The Trust is thrilled to announce that Capital Group has awarded the British Antarctic Oral History Project a further £4000 this year. We also wish to thank the British Antarctic Survey Club (BASC) for their £1400 donation and the South Georgia Association who will fund one interview. Thanks also go to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Archives Service who catalogue and store the interviews and offer expert advice. Volunteers are an essential part of the project and without them our work would be greatly diminished.
The project preserves the memories of those extraordinary, dedicated and often heroic individuals involved in British endeavour in Antarctica. Its main focus is from the first continuous British presence in Antarctica during Operation Tabarin (1944) to the 1960’s but recordings from more recent times are also included (such as the first women to go south or the discovery of the ozone hole).
One concern is that there are many people overseas who had an important role in British Antarctic history but have not been possible to interview due to distance. Skype was recently trialled with good results so the awards will enable us to capture these overseas candidates and make the collection more complete.
The recollections offer us a unique, often entertaining insight into personal, social, political and scientific interactions and varied perspectives on the challenges and eccentricities of living in one of the world’s most hostile environments. This is a public collection that will inspire people for generations to come.
Our long term goal is to make the interviews easily accessible to everyone (it is possible to listen to them through the BAS Archives Service on request). In 2013/2014 we will be exploring the best ways to do this online. A selection of extracts can be listened to on the project’s webpage http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/oralhistory.
The project is a collaboration between the UKAHT, BAS, BAS Club, the Scott Polar Research Institute and the British Museum.
The executors of the late Humphrey Smith’s estate have donated this magnificent painting to the British Antarctic Monument Trust. Humph was an ex Signy Fid and Bas Club Member and commissioned this painting from celebrated Fid painter Mike Skidmore. Mike is making minor changes and restoration to the picture ahead of its auction.
Should you wish to make a bid please contact Tony Wincott by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07702055061.
The painting will be on display at the BAS Club Alnwyck reunion for a silent auction. All monies raised will be placed in the BAMT fund towards establishing the Southern Monument in Stanley 2014
The agenda is now available in the members' section
The Spring edition of Planet Earth Online is now available to view and download. Not much BAS stuff in it this time though!
Microbiologist, British Antarctic Survey 1968-74
wintered Signy 1970 and summer visits 1968-69 and 1983-84
Humph’s ashes are to be scattered this spring in his belovéd woodland known as Mabley Wood on Saturday 27th April 2013, between 2 and 4pm.
Liz and Mark would welcome anybody who would like to be there, be with them, and to be at Humph’s final resting place. Humph particularly loved springtime in the woods when “everything’s coming out to play.”
Mabley Wood is at Woolhope, near Hereford
Visiting vehicles may park at Siege Wood, near the entrance to Mabley Wood which will be signed.
For its location: 1:50,000 OS Explorer Series 189, Grid Reference SO 605344
For those using a sat nav: the post code for the car park is HR1 4QL
For contact details please call Liz and Mark on 01432 861000 or 07749 880277
From AAD website
The Director of the Australian Antarctic Division Dr Tony Fleming says the Australian Antarctic community is deeply saddened by the plane crash in Antarctica and thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of the crew.
Dr Fleming said the Twin Otter operated by Canadian based Kenn Borek Air, which crashed in the Queen Alexandra range halfway between the South Pole and McMurdo station on Wednesday, had worked with the Australian Antarctic program over the summer season.
“The crew were great friends of the Australian Antarctic program and our expeditioners,” Dr Fleming said.
“The air crew were very well respected and had been embraced as part of our Antarctic station communities, we are deeply saddened by their loss,” he said.
“A couple of the crew had just completed a second year working with us in Antarctica performing a vital role supporting our science and moving expeditioners between stations during the season.
“I know they loved working with us and we certainly enjoyed and valued their contribution and friendship,” Dr Fleming said.
“Our hearts go out to their families, friends and colleagues at Kenn Borek Air as we share their grief at this time.”
Dr Fleming flew to Australia’s Wilkins Runway in Antarctica today to meet with some of the Antarctic expeditioners who are mourning the loss of their great friends.
More on the tragedy from ‘The Australian’ newspaper. 28/01/2013
The bodies of three Canadians who died when their plane crashed into an Antarctic mountain will not be recovered until October at the earliest, officials said today.
Conditions on the frozen continent were too dangerous for an immediate recovery operation, with the plane's cockpit embedded in snow and ice at a height of 3900m, Antarctica New Zealand (ANZ) said.
“I’m sad to say our teams have not been able to access and safely recover the remains of the crew, it’s just unsafe to do so,” ANZ operations manager Graeme Ayers told Radio New Zealand.
“The aircraft has suffered a major impact into the side of the mountain and the front of the aircraft is firmly embedded in snow and ice.”
The Twin Otter belonged to Kenn Borek Air, a Canadian firm that charters aircraft to the US Antarctic program, and disappeared last Wednesday while on a supply run from the South Pole to Italy’s Antarctic base at Terra Nova Bay.
Ayers said search crews had managed to recover some equipment from the tail of the plane but no attempt would be made to reach the bodies until conditions eased later this year.
“At this stage we're deferring the operation for recovery of any remains until the next Antarctic science season, which commences in October this year and runs through to February of the following year,” he said.
Rescuers initially hoped to find the crew alive but described the crash as “not survivable” when they found the wreckage Saturday.
New Zealand coordinated the search, with cooperation from US and Italian authorities in Antarctica, because the Queen Alexandra range lies in its rescue zone.
A British-Australian expedition recreating Ernest Shackleton's perilous 1916 crossing of the Southern Ocean in a small boat has set off, braced for fearsome seas and icy, bleak conditions.
Led by renowned adventurer Tim Jarvis, the team of six plans to sail 800 nautical miles in a spartan lifeboat from Elephant Island off the Antarctic Peninsula to rugged South Georgia, their support team said.
While there were unusually moderate winds and a small swell as they pushed off, the team was heading for looming pack ice to the east as they bid to relive part of what is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever survival tales.
They plan to only use the equipment, navigational instruments and food available to Shackleton during his 16-day voyage before facing a two day climb to 2,950 feet over the mountainous, crevassed interior of South Georgia.
That will take them to the old whaling station at Stromness on the other side of the island, where Shackleton and his crew, with little more than the clothes on their backs, raised the alarm about the sinking of their ship, the Endurance.
"We are well aware of the dangers but believe we have a good little boat (an exact replica of the original James Caird), a great team and the spirit and courage to be able to honour the legend of Shackleton," Mr Jarvis said.
From the Antarctic Sun website. By Jeffrey Donenfeld, Special to the Sun, Posted January 11, 2013
As tradition dictates, on New Year’s Day the geographic South Pole marker was moved to its freshly surveyed position, and the new brass-and-copper plaque that tops the marker was revealed.
The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station sits on a moving sheet of ice more than two miles thick. The site where the geographic marker, sign and American flag are installed drifts about 30 feet per year due to ice flow. In order to keep the marker in close proximity to the point where all the lines of longitude meet, the site is re-surveyed Jan. 1 each year. [See previous article — A good point: South Pole geographic marker changes with the times.]
The entire South Pole Station staff gathered outside between the old and new pole locations this year and formed a semicircle. Each person helped pass the American flag from its drifted location to the new location just beside the 90 degrees South marker.
Almost all hands were present for the ceremony, including station manager Bill Coughran, winter site manager Weeks Heist, and National Science Foundation representative Vladimir Papitashvili. The weather was sunny and a warm at just below minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the American flag had been moved, Heist revealed the design of the newly relocated geographic South Pole marker. This year’s marker was created by science machinist Derek Aboltins during the 2012 winter. It was machined out of brass and copper.
The marker shows the position of the planets as viewed from the South Pole on Jan 1, 2013. There are seven brass planets displayed on a copper inlay. In the very center is a small copper star that marks the South Pole.
It also “represents the earth sciences done from here, as we reach out to understand our planet. The large brass star represents astronomy and astrophysics, as it extends out past our solar system in the quest for knowledge,” Aboltins wrote in his description of the marker.
“In the center of the marker (in brass) we have the sun, sunset and moon, with the Southern Cross, including the pointers. If you look carefully, the small inscription above the moon reads, ‘Accomplishment & Modesty.’ This was a reference to honor Neil Armstrong, as he passed away when I was making this section with the moon.”
There was even a nod in the design to disenfranchised Pluto: “For those of you who still think Pluto should be a planet, you’ll find it included underneath, just to keep everyone happy,” Aboltins said. “Bring back Pluto, I say!”
The previous 2012 South Pole marker was removed from its old location, and a flag was placed in its stead to mark the previous site. The 2012 marker will be displayed at the entrance of the South Pole Station.
NERC has published its summary of the consultation and the Council response.
In the early hours of Christmas Day (Tuesday 25 December 2012) Professor Martin Siegert, Principal Investigator of the Subglacial Lake Ellsworth experiment, confirmed that the mission to drill into the lake has been called off for this Antarctic season.
The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards for outstanding achievement and service to the United Kingdom in the field of polar research.
- Antarctic to 2012: Mr Steven Richard Colwell, Meteorologist—British Antarctic Survey
- Antarctic to 2011 Mr John Cameron Withers, Dive Officer, Base Commander— British Antarctic Survey
- Antarctic to 2012 Mr Simon Martin Garrod, Polar Field Leader—British Antarctic Survey/Antarctic, Logistics and Expeditions
- Arctic to 2012 Professor Terrence Vincent Callaghan, Professor in Arctic Ecology, University of Sheffield. Director, Swedish Royal Academy of Science—Abisko Station
- Antarctic to 2012 Mr Tudor Morgan, Field Operations Manager—British Antarctic Survey, Operations Manager—United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust
- Antarctic 1957–60 Mr Edward Christopher John Clapp MBE, Radio Operator, Base Commander—Falkland Island Dependencies Survey
French artist Marianne Dubois has created a fine scene in her own method of the RRS Ernest Shackleton.
The painting is unframed and measure 400mm x 400mm.
She is offering the original for sale for 250 Euros.
Anyone interested can contact her at email@example.com
Her address is 76450 Cany Barville France
BAMT to reach areas others rarely do! More information in the British Antarctic Monument Trust newsletter
The proposed BAS-NOC merger was debated in the House of Lords on 18 October 2012.
A video and transcript of the debate are now available online
This letter is only sent out to email recipients or posted on the Z FIDS website
If you would like to receive this newsletter by email in future please contact Andy Smith directly (email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BAS Club AGM minutes
The minutes from the 2012 AGM held in Cambridge are now available in the Members Section.
There are many events still to come worldwide relating to the Scott Centenary Year.
We are publishing the events calendar for members information.
British Pathe News have available a short film of FIDS in 1964.
This will open up a few memories of epic sledging journeys and doggies etc. It was “rugged” in them there days. This link will give a taster of the main film but no sound though The Club would be interested to here from any of the “stars” and anyone recognising those in the film and where it was shot
Send all comments to the Club Secretary, Tony Wincott (email: email@example.com
Over a hundred FIDS and guests enjoyed a very interesting afternoon visit to BAS HQ on 7th July The proceedings kicked off with a superb buffet lunch scradge in the Icebreaker. Various groups the visited glaciology ,paleantology and cartology sectors as well as a lecture and film showing.
The rain cleared later on and the sun shone for Dick Harbour at the Memorial Orchard dedication which closed the proceedings.
The Committee thank Robert Culshaw and the BAS staff for giving their time freely to ensure that the event went smoothly.
Some great times South were recollected by the attendees at this mini Reunion on June 21st
After a practice run in several local hostelries they repaired to a superb local Italian Restaraunt to relate all the daring tales and catch up on the 40 odd years of intervening activities Finally and exhausted all departed to various pits having ensured the world was well and truly put to rights!!Pat and Roger are soon to be Club memebers. Apologys for abscence were recieved from Don MacKAy and Peter Holloway.
Left to right: Brian Jones, Builder, Signy and Halley 1973–4; Roger Crockford, EDH, John Biscoe; Tony Wincott, Halley and South Georgia, 1972–74; Pat Crockford, John Biscoe and Bransfield Bosun; Tony Jackson, Halley, Electrician 1971–74
In a first for both Clubs BASC Secretary Tony Wincott and his wife Janet were hosted by ANARE at their European ANARE Mid Winter Luncheon. It is hoped that this will continue to be a reciprocating event gouing forward. ANARE Club member Paul Gigg and his wife will be attending the Cambridge Dinner this year. Paul had the following comments to add:
“"A sincere thank you to Tony and Janet for joining with us, both personally and representing the BAS Club. I know we all enjoyed learning more of our BAS colleagues, perhaps not so much removed to us here in Europe as being on the other side of the continent, within whom we are now resident and sharing similar experiences. We look forward to the future of fraternal representative relations between our two groups.”
On May 27 2012, a memorial to Tom Allan was unveiled by his relatives. The Memorial, sculptured by his niece Marion Hughes, was a copy in stone of the woodcarving Tom Allan had created to hang above the bar at Stonington, Ye Compleat Fidde. Below it she had also carved, Tom Allan 1940–1966. FIDs from Tom’s generation joined the fifty family and local friends in remembering Tom.
Tom Allan’s sister, Dorothy, was the Master of Ceremonies. After the unveiling of the memorial, she read a eulogy on the life and times of her brother. She included Tom’s association with St Ronan’s Wells and the history of the original wood carving of Ye Compleat Fidde. This was followed by a speech from Terry Tallis, Base Commander at Stonington in the year Tom lost his life. Terry concluded by reading the following:
The British Antarctic Survey Club, with over a thousand members spread over the world, would like to pay tribute to Tom Allan for his work, friendship and contribution to the work of the Survey. His great sacrifice of 1966, in Antarctica in the worst of conditions, is both regretted and mourned, but his memory among fellow Fids survives, in true Polar tradition.
Refreshments followed that were laid out in the front of St Ronan’s Wells. Ali Skinner, Ted Tallis, Dave Matthews, Keith Holmes and Ken Doyle renewed contact of their times south, and both family and visitors enjoyed interacting on such a fine afternoon. Inside the St Ronan’s Wells Visitor Centre panels and artefacts were on display telling Tom’s story, and explaining why there was a new sculpture in the St Ronan’s Wells garden.
The family of Tom Allan had now finally and fully celebrated Tom’s life — as one would at a funeral — but after a delay of 46 years.
|Marion Hughes, sculptor and niece of Tom Allan||Guests arriving at St Ronan’s Wells before the ceremony||Marion Hughes’ sculpture of Ye Compleat Fidde||Tom Allan’s original wood carving Ye Compleat Fidde||Part of the display in the Visitor Centre at St Ronan’s Wells|
The James Caird Society was established in 1994 and is dedicated to preserving the memory and honour of Sir Ernest H Shackleton KCVO (1874–1922). It is the based at Dulwich College, London — the explorer’s old school.
The Society is a registered charity and its President is the Hon Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Ernest Shackleton.
The (restored) famous lifeboat ‘James Caird’ is on permanent display in the North Aisle of the College and in May and November each year a dinner-lecture is held where members gather around the ‘Caird’.
A regular Newsletter is circulated and every 18 months the JCS ‘Journal’ (a quality and highly regarded academic publication) is produced. See www.jamescairdsociety.com (follow the link to Publications).
The Society is thriving (there are in excess of 550 members worldwide) and attracts the attention of polar professionals and enthusiasts alike.
The Committee welcomes new members — please see the James Caird Society website for more information.
An update from Felicity Aston:
On the 24th November 2011 I found myself on the Ross Ice Shelf waving goodbye to a plane already tiny in the sky — and to the last people I would see for a long time. On one side of me I had an incredible view of the Transantarctic Mountains, a solid wall of rock stretching from one horizon to the other, and on my opposite side I had a vast, empty expanse of ice that extended all the way to the sea. In that entire, magnificent landscape I was the only speck of life. I have never been so alone and — despite more than 10 years experience of travelling in the Polar Regions — the loneliness hit me hard.
Ahead of me I had a 1744km (1084 mile) ski journey across Antarctica that would take me the next 59-days to complete. Every night I would set up my little two-man tent on the ice and it eventually became my precious home — but that first night on the Ross Ice Shelf, it felt very lonely without any tent mates to share it with. Over time I found company in my surroundings to combat the loneliness — first it was my shadow that would ski alongside me for most of the day as the sun endlessly circled above me in the sky, but later it was the sun itself that became my companion. I would have conversations in my head with the sun as I skied — and the sun would talk back!
As I climbed through the Transantarctic Mountains to a height of more than 3500m, the temperatures plummeted and the bad weather was disappointingly relentless. Often the world around me disappeared into a featureless white haze for days at a time. However, no matter how difficult the weather I never once lost sight of the drama and incredible beauty of this wonderful continent or forgot just how lucky I was to experience it and to feel as if I had the whole place to myself.
When I arrived at the South Pole the weather was so bad that I could barely see it — but after taking a day to rest and reload my two sledges with new supplies I left to head for the opposite coast. Some 29 days later I was skiing through bad weather when the clouds parted a little and I noticed some dark blobs on the horizon. I stopped in my ski tracks and burst into tears because I realised that I was looking at the Ellsworth Mountains and at the end of my journey. Three days later I arrived at the coast of Antarctica having skied across the entire continent — I still can’t quite believe it.
Felicity Aston, Ex FID and BAS Club member, has just walked 1744 kms across the Antarctic from the Ross Ice Shelf to the Ronne Ice Shelf at the most southerly end of the Wedell Sea. She accomplished this feat in 59 days starting on 25 November. She is the first woman to ski across Antarctica alone and the first British woman to traverse Antarctica. Felicity also holds the world record for the longest solo journey made by a woman in the polar regions.
You can recognise Felicity’s achievement and support her fundraising for the British Antarctic Monument Trust (Charity reg 1123064) by donating to her appeal at Felicity-Aston at JustGiving. At the time of writing she has raised in excess of £2400 from donations. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Felicity has responded to the BAS Club as follows
“I have had several brilliant messages from ex-FIDs, particularly from those who had experience of the areas I passed through, and those messages are especially appreciated — to be able to connect with those that went before is really special. My journey was a lot more comfortable than some of the experiences of early FIDs, so to earn their respect is something I am proud of. It’s wonderful to feel that I had their support.
“I would really like to thank all those BAS Club members that supported and followed my journey — it was really appreciated.”
BAS club has recently joined Facebook, and set up a page which links to News, Information, photographs etc and it is hoped that Club members (and prospective new members) will ‘Like’ the page and start to use it.
Secrets of Antarctica — a DVD from BAS
There are four TV programmes on the DVD containing programmes screened screened on BBC World. The first programme is focused on Operation Tabarin. The second on the clean-up of abandoned bases. The third on BAS Science today. The fourth programme is a film made by Angus Erskine in 1957 of the skills needed for field travel with dogs.
The DVD is available from the Information Office at BAS, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ET. Cost is £12.50 with 0.75p extra for postage and packing. There is a special price for BAS Club Members. Contact BAS Information Office.
Topographical Survey and Mapping of BAT: 1944–1986
Copies of this book on the history of BAT/FID surveys by M B McHugo is available through the British Antarctic Survey. The book is priced at £30. Please note that postage is £3.10 for UK delivery; £4.44 for European delivery; £7.40 for delivery to the rest of the world. Cheques should be made payable to NERC. You may print the flyer if you wish for a hard copy.