A Postal History Gallery of Related Events


Netherlands Spitzbergen Expedition

Four Dutch biologists carried out field work at Cape Lea focusing on Polar bears, reindeer and the bird population.

Two styles of covers were used in 1968, one from the new post office at ISFJORD and a second cover used by the wintering party that was carried to the Netherlands for servicing.


An Oil Tanker Through the Northwest Passage

The ice-strengthened SS MANHATTAN pushed through the heavy ice of the Northwest Passage in September 1969 to become the first commercial vessel to make such a voyage.

One purpose of the trip was to determine if a route could be created for the newly discovered oil on the North Slope of Alaska.

All mail received a cachet on board the MANHATTAN, however the mail was not delivered to the post office at Barrow until additional ice experiments were complete.  


To the North Pole and Across the Ice Cap

Wally Herbert led a British sled party to the Pole and continued on to Spitzbergen. The 408-day journey was the first surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean.

The HMS ENDURANCE accepted their mail and placed it in the regular postal service on arrival at London.



The U.S. Navy Takes Over

When the U.S. Navy took over Ice Island T3, the name "Fletchers Ice Island T3" returned to cachets. The island periodically floated free of its grounding and remained in continuous use until 1974.



Aidjex Beaufort Sea Studies

Sea studies were conducted on random ice floes in the pack during 1975-76. Three stations were located on floes, each sixty miles from the main camp, to conduct joint ice dynamics experiments. The ice pack was recognized as a practical laboratory for the study of ice phenomena. Supplies were provided through Barrow.

(Exhibition pieces courtesy of George Hall)