False teeth in the gash pit and other memories

Andrew Champness

A Story from the past

During the winter months of 1963 there were many parties and celebrations; one such occasion happened after a party night. John Holt (deceased), cook at Halley Bay, decided to keep the hut clean by going outside into the ice tunnel to the 'gash pit'. This, as most fids will know, drops out of sight due to many years of all kitchen waste being tipped down. It made him feel ill and he wanted to be sick, but forgot to remove his teeth - the teeth and what he had inside of him went down the 'gash pit'. There was no dentist at Halley and with at least six months  to go before he went home he decided to retrieve his teeth. Armed with ropes, karabiners, and prussiks he entered "the pit"; with other mates watching on with encouragement, he descended down and down. He found his teeth!!!!!!!!!
See also the account by Bob Lee, comment by Dick Worsfold and comment by Martin Winterton. Another tooth story.

Memories of the Black Gang

During the winter nights and quite often, in fact any time, the "Black Gang" had drinking sessions in the old IGY hut - food loft. (The Black Gang were made up of diesel mechanics, tractor drivers and close friends.) They would drink the food essences, as alcohol was on ration. The food loft became a popular place to spend free time during 1963/64. Essences contained 3.9% of alcohol in a 50ml bottle in many flavours  e.g. brandy, banana, raspberry and peppermint. Only the strong, hardened drinker would survive the evening. There was a very good supply of these essences left over from many years before us and never used.

[24 Nov 2009]

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