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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 September 2007, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Oates' sleeping bag case for sale
Sleeping bag case, Christie's Images Limited 2007
The case could fetch up to 40,000, Christie's Images Limited 2007
A sleeping bag case belonging to Captain Lawrence Oates during his ill-fated South Pole expedition is to go on sale at Christie's auction house.

The case has the words "Cpt Oates Polar Party Sleeping Bag" and label addressed to his mother Mrs Oates, Gestingthorpe Hall Castle, Hedingham, Essex.

Oates walked out of the party's tent saying: "I am just going outside and may be some time." He never returned.

His sleeping bag case is set to fetch up to 40,000 at Wednesday's sale.

The five-man expedition team successfully reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912.

Bags dumped

However, they were greeted by the soul-destroying evidence that they had been beaten by rival Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.

The team struggled to reach a food and equipment supply depot, and all perished on the return journey.

The sleeping bags were earlier presented by schools to each member of the team, led by Captain Robert Scott, and all the bags were named.

Oates' was named Trafalgar and presented by Trafalgar House School, Winchester.

His bags were dumped eventually by the surviving members two or three days day after he had walked out of the tent. They were later found by a search party.

The bag case is being sold by a private collector. Oates' sleeping bag is now at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.





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