox)
  • MS 1317/1/1-4;D Letters (4) to his mother, 22 January 1911 to 3 January 1912 [British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913,and the last letter, 3-4 January 1912 announcing he has been selected to make the final journey to the pole] 12 leaves, holograph
  • MS 1416/1-4;D Letters (4) to Haig and Ansell (regimental colleagues) and [Naval] friend William, 14 August 1910 to 20 January 1911 [Regarding the early stages of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913, ponies, Amundsen and future plans] 10 leaves, holograph
  • MS 1373;D Letter to Major Jackson (Squadron leader, Iniskilling Dragoons), 22 August 1908 [Account of engagement at Aberdeen, Cape Colony, South Africa 6 March 1901 for Jackson who was writing a history of the regiment's activities in the Boar War] 7 leaves, holograph

Administrative / Biographical History

The majority of the Oates correspondence comprises of letters to his mother Mrs Caroline Oates other letters are to his younger brother Bryan and fellow army colleagues. The correspondence covers letters written during his military service in India, Egypt, South Africa and Ireland. Much of the correspondence is on family matters, the weather and his sporting activities.

The later letters refer to the British Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott). These contain information primarily on the ponies with some mention of other maters and expedition personnel an account of the depot journey, 31 January to 1 February 1911 and setting out on the pole journey.

Most of the letters are no more than 300 words in length.


The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by recipient.

Related Material

See SPRI collection GB 015 Caroline Oates for correspondence to or regarding her son.

Personal Names