Gestingthorpe: Polar hero Captain Oates remembered at exhibition

AN EXHIBTION to commemorate the heroic exploits of polar adventurer Lawrence Oates took place at the weekend.

The show of photographs, journals and artefacts, including a replica of a sledge he would have used, took place in the village hall at Gestingthorpe, near Sudbury, the village where Oates lived from the age of 11.

Captain “Titus” Oates, a member of Captain Scott’s ill-fated expedition to reach the South Pole in 1912, is best remembered for sacrificing his life in the hope his three companions might survive.

Aware he was holding them up due to severe frostbite in his feet, he walked from the tent into a blizzard with the immortal words “I am just going outside and may be some time.”

Andy Craig, a member of Gestingthorpe History Group, said the exhibition was held to ensure Oates’ gallantry is not forgotten.

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He said: “Back then, Antarctica was the last unexplored continent. Oates lived at a different time compared to today and went out there for his king and country.”

The exhibition was attended by Oates’ great-niece, Muriel Finnis, who had travelled up from Salisbury for the event while a series of lectures about Oates were given in the evening.

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Local historian Ashley Cooper was one of the speakers. He said: “Oates epitomised quiet, understated endeavour and has become a byword for selfless heroism. It’s a wonderful association for Gestingthorpe to have.”

The exhibition is the latest in a series of events held in the village to mark the centenary of Oates’ death.

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