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Huntford hints at involvement with a married American woman, a cover-up, and protection by senior officers.Biographer David Crane reduces the missing period to eleven weeks, but is unable to clarify further.His career progressed smoothly, with service on various ships and promotion to lieutenant in 1889.In 1891, after a long spell in foreign waters, he applied for the two-year torpedo training course on HMS Vernon, an important career step.He rejects the notion of protection by senior officers on the grounds that Scott was not important or well-connected enough to warrant this.Documents that may have offered explanations are missing from Admiralty records.Hannah Scott and her two unmarried daughters now relied entirely on the service pay of Scott and the salary of younger brother Archie, who had left the army for a higher-paid post in the colonial service.Archie's own death in the autumn of 1898, after contracting typhoid fever, meant that the whole financial responsibility for the family rested on Scott.
On this occasion, 1 March 1887, Markham observed Midshipman Scott's cutter winning that morning's race across the bay.
Markham's habit was to "collect" likely young naval officers with a view to their undertaking polar exploration work in the future.
He was impressed by Scott's intelligence, enthusiasm and charm, and the 18-year-old midshipman was duly noted.
Following the news of his death, Scott became a celebrated hero, a status reflected by memorials erected across the nation.
In the closing decades of the 20th century, Scott became a figure of controversy, with questions raised about his competence and character.