Download 16.82 Mb.Pdf ko'rish
|him busy, whilst his satellite, Anton, is
ever at work in the stables — an excellent little man.33
Jun e 19 ...O ur daily routine has possessed a settled regularity for a long time.
...Between 8 and 8.30 the men are out and about, fetching ice for melting, etc. Anton is
off to feed the ponies, Demetri to see to the dogs.. .34
21 Edward W. Nelson, the expedition biologist.
22 SLE, Vol. 1, pp. 230-231.
23 W. Lashly, Chief Stoker on the Terra Nova, in charge of the motor sledges.
23 SLE,Vol 1. pp. 237-238.
25 The base of Scott's previous, Discovery, expedition, used as an auxiliary base on the Terra
26 F. J. Hooper, the expedition Steward.
27 Thomas Clissold, the expedition Cook.
2» SLE, Vol. 1, pp. 238.
29 Henry R. Bowers, Lieutenant, Royal Indian Marines. One of Scott's companions at the
30 Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Assistant zoologist.
31 Petty Officer Thomas Crean, R.N.
32 SLE, Vol. 1, p. 248.
33 Ibid, p. 263.
34 Ibid, p. 319.
June 22, MIDWINTER "observed with all the festivity customary at Xmas at home.
...after this show (of slides made by Ponting] the table was restored for snapdragon
and a brew of milk punch was prepared in which we drank the health of Campbell’s
Party35 and of our good friends in the Terra Nova. Then the table was again removed and
a set of lancers36 formed.
By this lime the effect of stimulating liquid refreshment on men so long accustomed to
a simple life became apparent. Our biologist had retired to bed, the silent Soldier [Oates]
bubbled with humour and insisted on dancing with Anton...37
July 14. At noon yesterday, one of the best ponies, 'Bones', suddenly went off his
feed — soon after it was evident that he was suffering from colic. Oates called my atten
tion to it, but we were neither much alarmed... later the pony was sent out for exercise
with Crean... when he returned to the stable, he was evidently worse, and Oates and
Anton patiently dragged a sack to and fro under his stomach...38
August 15 ...It is very pleasant to note the excellent relations which our young
Russians have established with other folk; they both work very hard, Anton having most
to do... Both are on the best terms with their messmate, and it was amusing last night to
see little Anton jamming a felt hat over P. O. Evans' head in high good humour.39
October 13 ...The ponies have been behaving well, with exceptions... The most trou
blesome animal is Christopher. He is only a source of amusement so long as there is no
accident, but I am always a little anxious that he will kick or bite someone. The curious
thing is that he is quiet enough to handle for walking or riding exercise or in the stable, but
as soon as a sledge comes into the programme he is seized with a very demon of vicious
ness, and bites and kicks with every intent to do injury. It seems to be getting harder rather
than easier to get him into the trances; the last two turns, he has had to be thrown, as he is
unmanageable even on three legs. Oates, Bowers and Anton gather round the beast and
lash up one foreleg, then with his head held on both sides Oates gathers back the traces;
quick as lightning the little beast flashes round with legs flying aloft. This goes on until
some degree of exhaustion gives the men a better chance. But as I have mentioned, during
the last two days the period has been so prolonged that Oates has had to hasten matters by
tying a short line to the other foreleg and throwing the beast when he lashes out..."*0
November 1. [The departure for the Pole] ...This morning we got away in detachments
...Bones [pony] ambled off gently with Crean and I led Snippets in his wake...
The wind blew very strong at the Razor Back [island] and the sky was threatening —
the ponies hate the wind. A mile south of this island Bowers and Victor [his pony] passed
me, leaving me where I best wished to be — at the tail of the line.
About this place I saw one of the animals ahead had stopped and was obstinately refusing
to go forward again. 1 had a great fear it was Chinaman, the unknown quantity, but to my
relief found it was my old friend 'Nobby1. As he is very strong and fit the matter was soon
adjusted with a little persuasion from Anton behind. Poor little Anton found it difficult to
keep the pace with short legs.35 * 37 38 * 40 41
35 Lieutenant Victor L. A. Campbell, R.N. Leader of an exploring party which wintered in
3® The most famous of what are now termed “Old Time” dances, the “Lancers" was an indis
pensable part o f family celebrations in the Victorian and Edwardian eras in all levels of society.
