Birdie Bowers: Captain Scott’s Marvel
Author Anne Strathie mentions the Trust and the explorers who died in ‘pursuit of science’ in her exceptional biography of Birdie Bowers who died with Scott. Her description of his early career at sea brings home the romance and opportunity that awaited young men in the British Empire of that era.
Born to a sea-faring father and adventurous mother on the Firth of Clyde, Bowers’ boyhood obsession with travel and adventure took him round the world several times and his life appears, with hindsight, to have been a ceaseless preparation for his ultimate, Antarctic challenge.
Strathie captures skilfully the character of this cheerful indomitable man. Short of stature at 5ft 4in, rotund and with a nose which earned him a different nickname wherever he served Birdie was incorrigibly cheerful and energetic. In Scott’s words, he was ‘a marvel’. Strathie’s heart-rending description of the journey from the South Pole is such that the reader is tempted to hope that the ending will be different. It isn’t.
Birdie Bowers: Captain Scott’s Marvel, Anne Strathie, The History Press