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Discovery was built for Captain Scott's first Antarctic expedition of 1901-04 and was launched more than 100 years ago in 1901, at Dundee. She had a long and intriguing career before her final voyage back there in 1986; this book tells the story of that chequered history.
Despite a number of expeditions to the Southern Ocean during the nineteenth century, the continent of Antarctica remained mostly a mystery by the turn of the twentieth. To remedy this the Royal Geographical Society proposed a National Antarctic Expedition, and a purpose-built vessel, the Discovery, was designed. Based on a whale ship, she was massively built to withstand ice, and was equipped with a hoisting propeller and rudder. Sh set sail from Cowes of 6 August and six months later was in the Ross Sea. The southern sledging expedition, of Scott, Shackleton and Wilson, reached within 500 miles of the South Pole.
In 1905, a year after her return to Britain, she was purchased by the Hudson's Bay Company and worked as a simple cargo carrier between London and their trading posts in the Canadian Arctic. Later she was sent to rescue Shackleton's men on Elephant Island. In 1925 she became a research ship, and in 1929-31 she was used to survey what became Australian Antarctic territory. Moored on the Thames Embankment, she survived the London blitz before returning to Dundee where she is now on permanent display.
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