Z-fids Newsletter No. 48

April 2021

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 48   01 Apr 2021

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

News about Halley 
David Hunt, the Halley Ops Manager & Station Leader, has kindly supplied
the following report on the 2020/21 season at Halley.
Due to the current global pandemic the 20/21 season consisted of a much
reduced team of ten to carry out essential maintenance works only.
The team travelled from the UK to Rothera on the JCR and then deployed
across to Halley by Twin Otter. The initial open-up team arrived at
Halley early January 2021.

Season Headlines
o Season length = 2nd January - 15th February = 45 days
o Staff = 10 people (max numbers on station due to transiting aircraft
                                                             = 15 people)
o Drewry and Garage use only (no modules). 
o Buildings and infrastructure not raised. 
o Entire LoH [Lifetime of Halley] network serviced. 
o All priority 1 science tasks completed plus most of the priority 2s and 3s
o Total days in support of air operations = 28 days. 
o Total fuel burn = ~ 50 m3 (typical season fuel burn ~150 m3)

The micro-turbine again ran well throughout the 2020 winter - with only
a couple of minor component failures (all with built-in redundancies);
these were all replaced or repaired and a full service and refuelling
carried out.

Due to no ship calls for the past three seasons an airdrop was carried
out at Halley for the first time. This was extremely successful with
496 drums of Avtur being dropped over 3 days. Although a short term fix
while we are unable to receive a ship relief, airdropping of fuel into
Halley is not sustainable for more than the next couple of years or so.
[For pictures, see www.zfids.org.uk/zn48pics.htm] 

Chasm 1
As I reported in the last brief, the remaining distance of intact ice
between the tip of Chasm 1 and cracks propagating from The Rumples is
still approximately 2.0 km and this has not really changed significantly
over this summer. There is also little change in the propagation of
Halloween Crack. The significant development was a new crack (North Rift)
developed to the North of Halloween Crack around October time, opened
steadily throughout the summer and calved a couple of days after the
station was vacated for the winter. We are hoping that this may initiate
the calving Brunt, but we are not holding our breaths.
[For pictures, see www.zfids.org.uk/zn48pics.htm]

Again this is quite a tricky one as we don't know what the Covid
situation will bring us over the next year or so, but at present for
the 21-22 season:

We plan to input 38 personnel with the initial open-up team flying
through Rothera and the rest via Cape Town.

There is no programmed ship call - so we will expect to do another air
drop in Dec 21 and then a full ship relief in the 22-23 season.
Although not ideal it does give the Brunt another couple of years to
hopefully complete calving and settle down again.

We are planning the season as a recovery season due to major
infrastructure not being raised. As this has not really occurred before,
it will be interesting to see the condition of the site and the extent
of burial when we return.

As I reported last time, considering the circumstances we find ourselves
in, Halley is still in a good place with science continuing to function
as normal, and we continue to meet any challenge thrown our way during
these somewhat complicated times.  

Thomas Barningham, Halley Station Leader 2020/21, has written a detailed
report, abbreviated here:
The Halley 2020/21 team are responsible for delivering the shortest and
one of the most demanding seasons that Halley has witnessed. Constraints
on season length and personnel numbers were driven by the coronavirus
pandemic. The 10 person Halley team had to deliver many season tasks in
5 weeks that usually take a 30 person team 10 weeks to deliver.
. . . 
The team were exhausted by the end of the season. Working at such a pace
is sustainable for 5 weeks, but no longer. This was a season delivered
far beyond organisational expectations, and one that has been challenging 
from the outset with quarantine and significant ship time both south and

Read Thomas's full report here: www.zfids.org.uk/2018+/20-21_rept.htm

Sadly there are deaths to report.

Martin Pinder
Martin (nickname Snoopy) was one of the cooks at Halley in 1970. The
previous year he had been cook at Signy. He died the weekend of 24/25
October 2020. You can read his Oral History at basclub.org/oral-history/AD6-24-1-129/
One of his tales is of rescuing a radio transmitter from Halley-I, and
setting up as a radio ham. On one occasion he got through to King
Hussein of Jordan. Mike (Muff) Warden has written an obituary for
Martin (link from Z-Fids 1970 page).

Dick Keyte
Dick died suddenly on 31st October 2020. He was one of the wintering
radio operators at Halley in 1966. Mick Shaw says " He was a joy to be
with on base. He lifted all our spirits with his great sense of fun."

Graham Wright
Graham, also known as Genghis or Frisby, died on 18th December 2020. 
He was a character. As someone said, 'once met, never forgotten'. 
Graham was GA ('doggyman') at Halley in 1969 and 1970. He made two trips
to the Shackleton Mountains: with the Mobsters in 1969 and with the
Hobbits in 1970. In the process he found a new route through the hinge
zone (the Wright Line). After Halley he spent two winters (1972 and
1974) at Stonington, the latter as BC. In 2006 he and Hwfa Jones set up
the Antarctic Sledge Dog Memorial Fund. This raised enough money for a
permanent memorial to all the FIDS/BAS dogs, which was unveiled outside
BAS HQ on 4th July 2009 (it later moved to SPRI). More information on
the ZFids website 'dog memorial' in the General Index. Muff Warden has
also written an obituary for Graham: www.zfids.org.uk/1970/genghis.htm

The Z-Fids website
The site will celebrate its 20th anniversary in a couple of months' time.
I set it up on 6th June 2001. The original motivation was to contact ex-
Halley Fids and bring them together for Z-50, the 50th anniversary of
the base, in 2006. The site was small at first but grew quite rapidly
thanks to contributions from the Z-Fid community and others. Here are
some recent additions, which can mostly be found from the Latest
Additions and Updates page (link near the top of the home page).

