On Saturday March 17th 1912, Captain Lawrence (Laurie) ‘Titus’ Oates, a member of Robert Falcon Scott’s British Antarctic expedition to reach the South Pole, said his famous last words:
“I am just going outside and may be some time.“.
Captain Oates walked out of the tent, in his socks, to meet a certain death in the terrible blizzard. He decided to sacrifice himself so that his fellow expeditionaries would have a better chance to survive without his burden.
It was his 32nd birthday. His body was never found, and lies today somewhere under 75 feet of snow and ice.
His epitaph, left by his cross, reads:
“Hereabouts died a very gallant gentleman, Captain L. E. G. Oates of the Inniskilling Dragoons. In March 1912, returning from the Pole, he walked willingly to his death in a blizzard to try to save his comrades, beset by hardship.”
A recent book by Michael Smith pays homage to this hero, revealing that he never found out he was a father.