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Biographical entry Atkinson, Edward Leicester (1881 - 1929)

23 November 1881
Trinidad, Windward Isles
20 February 1929
on board ship, Mediterranean Sea
Antarctic explorer and Surgeon


Edward Atkinson was a naval surgeon who joined Robert Scott's 1910-1913 Terra Nova Expedition to Antarctica as physician and parasitologist. For much of 1912 Atkinson was in command of the expedition's base at Cape Evans. He made several sledging trips in perilous conditions, and led the party which found the tent containing the bodies of Scott, Henry Bowers and Edward Wilson. On returning from Antarctica, Atkinson published the results of his research on parasites, naming a number of new helminths after his fellow expedition members. For the Navy he conducted research on a parasitic flatworm causing schistosomiasis and on fly-borne diseases. Atkinson served with distinction during WWI, being awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Albert Medal. The Atkinson Cliffs on the northern coast of Victoria Land, Antarctica, were named in his honour.



1908 - 1913
Career position - Medical Officer, Royal Navy
1910 - 1913
Career position - Physician and parasitologist, Terra Nova Antarctic Expedition
Award - Polar Medal (Silver) and clasp
1913 - 1918
Career position - Staff Surgeon, Royal Navy
1918 - 1928
Career position - Surgeon Commander, Royal Navy
Life event - Retired

Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Campbell, William C., 'Presidential address: Heather and ice: an excursion in historical parasitology', Journal of Parasitology, 74 (1) (1988), 2-12. Details
  • Campbell, William C., 'Edward Leicester Atkinson: physician, parasitologist and adventurer', Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 46 (1991), 219-40. Details
  • Guly, Henry, 'Edward Leicester Atkinson (1881 - 1929): Antarctic explorer, scientist and naval surgeon', Journal of Medical Biography, 24 (1) (2016), 110-5. Details


Helen Cohn