|Captain Lawrence Edward Grace Oates|
Born 17th March 1880
Died 16th March 1912
Captain Lawrence Edward "Titus" Oates was born on the 17th March 1880 in Putney, London. In 1898, Oates joined the 3rd (Militia) Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment. He saw military service during the Second Boer War as a junior officer in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, having joined in 1900 and been promoted to Lieutenant in 1902, then to Captain in 1906. In March 1901, during the Boer War, he suffered a gunshot wound to his thigh which left it shattered and his left leg an inch shorter than his right leg when it eventually healed.
|Oates and his charges|
It was on the return journey that Oates began to suffer terribly, his feet became very badly damaged by frostbite and there is suggestion that the old wound to his leg was opened up as a result of scurvy. He was failing rapidly. He was aware that he was causing the team to fall behind schedule and placing the others at greater risk. On the 15th March he requested that they left him behind - they refused - but so severely weakened was Oates that they only managed another few miles before camping.
|"A Very Gallant Gentleman"|
Artist: James Charles Dollman
His famous utterance is oft used in jest but we should all remember the horrendous circumstances under which it was first said and today of all days we should raise a glass to Captain Lawrence Oates, a true hero.