National Biscuit Day: See a biscuit found in Captain Scott's tent after his doomed Antarctic Expedition

By Ben Miller | 29 May 2015

What's your favourite biscuit? Scott's Polar explorers ate a white flour and sodium bicarbonate variety

A close-up photo of an ancient brown biscuit in a small museum holding case
© Thomas Cogley
Owned by the Royal Engineers Museum Library and Archive, this biscuit was one of the last remaining items of food found in the tent of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Adrian Wilson and Henry Robertson Bowers from the Terra Nova Expedition to the Antarctic. They all died while attempting to return from the South Pole in 1912.

Before setting out, Scott is said to have instructed Cecil Meares, who was in charge of the dogs team, to transport three cases of biscuits as part of enough food to feed four men for a week on the way back.

The British biscuits on the trip were made with white flour and sodium bicarbonate, whereas the ones eaten by their rival Norwegians consisted of oatmeal and yeast – providing B vitamins to sustain the nervous systems of Roald Amundsen’s men.

Biscuits also played their part in the heroics of Tom Crean, a member of a Scott support trio who made it back to camp while the explorer continued in the South Pole. Taking biscuits and chocolate with him, Crean made it back to base and raised the alarm, saving his companions from perishing during their own difficult return journey.

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