Atkinson, Edward Leicester 1882-1929Alternative names
Edward Leicester Atkinson was born in Trinidad on 23 November 1882. He was educated at Forest School in Walthamstow and studied medicine at St Thomas's Hospital. He qualified as a surgeon in 1906 and subsequently entered the Royal Navy in 1908. Atkinson joined the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (leader Robert Falcon Scott) as surgeon to the main party and as parasitologist and bacteriologist. The expedition proved to be productive for Atkinson, who found some interesting new parasites of potential scientific importance, including the discovery of a new tape-worm in the intestines of the Adelie penguin. As a member of the support party, he accompanied Scott's polar party as far as the upper depot on the Beardmore Glacier. Atkinson remained at Cape Evans for a second winter, as senior officer taking charge in the absence of Victor Campbell. With growing anxiety about Scott and those missing with him, Atkinson decided to lead a search party. The party found and buried the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers in November 1912.
During the First World War, Atkinson served with the Royal Naval Division at Gallipoli and with the Royal Marine Howitzer Brigade in France and was awarded the DSO and the Albert Medal. He continued in the Navy after the war reaching the rank of Surgeon-Commander. He died at sea on 20 February 1929.
From the guide to the Edward Leicester Atkinson collection, 1910 - 1928, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)
- Antarctica Discovery and exploration (as recorded)