37 SLE, Vol. 1, p. 327.
38 Ibid, p. 351-352.
37 Ibid, p. 381-382.
40 Ibid, p. 426-427
41 Ibid, p. 447-448
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
And with that last glimpse, we lose sight o f Anton. Scott does not even
tell us how far he accompanied the Polar party on its way, nor how he
returned to base. His case is not unique. We know from the diary entries
from O cto b er 28 and 31 that Ponting the photograp her and Edward
Atkinson the surgeon set out for Hut Point — the first halt on the route to
the Poled2 But the diary does not mention when they turned back either.
This should not be put down to indifference or negligence on Scott’s part.
His account is, after all, only a diary — and from November 1 onwards, a
diary written in a chilly tent, after a hard day’s sledging. Later departures, as
the Polar party was gradually whittled down to the occupants of a single
tent, were meticulously noted. But in the bustle of departure, with various
groups setting off at different times, it was a somewhat different situation.
Summing up Scott’s account, we observe that Anton had the reputation of
an extremely hard worker — on an expedition where everyone, from the
leader downwards, worked unremittingly! He was skilled in the manage
ment of horses, and had a dry humour in his insight into equine psychology
— as his comments on the death o f Hackenschmidt reveal. He was on good
terms with his messmates — the living quarters in the Hut at Cape Evans
were divided in naval fashion into “officers’” [including scientists’] and
“men’s” quarters^ — joining — insofar as limitations of language permitted
— in any fun and amusement. He clearly disliked abandoning anything he
had started — even continuing to smoke a cigar between bouts of sea-sick
ness. And he was of small stature.
Such was the information available to Bolotnikov, when, in 1965, he trav
elled to Batky to meet Anton Omelchenko’s surviving family and friends.
His account, in Moira Dunbar’s translation, reads as follows:
In Bat'ki I met Nataliya Yefrimovna, Anton Lukich’s widow (she had remarried three
years after his death), his son Illarion Antonovich and family, and the older villagers who
remembered Anton well. From their accounts, and the letters of Zabegaylo and Illarion
Omelchenko. I have succeeded in establishing the main facts about Anton's life, without
question, an unusual and curious one.
He was born in B a t'k i in 1883 into the family o f a hereditary farm er, Luki
Omel'chenko, a family not over-favoured by fortune, whose main wealth consisted of the
children of two marriages. There was not enough land to feed them, and the older broth
ers, like many of their fellow-villagers, went away to find work, mostly to the Stavropol' 42 *
This arrangement, although in accordance with social practice of the time, was not Scott's
original intention. His original plans were for an arrangement of cubicles, but during the erec
tion of the hut, there was found to be insufficient space. Accordingly, a bulkhead o f storages
was built to partition the hut into “men’s” and “officers’” space. Distressing as sucn an arrange
ment may be to the late-20th century ideas on equality, one may note that a) the "men” were
largely naval or ex-naval personnel — and even today, would find nothing strange in such a
division; b) the scientists who lived in the "officers’” quarters spent much o f their “free” time in
the evenings either working or else lecturing to each other on scientific subjects; c) the cooking
stove — the main source of heat for the Hut, was in the men's quarters. See SLE, pp. 96-98.
Griffith Taylor's material, below.
district. Anton was the seventh and youngest of the family. He set out to earn his living at
the age o f ten, landing up on the estate of Mikhail Adamovich Pekhovskiy near
Mineral'nye Vody. At first Anton worked as a herdboy with the dairy herd, and then he
got a place looking after the horses. Pekhovskiy had a stud farm, with a large herd of
pure-bred horses. It was here that the young Omel'chenko found his vocation.
