A goodbye letter, which Royal Navy officer and explorer Robert Falcon Scott wrote when he realized that he would not be able to survive his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, will be sold at Bonhams.

The letter was found in November 1912 on his body and was written to Sir Edgar Speyer, American-born financier and philanthropist.

In the letter, Scott expressed concerns for his family and the family of his companions. He wrote that they must go...but we have been to the Pole and we shall die like gentlemen - I regret only for the women we leave behind. If this diary is found, it will show how we stuck by our dying companions and fought this thing out to the end.

He further wrote that they very nearly came through and it's a pity to have missed it but lately I have felt that we have overshot our mark - no-one is to blame and I hope no attempt will be made to suggest that we lacked support.

Scott, who was born in 1968, is regarded as an iconic British hero, a status maintained for more than 50 years and reflected by the many permanent memorials erected across the nation.

The letter was earlier owned by renowned American polar explorer, Rear Admiral Richard E Byrd. It was presented to Byrd at a dinner in his honor in 1935 by Sir Edgar Speyer's widow.

Bonhams has mentioned that the letter would be auctioned in March to reflect the centennial year of the expedition and is estimated at around $243000.