Z-fids Newsletter No. 17

June 2008

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 17   03 June 2008 

Editor: Andy Smith  (email andy@smitha.demon.co.uk)
Website: www.zfids.org.uk

This special issue of the Z-fids Newsletter is being sent out
mainly to inform Halley fids of the recent death of Roy Piggott,
who, among his many scientific achievements, was responsible for
setting up the ionospheric programme at Halley Bay in the IGY and
ensuring its continuation and that of other scientific work through
to the beginning of the 1980s. Many generations of beastie men will
have known him and many other fids, both scientists and non-
scientists, will have been inspired by his enthusiasm for all
things ionospheric. Roy greatly enjoyed visiting Halley - it was
dear to his heart. A great many anecdotes have been told about
Piggott, and many will no doubt be recalled in the coming days and
weeks. Mike Pinnock remembers him trapping two Bransfield stewards
in the Beastie Hut for well nigh an hour following their innocent
question "and what does this machine do?", a story which went down
in Halley folk lore!

The following notice has been provided by Alan Rodger and John

"It is with great sadness that we announce the death in Cambridge
on Tuesday 20 May of Roy Piggott at the age of 93.  Piggott, as he
was known to most of his colleagues, made many and varied
contributions to ionospherics physics.  He started as an assistant
to Sir Edward Appleton in the 1930s and did much original radio
physics research during the Second World War.  In the immediate
post-war era, he played a major role in establishing the German
ionospherics research at Lindau, and for this clandestine operation
he was awarded the Order of the British Empire. 

Perhaps Piggott will be best remembered for writing, with Karl
Rawer, the definitive handbook on the interpretation of ionograms,
and for his leadership in Antarctic ionospheric research.  Piggott
was the prime mover in establishing the ionospheric observatory at
Halley Bay in the International Polar Year, (1957-1958) and
provided oversight of the programme for the next two decades. 
Latterly he was Head of Atmospheric Sciences at the British
Antarctic Survey. In recognition of his many contributions to BAS,
the space science platform at Halley V was named the Piggott

Piggott was unfailingly generous with his time, scientific insight
and ideas.  He will be remembered by his many friends and
colleagues on every continent for his kindness, patience and skill
as a mentor and advisor. 

Everybody whose lives have been touched by Piggott has their own
particular story about this lovable archetypal British eccentric. 
He was universally highly respected, and will be sorely missed by
colleagues around the world.  Piggott will live on through his
humanity and his legacy to ionospheric physics."

The funeral will be on Friday 6 June at 11:30 in the East Chapel of
Cambridge Crematorium to be followed by a 2 hr cruise on the
"Georgina" with a buffet. The Georgina is moored on the Cam in the

If you wish to attend the funeral please email Alan Rodger
(a.rodger@bas.ac.uk). For those wishing to write, the address is:
The Piggott Family, 29 Riverside, Cambridge CB5 8HL

Andy Brookes
This newsletter also has to record another death - that of Andy
Brookes (Halley, 1981 and 1982, generator and tractor mechanic) on
26th May after a long struggle with cancer. He leaves a wife, three
daughters and a great collection of motorbikes. Mike Pinnnock
reports that several of the 1981 crowd have been visiting him
regularly over the last few months and, until a couple of weeks
ago, he was in remarkably good spirits whilst under no illusions as
to what he was facing.

By a strange coincidence, Andy's funeral will be held at the same
crematorium as Roy Piggott's (see above) and on the same day, but
at 1115.

Dad's 80!
On a happier note, Peter Noble reminds us that "Dad" Etchells has
just celebrated his 80th birthday. Peter has written the following
poem to celebrate the occasion.

To Dad (on his 80th birthday)

If youíve got the time, let me tell you a rhyme,
Of a man known to all as Dad,
Got a wicked grin and a penchant for gin
Which some say heís had since a lad,
A pint of good beer may give Dad a cheer
And a whiskyís a positive factor,
But his favourite toy gives him far greater joy
And thatís driving his Antarctic tractor.