Small, light, quick of movement and clever, it seemed that Anton was born to be a rider.
Pekhovskiy, a passionate horseman, immediately saw the boy's potential and turned him
over for instruction to an experienced trainer, an Englishmen. From this trainer Anton
learned not only to handle unbroken racehorses, but to speak fairly fluent English. In gen
eral, the landowner had guessed right: in a few years Anton became a first-dass jockey,
rode in races and won many prizes, bringing excellent publicity to the Pekhovskiy stud.
After Pckhovskiy's death, the estate came into the possession of Colonel Vedernikov.
The new owner took a fancy to his jockey, look him everywhere and indulged him in
every way. They lived for long periods in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and other large Russian
cities, travelled to Central Asia to buy pure-bred racers, twice went abroad to take part in
race-meetings in England and in Austria-Hungary. When the Russo-Japanese war broke
out, Vedernikov set out for the Far East, taking Omel'chenko with him. According to
Zabegaylo, Anton worked in Vladivostok as a jockey at the hippodrome, and it was there,
late in 1909, that he met Scott's agent, Lieutenant William Bruce, with whom he went to
Harbin to buy the Manchurian ponies...
...I heard many nice things about Omel'chenko from his wife and fellow-villagers,
who described him as a sincere and likable man with a cheerful disposition. He played
the balalayka well, and even when over forty, danced tirelessly and lightly on festive
Bolotnikov’s material, we may note, tallies with and supplements Scott’s
diary in a number of important points: Anton’s small stature (essential in a
jockey), his skill with horses (if he could handle unbroken racehorses, his
ability to help deal with the kicking Hackenschmidt and the recalcitrant
Christopher falls into place), and his presence in Vladivostok.
As we have already noted, Scott’s diary, plus Bolotnikov’s account, constitut
ed the entirety of the material available to the Ukrainian Geographical Society,
when it approached the Scott Polar Institute seeking for further information.
The reply from the Institute referred only to the “ship’s book” of the expedition
— and ev en th ere, as we have noted, m isin terp reted V lad iv o sto k ,
Omelchenko’s current place of residence, as his place of birth. Furthermore, it
did not pass on to Ukraine one small but significant fact contained in that reg
ister. In signing on for the expedition, on 28 October 1910, Anton Omelchenko
gave his age as 26. But according to Bolotnikov, he was born in 1883- If
Bolotnikov is correct — that is, if Anton’s wife and son remembered his year of
birth correctly, then we may assume that Anton was born towards the end of
1883, that is, not earlier than 29 October New Style (17 October, O.S.).
Since the publication o f Dunbar’s translation, Bolotnikov’s account seems
to have been accepted without question as part of the canon of the Polar
biography. The diary of Edward Wilson, Chief of the Expedition’s scientific
staff, was not published until 1972."*5 This book is presented with all the 44 45
Dunbar, op. cil., p. 499-500.
45 Edward A. Wilson, D iary o f the Terra N ova E xpedition to the A ntarctic, 1910-1912 (here
inafter DTNE), London, 1972. Dr. Wilson was one of Scott's companions at the South Pole.
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
apparatus o f modern scholarship, including a biographical appendix, which,
for O m elchenko and Girev, simply reproduce, in precis, Bolotnikov’s
accou nt. Thus we read o f Anton that “w hile w orking as a jo ck ey in
Vladivostok, he met Scott’s agent Wilfred Bruce (q.v.) and travelled with him
to Harbin to buy Manchurian ponies”.'*6 Yet when we turn to the reference
to Bruce, we find that “an entertaining and little-known account o f this
episode is given by Bruce in an article in the magazine The B lu e Peter, June
4 * * 47 And when one turns up the relevant issue of that magazine, one
finds a somewhat different account of Bruce’s role.
