Sporting on the Ice

Thursday 19 September 2019

Recently Canterbury Museum acquired a medal awarded to First Lieutenant Charles William Rawson Royds during the British National Antarctic Expedition (1901–1904), also known as the Discovery expedition.

Sporting medal front

The front of the medal depicts a penguin. Canterbury Museum 2019.57.1

Sporting events were staged during the expedition to keep morale high, and Antarctic sporting medals such as this one were awarded by Captain Robert Falcon Scott to officers for their accomplishments. It is not known why Royds was awarded this medal but it was possibly for consistent achievement rather than any single sporting feat.

Blank medals were made before leaving England and taken on the voyage south in anticipation of competitions and engraved on the back with the winner’s name once he returned home. For some reason, this medal was never engraved. However, we know it belonged to Royds because of its history of ownership.

Royds gave the medal to Marguerite Makowski, to whom he had become engaged before leaving for the ice. According to her family, Royds’ parents disapproved of the relationship (her name sounded too foreign), and the couple broke it off. As a token of his affection, he gave her the medal, which she passed down to her grandchildren.

This item is not currently on display at the Museum.


Sporting medal

The reverse of the medal is mysteriously left blank. Canterbury Museum 2019.57.1

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