This hat was worn by naval officer Captain Robert Falcon Scott, leader of two expeditions to Antarctica. Although now probably most closely associated with Napoleon Bonaparte, the bicorn was widely used in military uniforms from the 1790s. The British Royal Navy introduced the hat in 1827 as part of the dress uniform. The hat fell out of use during the First World War but it was not officially retired until the 1950s.
Scott holds the distinction of being leader of the second group to reach the South Pole. First place went to the Norwegian Expedition lead by Roald Amundsen, who had reached the pole just 34 days earlier on 14 December 1911. Plagued by harsh weather and rough terrain, the 1500 km journey back to base proved deadly for Scott and his men. Petty Officer Edgar Evans died in February 1912. Captain Lawrence Oates walked out into a blizzard never to be seen again. Scott, Lieutenant Henry Robert Bowers and chief scientist Edward Wilson died of starvation and exposure in a tent on 12 March 1912. Their bodies were found eight months later.