To the Heimfrontfjella this stout hearted fella
Did drive as the winter set in,
But camping in snow at forty below
Will test the most hardened of men,
Now an explorerís lot is to brave storms and squat
On the ice (though it freezers the cheeks)
But Dadís mighty claim (which must earn him fame),
Is he lasted without  for three weeks.

Now Dad likes his tea sweetened by three
Or preferably five lumps of sugar,
So when stocks ran low and camped in the snow
It really became quite a bugger,
Then Dad eyed my cup and the one lump I took
And said,  Savings now have to be done.
Weíll make it quite fair and the rationing share,
Letís each cut our sugar lumps by one. 

We men who did dally a winter at Halley
Soon found a quite chilly condition,
For a problem arose that gave us cold toes,
Yes the heating was quite insufficient,
While most dressed in haste, Dad stripped to the waste
With problems he was no raw novice,
His answer was neat, there was plenty of heat
From the pinups displayed in his office.

So lets raise a glass to the old man of BAS
And think not of matters too weighty
I give you a toast to our dear friend and host
To Dad  good grief heís turned eighty.

Reunion for Halley Bay 1977 winterers (Harrogate)
Ken Lax has sent in a report and pictures of this event held last
year. There is a link from the 1977 Z-fids index page. Another
reunion is planned for October 2009.

The British Antarctic Sledge Dog Memorial
The fund has now topped £4000 but another £2900 is needed. Graham
Wright (Genghis) provided an update last month (see Dog Memorial in
the Z-fids website General Index), and is appealing for donations
to achieve the final sum, which has increased somewhat due to the
large increase in the cost of bronze.

"Dog Days on Ice"
Peter Noble's book is to be published this year (hopefully by
October).  Essentially a memoir of his reconnaissance expeditions
to the Shackletons, it also reflects on life on base and other
field trips.  The book includes 16 pages of colour plates plus
appendices of all the Halley dogs with their years of service and a
full list of expeditions from 1958 to 1972 run from Halley (the dog
years) complete with personnel and transport details. Watch this
space for more details.

The "BAS micro"
You have may well never have heard of this, but if you have, Kevin
O-Rourke would appreciate any information and particularly photos.
If you can help, please send to Kevin directly or via me. Anything
appropriate will be put on the Z-fids website. Thank you. 

Antarctic Monument (update from Roderick Rhys Jones)
British Antarctic Monument Trust is now a registered charity. We
have three initiatives
-  The creation of a memorial plaque in the crypt of St Paulís
- The naming of geographic features after all those that have died
which has won support from the BAT adminstrator.
- The creation of a monumental sculpture, part in the UK and part
down south

We want to use these initiatives to increase understanding of how
research in the Antarctic  has helped us to understand the world
and in particular the effects of climate change.

Being a charity will help in fund raising as we will benefit from
Charity Aid. We have set up a website www.antarctic-monument.org/ 
from there benefactors will be able to donate directly into our
account with Charity Choice at no cost to ourselves or to the
donors This is the web site 

We have made a great deal of progress with our aim of placing a
plaque in St Pauls. The chapter (governing body) has supported our
application. Evidently the first and most difficult hurdle to
cross.  I have met the Registrar and looked together at a possible
space in the crypt.  I have an artist and designer working on
possible directons for the design. We have a long way to go to get
the support of all the relevant committees and advisors but we have
started well.

Members of families of those that have lost their lives, who have
heard about what we are doing, have sent very supportive messages
together with and financial contributions. They take the view that
it is about time that something like this was done. There is a
feeling that they would like greater recognition.  We have also had
excellent contributions from FIDs including some currently on base.

BAS Club AGM and dinner
A reminder that the AGM will be held in Plymouth 21st June. The
deadline for booking the dinner has now passed. Details are on the
BAS Club home page (link from Z-fids home page).

As this will probably be the last Z-fids Newsletter before the big
day, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the current
wintering team at Halley a most enjoyable Midwinter, and I look
forward to hearing about it on your station diary and blogs.

As usual this newsletter is being sent out by email only, to 444
people. If you are on email but have not received it by that route,
please register or re-register on the website (links on home page).
350 people have now registered on Z-fids. If you have, your name
will be shown as a link on the appropriate year page(s).


03 June 2008
Z-fids home page