WELLER (WILLIAM ISAAC, Able Seaman) Long autograph letter signed, 8 June 1903
Lot 54
WELLER (WILLIAM ISAAC, Able Seaman) Long autograph letter signed, 8 June 1903
Sold for £3,500 (US$ 5,816) inc. premium
Lot Details
WELLER (WILLIAM ISAAC, Able Seaman)
Long autograph letter signed ("W.I. Weller") to his father and Alice, with news of the expedition including his eyewitness account of the loss of Vince, 10 pages (the last blank) of feint-ruled paper, the last leaf slightly frayed and with the loss of one or two letters, small 4to, S.S. Discovery, McMurdo Sound, Victoria Land, 8 June 1903

Footnotes

  • At the time of writing Weller was engaged in the business of transferring stores from the relief ship Morning to Discovery "18 of us pulling close 3 tons 1 sledge of claret & 1 of wiskey". He describes the work of Discovery before moving to winter quarters, including visits to Coulman Island and Cape Adare (where a message for Morning was left), and Lady Newnes Bay where Weller helped to butcher seals and found "I got adrift on a flow of ice for 6 hours so we had to play leap frog & chase penguins to keep ourselves warm (not very pleasant I can assure you)". Christmas was celebrated on 21 June. Weller goes on to give an account of the first, and shambolic, overland attempt to reach the record post at Cape Crozier, and the return "we started to walk up a hill & got to the top all right & walked along a bit & came to another slope & thinking this led down to the ship we sat down & let ourselves go down this slope of ice at a terrible rate, but it ended fatal for when we got to the bottom we found a drop of about 80 feet but one of our chaps name Vince went over & was lost for ever in front off my very eyes. I only just stopped myself...We had erected a cross to Vince at the place he slipped the glacier is called Danger Slope".

    Weller joined Discovery at Lyttleton, bringing the benefit of his experience handling dogs gained when part of the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition to the Arctic (1894-97). He accompanied Discovery's geologist Hartley Ferrar and Thomas Kennar on the expedition which discovered the first fossils located in Antarctica. Sir Clements Markham described him as "fairly good in singing comic songs, and plays the mandolin."

    Prior to the voyage in Discovery Weller was a member of the London Fire Brigade. After the Discovery expedition he married the daughter of a New Zealand sheep rancher, and appears to have remained in New Zealand until 1914 when he embarked for Egypt (and hence possibly Gallipoli) with the Auckland Infantry Battalion. Whether killed in action, or from disease, he did not return home.
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