Bruce, whose sister, Kathleen, was Scott’s wife,48 was, in 1909, Chief Officer
on a P. and O. mail ship operating the China-Japan route. When Scott began
recruiting for the expedition, Bruce volunteered his services. Scott, however,
felt obliged to reject him “letting me know that he would gladly have taken
me, but he had seven thousand volunteers, and could only take the fittest. As
he knew that I had slight varicose veins in my legs, and as I was his brother-in-
law, he was sorry he could not see his way to accept me”.49
Nevertheless “in the spring of 1910, I received in China a letter asking me
if I would care to join the ship — more or less as a sailing ship expert —
but with no prospect of going with him to the South Pole”.50
Bruce obtained the necessary leave of absence, and rushed back to
London via the Trans-Siberian railway — only to find Scott had tried, unsuc
cessfully, to intercept him by a telegram sent to Irkutsk:
as Cecil Meares, who had been sent to Siberia to collect ponies and dogs for the
Expedition, had asked for another man to assist to transport them from Vladivostok to
New Zealand. Captain Lawrence Oates was eventually to take charge of the ponies, and
Scott had intended to send him out to Meares. But Oates very much wanted to sail all the
way on the Terra Nova, so Scott asked me if I would mind taking his place, as the long
sea voyage would probably be no attraction for me...
...I spent the next few weeks saying goodbye to relatives in the country and left
London for Vladivostok on July 9th.
Meares met me at once to see the twenty ponies and thirty-one dogs which he had col
lected up country, and with which he was quite pleased... .
On July 26th, we shipped out ponies and dogs on the small Japanese steamer Tategam i
The shipment was a dreadful experience, rain was falling in torrents, the streets and
quays many inches deep in mud. The ponies were obstreperous, two of them breaking away
twice. We had three Russian grooms, two for the ponies and one for the dogs.
44 DTNE, p. 253.
47 Ibid, p. 250.
48 Scott had married Bruce's sister, Kathleen, a talented sculptress, in 1908. The only child of
the marriage was Peter Markham Scott (1909-1989), who, in accordance with his father's last let
ter (“Make the boy interested in Natural History... they encourage it at some schools”) grew up
to be Sir Peter Scott, the eminent ornithologist. After Scott's death, Kathleen was given the title
of Lady Scott and the rank of a widow of a Knight of the Bath. The Scott memorial in Waterloo
Place, London, is by Lady Scott.
49 W. M. Bruce, CBE, RD, RNR, "Reminiscences of the Terra N ova in the Antarctic”, The
B lu e Peter,
Vol. XII, No. 123, June, 1932, p. 270
Anton, one of the grooms, recaptured the truant ponies on each occasion. When for
the second time, he had recaptured them, I had got a long rope led through the horse
box on which they were to be hoisted on board, and manned it at the shipend with three
or four heavy men. Whilst trying to fasten the other end to a pony’s head, with Anton sit
ting on its back, the pony reared right up on its hind legs, and before I could dodge
clear, came down with one foreleg on each of my shoulders. I was much less hurt than I
would have expected, as the ponies were not shod.51
The journey was — to say the least — not an easy one. The five men,
with the 31 dogs and 19 ponies (one had been left behind at Vladivostok
with suspected glanders), sailed on the Japanese ship to Kobe, then — since
no British steamship company would accept them — on the German ship
P rin z W aldem ar,
to Sydney, then on the New Zealand steamer M oan a to
W ellington, and finally on another New Zealand vessel, the M aori, to
Lyttelton, where they met the Terra N ova. Trans-shipping the ponies was
traumatic. By the time they reached New Zealand, Bruce writes,
[w]e had become expert at the business by this time, but the ponies appeared to get
more and more frightened on each occasion. We had to blindfold them now before they
were hoisted out of or into a ship, and as I was covering up the head o f one in
Wellington, he struggled so much and threw his head about so quickly that I arrived in
Lyttelton next day with black eyes and a swollen nose.52
His account not only gives us another vignette of Anton’s skill in managing
the recalcitrant ponies and some idea of the formidable task it was to ship these
animals south; it also reveals, quite definitively, that Bolotnikov’s account, for
whatever reason, may on occasion be less than completely accurate. This is per
