Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition was a fourteen-man
international scientific team that was based on the continent
for a two year scientific program. In February 1950, the expedition's
base MAUDHEIM was established at 71° 03'S,
10° 55'W on Quarisen, Dronning Maud Land. Significant
meteorological, geophysical, seismic and glaciological programs
were initiated. The area explored and researched included
land claimed by Nazi Germany in 1939, as well as Norway during
the Norwegian post office provided registered covers for collectors
from the base as a means to offset expenses. No other mail
was accepted. Mail was received in Oslo in May 1952.
at Melchior (right) and Deception Islands (above) received
postal status, although the first regular mail was delayed
until 1951 due to a ship wreck. Service has been seasonal
since that date.
courtesy of George Hall)
special flight to Deception Island marked the seasonal opening
of the Argentine base in 1952. Two naval Catalina seaplanes,
under Commander E. Iradlagoitia, carried an unknown amount
of mail from the island on the return flight, while the activity
continued to increase British protests.
PLANES LAND ON DISPUTED ANTARCTIC ISLAND
AIRES, Argentina, Feb. 8 [Reuters] ---The air ministry
tonight announced two navy sea planes, part of an Argentine
south bound sea and air task force, landed on disputed
Deception Island in the Antarctic's South Shetland group.
Argentina and Britain claim the tiny island.
added that air mail communications with the Antarctic
have been established. The planes left here Jan. 30 and
landed at Port Foster, Deception's harbor.
week Britain protested the firing of warning shots Feb.
1 over the heads of a British landing party at Hope Bay,
Graham Land, another Antarctic territory. Argentina later
told Britain the order to shoot was an error. The next
day, the 1,580 ton British frigate Burghead Bay arrived
at Hope Bay.
one of the last usages of the "Terre Adelie / Antarctique"
style cancellation, this 18 January 1952 crew mail has a middle
usage period of the Madagascar overprinted stamp, expedition
straight-line cachet and return address of a Norwegian crewmember
aboard TOTTAN, the relief ship used to evacuate
personnel from several sites then being manned by French Antarctic
of Herb & Janice Harvis)
Chile and the Philatelic
entered the Philatelic Propaganda Campaign in November 1940
with a decree claiming portions of the Antarctic and using
a postage stamp to define the claim. A naval base was established
in the South Shetlands, and Graham Land was renamed O'Higgins
Land in their claim.
The Little America Harbor Floated Away as the Ross
Ice Shelf Split . . .
U.S. Navy Antarctic
of the USS ATKA in 1955 discovered that because
of a major break in the Ross Ice Shelf, most of the area on which
earlier United States camps were placed had dropped into the ocean
and sailed northward.
ATKA was searching for a suitable base for scientific
studies during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-58.
The loss was great since all the supplies left by previous expeditions
were lost. Helicopters from the ship were assigned to search for
and identify suitable alternative camp sites.
mail from the Weather Bureau representative is canceled at USS
ATKA's on-board post office 6 February 1955 on a penalty
envelope of the Department of Commerce with the expedition's
ship cachet as it was heading back to the United States after
its successful mission in Antarctic waters.
of Herb & Janice Harvis)
Establishment of Shackleton
Rainer Goldsmith, MD, led the precursor group. They arrived
in the Weddell Sea by ship on Jan. 30, 1956. The unloading onto
the pack ice lasted 8 days. By the time the ship left for home,
the group had only been able to transport half the material
to firm land when a terrible storm, lasting several days, started
to blow away the ice and the rest of the equipment (gasoline
for the "snow cat", building material, etc.). Due
to this disaster, the Goldsmith party had to spend the icy winter
of 1956 in the unheated "snow cat" until the main
Fuchs group arrived (Jan. 27, 1957). Prof. Goldsmith had official
permission to establish a post office. Enclosed in this "first
day" cover is a letter from him addressed to a potteries
"Having late note of the quality of
your ceramic wear and the way that it stands up to very cold
climates, I would be most obliged if you would manufacture and
deliver for this expedition mugs 1/2 pint suitably decorated
and inscribed to whit..."
of Gary Pierson)
STAGE I : 1955-56
Deepfreeze was planned in two stages. Deepfreeze I, in 1955-56
was designed to build an airfield at McMurdo Sound. Another
base was to be built near Little America in the Bay of Whales.
Seven ships and 1800 men participated in the first year.
Two Neptune and two Skymaster aircraft flew from New Zealand
to an airstrip on sea ice in McMurdo Sound on December 19, 1955.
Subsequently, nine long-range exploratory flights were made
to various points on the continent, including the South Pole
and southern extremity of the Weddell Sea..
STAGE II: 1956-57
II, in 1956-57, was intended to build a permanent station at
the South Pole along with establishment of three other IGY stations...Byrd
station in Marie Byrd Land, Wilkes station in Vincennes Bay
/ Windmill Islands and Ellsworth station on the Filchner Ice
Shelf. Covers, such as this one, exist in enormous quantities.
Covers serviced at the Pole Station during Deepfreeze II rank
as the most prolific Antarctic cover in existence.
Of the number
of ships comprising Operation Deepfreeze I, which was the beginning
of officially continuing US Antarctic Research Expeditions,
the one with the most elusive mail is YOG 34. It and
another yard oiler were towed to Antarctica to be used to fuel
arriving aircraft flying in from New Zealand. Its officer-in-charge,
Lt. Blades, USN, carved a marking for use on his temporary crew's
mail that was canceled at other shipboard post offices (in this
case, the supply vessel USS WYANDOT). The address on
this mail indicates that it is one of the pieces Admiral Byrd
had prepared for his own personal postal documentation.
of Herb & Janice Harvis)
4, 1957 ARMY AF Postal Service APO 942 (Greenland) and NOV 15,
1957 Little America cancellations tie US franking on this Wilkins
flown cover from the North Pole to the South Pole. Dates have
been filled in with flights of 3 different aircraft, including
to and from Hawaii. Signed, Hubert
is signed by the parties that crossed the Antarctic continent
at the South Pole Station, including now "Sir Fuchs". One was
made and given to each of us that wintered-over and assisted
at the South Pole (midway point in the crossing). A total of
18 covers exist. Some of the signers later climbed Mt. Everest"
of Gary Pierson)