The collection comprises of papers relating to Atkinson's involvement in the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) including work on motor sledges, and the search for Scott and his companions. The second part of the collection comprises of correspondence by Atkinson with other polar explorers and their families written during and after the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913.
Edward Leicester Atkinson collection
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 15 Edward Leicester Atkinson
- Dates of Creation1910 - 1928
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish.
- Physical DescriptionExpedition material (2 volumes, 16 leaves) and correspondence (74 leaves)
- Direct Link
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Edward Leicester Atkinson was born in Trinidad on 23 November 1882. He was educated at Forest School in Walthamstow and studied medicine at St Thomas's Hospital. He qualified as a surgeon in 1906 and subsequently entered the Royal Navy in 1908. Atkinson joined the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) as surgeon to the main party and as parasitologist and bacteriologist. The expedition proved to be productive for Atkinson, who found some interesting new parasites of potential scientific importance, including the discovery of a new tape-worm in the intestines of the Adelie penguin. As a member of the support party, he accompanied Scott's polar party as far as the upper depot on the Beardmore Glacier. Atkinson remained at Cape Evans for a second winter, as senior officer taking charge in the absence of Victor Campbell. With growing anxiety about Scott and those missing with him, Atkinson decided to lead a search party. The party found and buried the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers in November 1912.
During the First World War, Atkinson served with the Royal Naval Division at Gallipoli and with the Royal Marine Howitzer Brigade in France and was awarded the DSO and the Albert Medal. He continued in the Navy after the war reaching the rank of Surgeon-Commander. He died at sea on 20 February 1929.
The collection is split into two sub-fonds, comprising of expedition material and correspondence respectively.
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Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance of R. Stancombe and reference to Antarctica's Forgotten Men by Leslie B. Quartermaine, Millwood Press, Wellington (1981) ISBN 0908582528 SPRI Library Shelf 92(08) and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) 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
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