Leeds & West Yorkshire

Plaque to mark South Pole explorer Captain Oates

The explorer who famously sacrificed his life on Captain Scott's doomed South Pole expedition has been honoured with the unveiling of a blue plaque.

Captain Lawrence Oates stepped outside the expedition's tent in 1912, telling his colleagues: "I am just going outside and may be some time."

The blue plaque for him was unveiled at Meanwood Park in Leeds.

The Royal Dragoon Guards have also paraded in York to honour Capt Oates, who was a regiment member.

The 31-year-old was one of five men who died as they tried to return home from Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition 100 years ago.

The group found they had been beaten to the pole by a Norwegian team, led by Roald Amundsen, by 33 days.

'Local hero'

On the return journey, Capt Oates became unwell. After his fellow explorers refused to leave him, he decided to take matters into his own hands by walking out of camp barefoot during a severe blizzard, never to be seen again. His body was never found.

The Leeds park, then called Meanwoodside, was owned by the Oates family before being sold to the city council in 1954.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, who performed the unveiling of the plaque, said: "The story of Captain Scott's expedition and Captain Oates' incredible bravery and self-sacrifice is one of the most famous ever told.

"Meanwood Park is one of the best-loved public parks in the city, and we are delighted to be putting this plaque in place so visitors can find out more."

Peter Bewell, president of Meanwood Village Association, said: "I have lived in Meanwood in Leeds for over 70 years and from being a schoolboy have always regarded Captain Oates as our very own local hero."

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