We Struggled On ...

The Depot Laying Expedition pushed towards its farthest point south, which would be reached on 17 February 1911. The days from 12 February up to that date were filled with cold, cold routine. And the ever more perilous state of affairs for the ponies. Soft surface conditions caused by too warm weather caused them to fall-in up to the "hocks". Or too cold weather eroded their health. They could get some comfort with large, improptu snow-walls. But these are built at great cost to the men of the expedition. On 12 February 1911, Scott ordered some of the crew to turn back with the three weakest ponies. On 14 February 1911, one of the ponies, slowed and weakened, was set upon by the expedition's dog team. Throughout it all, Scott continues to believe that pony snow-shoes will make all the difference in the coming year's assault on the pole.

Scott marvels in the journal entries of these days at Henry Bowers' ability to withstand the cold. Cherry-Garrard supplies the rest that we might know about this barrell-chested seaman:

He lived a rough life . . . sailing five times around the world in the Loch
. Thence he passed into the service of the Royal Indian Marine,
commanded a river gunboat on the Irrawaddy, and afterwards served on H.M.S. Fox, where he had considerable experience, often in open boats, preventing the
gun-running which was carried on by the Afghans in the Persian Gulf.

Thence he came to us.

It is at any rate a curious fact, . . . that Bowers, who enjoyed a
greater resistance to cold than any man on this expedition, joined it direct
from one of the hottest places on the globe. (Apsley Cherry-Garrard,
The Worst Journey in the World, p. 212, Carroll & Graf [1989]).