Edgar Evans was born in Rhossili, Wales in 1876. He enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1891 and became a petty officer in HMS Majestic . Ten years later, he joined the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott), as petty officer. He took part in many of the sledging operations, including the party led by Scott to explore further routes through the western mountains. Along with Scott and William Lashley, Evans climbed a staircase of glaciers to stand on the polar plateau. They then marched many miles across the bleak plain, turning back on 30 November, and returning to Discovery just in time to celebrate Christmas 1903.
After this expedition, Evans became a naval physical training and gunnery instructor, winning the Royal Tattoo competitions for field gunnery in 1906 and 1907. Impressed by his strength and intelligence in the previous expedition, Scott invited him to join the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913.
Evans again proved a strong sledger and subsequently was included in the main polar party of five selected by Scott for the long sledging journey to the South Pole.
On 17 January 1912, Evans, along with Scott, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edward Wilson, reached the South Pole only to find that Roald Amundsen had arrived before them on 14 December 1911 (Norwegian Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1912).
On the return journey, the weakened party faced exceptionally unfavourable weather and sledging conditions. While descending the lower slopes of the Beardmore Glacier, Evans fell, suffered concussion and died on 18 February 1912.
From the guide to the Edgar Evans collection, 1911, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)