About Us

Polar Buffs meeting 2005Polar Buffs meeting 2005
Scott 100 conferenceScott 100 conference Plymouth University 2011

The Devon and Cornwall Polar Society (DCPS) was started on an informal basis, by a group of 'polar buffs' and other enthusiasts of the Heroic Age, in 2005 by Paul Davies. It is based in the City of Plymouth, Devon - the birthplace of Captain Scott. The society meets at least twice a year, usually at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel. Lectures and occasional visits are also arranged.

We have about fifty members drawn from all walks of life. Some members are descendants of the men who sailed with Scott and Shackleton, others are connected to the BAS Medical Unit at Derriford Hospital, some are ex FIDS/BAS members, some are scientists studying the polar regions and some are simply interested in the subject. Everyone is welcome to join the Society.

The aims of the Society are:

  • To promote interest in the polar regions and, in particular, in the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration
  • To organise regular meetings with speakers and other events
  • To support polar charities

Our Patrons are:

  • Mrs Philippa Foster Back - granddaughter of Frank Debenham
  • Hon. Alexandra Shackleton - granddaughter of Sir Ernest Shackleton
  • Ms Nicola Starks - granddaughter of Captain Robert Scott
  • Dr David Wilson - great nephew of Dr Edward Wilson

Our President is Paul Davies and Vice Presidents are Denis Wilkins and John Killingbeck.

The Society has hosted several significant events in recent years. The first was a commemoration of the centenary of the last meal of the crew and officers of Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition of 1907 to 1909 at the Torbay Hotel on the 6 August 2007. The second was a formal dinner to commemorate the 140th birthday of Captain Scott on the 6 June 2008 in Plymouth. This event was attended by a number of descendants of Captain Scott and his men, including Scott's granddaughter, the grandchildren of Frank Debenham and Teddy Evans, the granddaughters of Fred Parsons and the great nephew of Edward Wilson. The third event was a highly successful Scott 100 Conference with Plymouth University in June 2011 attended by 200 polar enthusiasts and a dinner at HMS Drake.

The Society led the arrangements for the Re-dedication of the National Scott Memorial at Mount Wise, Devonport by HRH the Princess Royal in March 2012. At the same time Society members attended the Plymouth schools' production of the musical 'Great Scott' and also displays and lectures at the Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery. At the end of March, a large group of us attended the Service which commemorated the Centenary of the British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition. This was held in St Paul's Cathedral and was a wonderful occasion, again attended by HRH the Princess Royal and many other dignitaries.

We continued our Scott Celebrations with a dinner on the 6 June 2013 to celebrate Captain Scott's 145th birthday, with after dinner speaker Jules Evans, grandson of Teddy Evans.

On the 7 August 2014 a formal dinner was held at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel to celebrate the centenary of farewell meal and overnight stay there by Sir Ernest Shackleton before sailing from Millbay dock with the Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition, aboard 'Endurance'. The occasion also included lectures, the unveiling of a blue plaque by Hon Alexandra Shackleton, a display of the replica 'James Caird' used by Tim Jarvis during the EPIC expedition and the re-enactment of the sailing of Endurance by a period sailing ship from Charleston, Cornwall.

We held a another major event on 6th June 2018 - the 150th anniversary of Captain Scott's birth in Plymouth which included a church service at Scott's birthplace, lectures, music, a gala dinner and a public lecture at the newly opened Scott College in the city. Guest of Honour at the event was Falcon Scott, Captain Scott's grandson.

The conclusion to the centenaries Heroic Age of Antarctic Expedition was commemorated in Plymouth with two events relating to Shackleton's Quest Expedition. In September 2021 a day event of talks relating to the departure of Quest from Millbay Dock which included presentations from Jan Chojecki, Alan Noake and Kevin Kenny (see QUEST 100 on this site). The return of Quest a year later was remembered by another talk by Jan Chojecki and the launch of his book 'The Quest Chronicle'.