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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 December 2006, 12:00 GMT
Military team reaches South Pole
The team on their quest
Each man has pulled a sledge weighing over 20 stone (127kg)
Members of a British team have become the first military personnel to reach the South Pole for nearly 100 years.

The Polar Quest team traced the footsteps of Capt Robert Scott in Antarctica, and arrived at 0218 GMT.

The team is Capt Sean Chapple from Taunton, Maj Paul Mattin and Surgeon Lt Cdr Andy Brown from Devon and marine Craig Hunter from Kilmarnock, Scotland.

On reaching the pole they flew the UK, Royal Navy and Royal Marines flags and a replica of Captain Scott's flag.

On Tuesday an RAF team was forced to abandon its assault on the South Pole because of medical issues.

My eyes filled with tears
Capt Sean Chapple
Royal Navy Captain Robert Falcon Scott's uncompleted venture in 1912 was the last time service personnel were involved in a trip to the South Pole.

Capt Chapple's team, made up of three Royal Marines and a Royal Navy sailor, is to hold a remembrance service for all those who have lost their lives in the exploration of the North and South Poles, including all five members of Scott's ill-fated 1912 expedition in Antarctica.

'Totally exhausted'

Capt Chapple, of the Royal Marines, said: "When we arrived at the South Pole there was a total mixture of feelings and emotions.

"It was on one part elated that we'd achieved our goal, another part relief that we wouldn't have to get up in the morning at half seven and haul that sledge again.

"I was unable to contain the overwhelming feeling of relief and my eyes filled with tears."

He said the team was "totally exhausted" and they had all lost a lot of body weight and suffered some frost damage to their faces and hands.

After skiing and walking to the Pole, the team will now turn around and complete their 1,450 mile (2,334 km) return journey in temperatures of -27C (-16.6F).

The men have been using giant kites which harness the power of the wind and will reduce the length of the trip by between 15 and 20 days.

They were unsupported by dogs or vehicles.

Departing from an area known as Patriot Hills in Antarctica in early November, each man has pulled a sledge weighing more than 20 stone (127kg), which contained everything they needed to survive.


SEE ALSO
Rival team is set to reach Pole
26 Dec 06 |  England
Marines ready for South Pole trip
27 Oct 06 |  Somerset

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