RBCM Archives

Series MS-0455 - Cecil Henry Meares papers

Three people and their do... Dogsledding on flat terrain. An orthodox church in the... A lighthouse in winter. Hailing a lighthouse from... A large lighthouse on a s... Greeting card signed by L...

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Cecil Henry Meares papers

General material designation

  • textual material
  • graphic material
  • multiple media
  • microform

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Series

Reference code

MS-0455

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1910-1961 (Creation)
    Creator
    Meares, Cecil Henry, 1877-1937

Physical description area

Physical description

26 cm of textual records, 851 photographs, 1 microfilm reel : negative ; 35 mm

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Meares, Cecil Henry, 1877-1937

Biographical history

Cecil Meares was a British military officer and a traveller. He was later a resident of Victoria, B.C.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Cecil Henry Meares was an adventurer, explorer and British naval officer. Son of a British Army officer, born in Ireland, educated in Scotland and England, Meares left school at the age of 17 and travelled extensively in Europe and Asia, picking up languages as he went, driving dog teams and engaging in the fur trade in Siberia, in Peking (Beijing) during the Boxer Uprising, serving in the Boer War, observing the Russo-Japanese War and surveying Manchuria, during which time he may or may not have been engaged in intelligence and diplomatic work. In December 1907 he joined [Lieut.] J.W. Brooke in an expedition to the largely unexplored mountainous Chinese-Tibetan borderland of western Sichuan province. A year later, Brooke was killed by members of the Lolos tribe (Xi ethnic minority) and Meares returned to England where Scott was organizing the British Antarctic Expedition. Meares volunteered. Scott sent Meares to Siberia to obtain dogs and ponies and transport them to New Zealand. As the expedition's dog handler, Meares also engaged in depot-laying, scouting, running stores from camp to camp and putting in a telephone line. In 1910-1911 he was part of Scott's British Antarctic Expedition, accompanying Scott's Polar Party as far as Beardmore Glacier. [R]ecalled by family affairs, he left in 1912, shortly before Scott's party perished. When World War I broke out in 1914, he served in the Corps of Interpreters and as a Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve officer in the Royal Naval Air Service. In 1915 he married Annie Christina Spengler. After the war he went to Japan as part of the British Air Mission, advising the Japanese Naval Air Service, for which he was presented with the Order of the Sacred Treasure Third Class and a sword. Sometime thereafter he and his wife decided to move to Victoria although they also maintained a cottage in Santa Barbara. A 1939 article in the Victoria Colonist credits Meares with introducing the Himalayan blue poppy (Meconopsis baileyi) to Victoria. He died in Victoria in 1937. After the death of his wife, in 1974, souvenirs of his travels were put up for auction. His sword, medals, books, a sled flag, and papers went to the BC Provincial Museum. The records consist of letters and a postcard, 1910-1913, relating to the British Antarctic Expedition; letters written to his future wife from the trenches, in 1914; a letter and certificates re his service with the British mission in Japan, 1921-1922; a bound and illustrated manuscript entitled "The Land of the Budorchus" and printed articles re his travels in Western China, ca. 1908-1909. The records also contain documents relating to his wife, Annie Christina Meares. Photographs transferred to Visual Records, accession 197901-110. Books transferred to the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge. Most but not all of the records have been microfilmed on Reel A00747. They do not necessarily appear in the order shown below. There are also some documents on the microfilm which are not among the originals. Photographs transferred to Visual Records, accession 197901-110. Books transferred to Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Bequeathed to the B.C. Provincial Museum by Mrs. C.H. Meares; transferred to the Provincial Archives in 1976. Artifacts retained by the Museum.

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Availability of other formats

Most but not all of the records have been microfilmed on Reel A00747. They do not necessarily appear in the order of the originals and there are some documents on the microfilm which are not among the originals.

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General note

Accession number(s): MS-0455; 197901-110; 76-112

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Physical storage

  • Box: A00747