haps not surprising; his meeting with Illarion Omelchenko took place some 35
years after Anton’s death in 1932. Bolotnikov does not tell us when Illarion was
born. However, as we shall see later, at the time of the Terra N ova expedition,
Anton was still unmarried, and, indeed, seems likely to have married before
around 1920. This would make Illarion, at the most, around 10 or 11 at the time
o f his father’s death. It is hardly strange that — however vivid Illarion’s memoirs
of his father’s tales — some errors may have crept into his recollections. The
same is undoubtedly true of Anton’s widow — who, we recall, remarried some
three years after his death, and the elderly inhabitants of Batky. Indeed, it is
remarkable that Illarion and his mother remembered any of the unfamiliar
British names at all, since — as we shall see later, they had no written material
to refresh their memories. There is, of course, the alternative possibility, that
they remembered no names at all, and that the reference to Bruce was interpo
lated by Bolotnikov. But Scott’s Last Expedition makes no reference at all to
who bought the ponies and dogs, and Bolotnikov’s account of his research
undoubtedly gives the impression that he had read no other accounts of the
expedition. Indeed, had he read these accounts, he would surely have taken
cognizance of the references in them to Anton. 51 52
51 Ibid, p. 271.
52 Ibid, p. 272.
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
The most valuable of these accounts, as far as our knowledge of Anton is
concerned, is The G reat W hite South, written by the expedition’s photogra
pher, Herbert G. Ponting.
Ponting did not, it appears, keep a diary: instead he kept careful notes
about when and where he took his photographs. At the time of the expedi
tion, he already had established himself as a travel writer.55 Not being a
diary, Ponting’s account is somewhat vague about dates, but is vividly writ
ten and informative. And it is to Ponting, of course, that we owe the four
pictures of Anton O m elchenko preserved in the Scott Polar Institute’s
archives.54 Ponting’s work contains some significant material about Anton.
He confirms, for example, Bolotnikov’s mention of his musical ability:“it is
unfortunate that there was so little musical talent amongst us, Nelson could
play the mandolin by ear; Anton, the Russian, occasionally gave us selec
tions on the balalaika, and I had brought my b an jo ...”.55
Ponting also shows us that, in spite of his unremitting toil with the ponies,
Anton had other contributions to make to the expedition’s work. He took
part, for example, in the capture of an Emperor penguin — a matter of con
siderable importance to the scientific programme of the expedition, since the
emperor was believed to be a survival of an extremely primitive form o f bird-
life and thus of considerable importance for the understanding of evolution.56
The first of the three Emperor penguins that we saw at Cape Evans before the winter
darkness fell, came when the sea had frozen over as far out as the bergs that had ground
ed in two hundred fathoms off our cape. While I was testing the new ice — which was
six inches thick near the shore — I spied him about a quarter-of-a-mile away, standing
perfectly still, either asleep or lost in meditation. He looked a perfect giant; but, on get
ting my glass to bear, I found that this gigantic appearance was due to his being reflected
in the glassy ice on which he stood. Summoning two of the men, Anton and Clissold,
who were near at hand, 1 went out to interview him. As we approached, he came for
ward and bowed his head in greeting, with 'a grace a courtier might envy'. We clumsily
returned this salutation; whereupon his majesty made several more genuflexions. After
this ceremonial, he gazed at us; and then advancing to within two yards, delivered a short
speech in penguin language, to which we tried to make appropriate replies. It was obvi
ous that the complaisant bird, never having seen our like before, took us for fellow crea
tures, and was extending to us a friendly greeting; but he appeared to be much puzzled
at our speech and hilarious demeanour...
...Thinking he might at any moment take alarm at our stupidity — and stria instruc
tions having been given to every member of the Expedition to capture any Emperors we
might meet with — I treacherously took advantage of his trust, and slipped about his
55 His book
Download 16.82 Mb.
Do'stlaringiz bilan baham:
Ma'lumotlar bazasi mualliflik huquqi bilan himoyalangan ©fayllar.org 2020
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling