The Sledge Dog Memorial
A memorial to the husky sledge dog, created by sculptor David Cemmick, now stands outside the entrance to BAS Headquarters, Cambridge. The monument commemorates an era when huskies supported Antarctic field travel. Voluntary subscriptions have helped to raise the money for the statue that was unveiled during the Open Day at BAS Headquarters on Saturday 4 July 2009.
The life-size bronze statue is mounted on a plinth of York sandstone with a bronze plaque in front, also mounted on a York sandstone block, that lists all the FIDS/BAS husky dog team names with an inscription ‘Erected by their companions and friends 2009’.
We have to thank our two members Hwfa Jones and Graham Wright for their initiative in starting this project and for persevering over two years, with some assistance from the BAS Office and BAS Club, to raise the necessary funds to commission the work from The Cemmick & Wylder Studio in Lancashire.
At the end of the afternoon, when BAS Headquarters had held an Open Day for some 140 visiting BAS Club members and the sculptor David Cemmick, they all gathered at the BAS front entrance to witness the unveiling of the Husky Sledge Dog monument.
Here are a few words from the address Hyfa and Graham gave:
‘We would like to thank all the people from around the world who have donated to the Fund to ensure this monument has been created. Still so fresh in the minds of those who sledged with dogs, the monument represents a thousand personal stories; most of which will never be told in any official documents. These dogs made possible almost all the overland journeys in the 20th century and shared in the discovery of the continent from which they are now forever banned.
‘We would also like to thank BAS through John Pye for providing the excellent site. After looking through hundreds of pictures of Antarctic husky sledge dogs we realised that they demonstrated so many differing shapes that everybody’s idea of what a husky dog looked like would be different so the statue is just a typical husky dog. David Cemmick, the sculptor, even visited live huskies to get some idea of their size and proportions. One striking feature was that the majority of the dogs had a tail that curled to the left, and many people commented on the harness. Dick Harbour provided the sculptor with an original dog collar and harness that even smelt of dog after 50 years! We sincerely hope the monument lives up to the memories of all those who sledged with the dogs in Antarctica’.
With a short speech, John Pye, on behalf of the BAS Office, unveiled the monument.
After a short speech, John Pye, on behalf of the BAS Office, unveiled the memorial
The life-size bronze statue is mounted on a plinth of York sandstone with a bronze plaque in front, also mounted on a York sandstone block, that lists all the FIDS/BAS husky dog team names with the inscription:
‘Erected by their companions and friends 2009’
The last huskies were removed from the continent in January 1994 under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty Environmental Protocol.
There are many parts of Antarctica that have been trodden by the feet of the husky sledge dogs and few men would have completed their journeys without them.