Z-fids Newsletter No. 20

April 2009

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 20   10 Apr 2009 

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

News from Halley
The Winter Base Commander, Agnieszka Fryckowska ("Ags"), has sent
the following report:
"We are into our second month of winter now at Halley and beginning
to feel the pinch of the cold. Days are getting shorter and it
always seems quicker than you remember.  People are scurrying about
trying to get their indents in the containers done before the light
is completely gone and the temps so cold that frequent trips to the
garage are necessary for a good hot cuppa.  Mind you, the garage
boys are very accommodating and who can turn down a cuppa.
The summer season was much like previous years with only max of
about 47 on base as building on Halley VI was not being carried out
this summer. This gave everybody a good opportunity to get to know
the base without the pressure of a build season.  Next year of
course will be different and we expect the winter to finish early
as it did in 2007 with substantial staff coming through before the
ship arrives.  So we started the 2009 winter much like many years
before with seeing the ES off at Creek 4 and then getting back to
base for a much deserved rest.  Winter trips started the next day
and we began to winterise the base.  The main job being the
closedown of the Drewry building with the compulsory melt tank
party.  Weather played havoc with some of the winter trippers and a
few extra days were spent in the tent or cabooses by some.  Trips
over and the focus has turned to guitar lessons, Cine film nights
and mid-winter present making and of course great dress ups on the
Saturday nights.  All in all the winter 2009 team are enjoying it
so far and are looking forward to the rest of the adventure."

The 2009 wintering team
The 2009 page has now been added to the website. This lists the
wintering personnel and contains a group photo. The team is
11-strong (the same as last year). It has not been smaller since
1956! Because of the Halley VI project and the concurrent
decommissioning of Halley V, the science is running at a minimum
level, with just one base member responsible for it. The 2008/2009
season should have been the second of three construction seasons of
Halley VI but (as mentioned by Ags above) this has been postponed
until next season because of a delays in manufacture of the
cladding panels. Thus the final handover from the building
contractors (Morrisons) to BAS will be delayed by at least a year
(from 2009/10 to 2010/11). Caroline Lewis has replaced Vicky Auld
as base commander, while also acting as logistics coordinator;
Vicky has left to pursue a career as a pilot.

Caroline wrote from Halley on 17 January:
"Now that Relief is over, you might like to know that the new team
are in place and being ably assisted by the outgoing winterers in
finding their way around.  This is a relatively quiet year (famous
last words) as there is a lull in building Halley VI.  That started
well last season, with a lot of work completed, so the shells of
the buildings are now here.  Unfortunately, the timing of the
completion of the rest of the cladding panels could not be
sufficiently predicted, so hiring a second large ship to bring them
in has been delayed until 2009/10.  This leaves us with a summer in
which to maintain Halley V, knowing that it now has to last for at
least another 3 years, depot the stocks needed for next year and
continue to sort out what does and doesn't need to stay,
particularly on the spares front.
As I write this, we are coming out of a blow, the first taste of
what will come later for most of those here and a timely reminder
to get everything off the cargo line as quickly as possible
......... some things never change from year to year!
The team here is smaller than in the recent past:  44 on Station,
including pilot and air mech, who are here until the end of

Golly's Folly
Peter Noble has contributed an article to the website (extracted
from his book), on the subject of "Golly's Folly", a sledge-mounted
caboose comfortably kitted out with bunks, stove etc by John
Gallsworthy (Golly) for the 1968 overland expedition to the
Shackleton Mountains. The caboose was subsequently used around
Halley for various purposes before being shipped out in 2000 (see
the Halley diary for December 2000 on the BAS website). As noted in
the Ernest Shackleton diary for 28 April 2002, the caboose ended up
in the Falkland Islands. To read Peter's article, click "Golly's
Folly" in the Z-fids General Index.
If anyone has any other caboose stories and/or pictures, send them
in and I will put them on the website.

"Dog Days on Ice" is now available and may be ordered direct from
the author Peter Noble. Details and prices are on the website.
"On Floating Ice" by Joe MacDowall is also still available; details
on the website.

Sledge Dog Memorial
This project is nearing completion, and the bronze statue will be
erected outside the entrance to BAS in Cambridge later this year.
Hwfa Jones has provided an update which may be viewed on the
website ("Dog Memorial" in the General Index).

HMS Endurance
Steve Norris (who wintered at Halley in 1975), noting that the
Endurance had to be towed back to Portsmouth following engine room
flooding - see
"Back in 1980 I was on the John Biscoe when after a very expensive
refit in Liverpool we lost a propeller blade while going across the
Drake Passage. We limped in Stanley while it was decided after
quite a few weeks that we would be towed by the old HMS Endurance
to Monte, to go into dry dock. The Portsmouth newspaper had a field
day and in big headlines called in The Worlds Longest Tow, later in
little letters it said "by a Royal Naval Vessel". The worlds
longest tow was the Great Britain from the Falklands to Bristol.
The John Biscoe left Stanley on Christmas Eve with a skeleton crew
and I remember being on the bridge in the evening looking down the
massive tow hawser to the Endurance helicopter deck where the
sailors were have a great time singing carols to the band and
having a few drinks. I now look at the events happening now with a
wry smile. After a lovely month in Monte it was decided to limp
home on two blades which took an age to lessen the vibration."

RRS John Biscoe at Halley Bay
John Youle, a stamp collector who specialises in First Day Covers
from Halley, wrote to me asking about calls of the John Biscoe
after seeing a picture of the ship at Halley in January 1960. He
had previously only been aware of visits in early 1967 and early
1968 and wondered whether there had been any others. If anyone has
any information on this, please let me know.

The BAS Club AGM and Reunion Dinner 2009
A reminder that this event will take place in Cambridge on Saturday
4th July 2009. Details are on the BAS Club website (link from the
Z-fids home page). Bookings are requested by 1 May. If you are not
already a member of the Club, it is well worth joining.

Note from the Editor
You may have noted that the website was not updated in February or
March. This was because I was away for a couple of months (in New
Zealand). During this time a problem with my Internet Service
Provider resulted in the loss of emails sent to me between 20th
February and 5th March. If you emailed me then, please write again.
I will be embarking on another extended trip shortly, and apologise
in advance for any inconvenience. Contributions to the website,
text and/or pictures, on any subject related to Halley, are welcome
at any time.

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6 July 2009
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