Halley 6 sitemap
This was provided by Thomas Barningham (Halley Automation Project
Manager) and may be found on the 2018+ page.

False teeth retrieved from the loo pit
Martin Winterton has provided another version of the incident described
by Andrew Champness.

Descent to IGY hut in Jan 1970
Described by David Drewry. The party included Stan Evans who had been a
member of the very first wintering party in 1956.

New Crack and calving of the Brunt Ice Shelf
This made the national press. In January 2021 a new crack was found north
of the Halloween Crack east of the Rumples (Gin Bottle to older Z-Fids).
It was named North Rift. In February a large part of the shelf north of
this calved off to form the A74 iceberg. See map and links on the 2018+
page. On the home page a link has been added to a time lapse video from
2016 to 2021, produced by Adrian Luckman, showing the formation of the
Halloween Crack and North Rift, and the lengthening and widening of Chasm 1.

Washing up Bay
This calving event prompted Steve Lloyd to submit some photos to
illustrate Mix Dixon's hair-raising account.

1968 pictures
John Fry has contributed pictures taken during his time at Halley Bay in
1968. One picture is on the 1968 page and below it is a link to some

Raising the signpost
Pictures of raising the famous signpost (made by Dave French in 1968) in
2021, taken by Sebastian Gleich, have been added to the site. Link from
the signpost page: www.zfids.org.uk/2003/signpost.htm
Dave speculates that it is the only item that has been moved from Halley
II to every other base and in now at Halley VI. I think this must be
almost true. The other items to be moved are the framed photos of each
wintering party from 1956, which are on the "Wall of Fame" (use the
Picture Index to find this). The Wall is up to date as it includes the
2016 team, the last winterers.

Steve Yamin-Ali
I had an email from Samuel Kelly who wanted to get in touch with Steve
who wintered in 1994 and 1995. Samuel says "I was looking to reconnect
with Stephen after being a [physics] pupil of his at Wallace High School
some years ago.  He was a big inspiration in how my personal and
professional life have been shaped and Iíd like to update him about
where life has taken me." If anyone is in touch with Steve, please let
me know and I will get back to Samuel.

A Whiter Shade of Pale
It has been announced that the Halley VI modules are to be painted white
next season as part of the effort to combat climate change. This will
increase the albedo of the station so that more solar radiation will be
reflected back into space and less will be absorbed to contribute to
global warming. A team of specialist cold temperature painters will be
recruited and will train by redecorating the interior of a large freezer.
A spokesman said "Although this will mean that the station will be less
easy to see against the snow background, we are confident that the use
of modern GPS technology will enable us to find it again."

British Antarctic Oral History Project
Of the 286 Oral History interviews held in BAS Archives, 270 have now
been transcribed by our team of volunteers. 147 of the interviews
have been published on the BAS Club website (link on the zfids home
page) and more are expected to be published soon. You don't need to be
a BAS Club member to see them. There are links on the Z-Fids website
to the interviews featuring Halley people (See the General Index under
Oral history recordings).

Here are a couple of extracts from the interviews:

Martin Pinder (Cook, 1970): Disturbed night in a caboose
"Oh yes I did [visit the penguins]. That was with Doc Leith again and
Bob Wells, and it was about -40 so Ron Gill couldnít get any of the
vehicles started. So we man-hauled down  there and spent the first
night in a three-man tent. The next day Ron had managed to get a
vehicle started and he pulled down a caboose. Itís like a caravan on a
sledge. So we stayed in there. And the one night I was on the top bunk.
Because you wake up in the morning, even though you have pulled your
hood tight round there, all your eyebrows would be frosted and your
moustache and your beard. And I had tied this up tight and I had rolled
off the top bunk in the middle of the night and neither Bob nor Iain
Leith; they just fell about laughing because they said I was squirming
around like a bionic worm on the floor trying to get up, because I
panicked. I thought the whole thing had gone down a crevasse. I didnít
understand that I had fallen off the top bunk."
NERC copyright, reproduced courtesy of BAS Archives Service.
Archives ref AD6/24/1/129.

Alan Precious (Meteorologist, 1961): A new route across the Hinge Zone.
"John Skilling and I sledged together, and Dave Easty and Eric Jones
were a team. We did not have entirely full teams at that time. I am not
quite sure why. We had less than nine dogs each in the teams, but we
followed the ice cliff down from Cape Rol (Cabo Rol), down towards
where the ice edge joins the inland ice at the Dawson-Lambton Glacier.
The Dawson-Lambton Ice Stream (as it is known now) forms the edge of
the ice shelf where it joins the inland ice. The year before us, some
manhaulers had found a route across this. It is a great chasm really.
They had found a route across and got onto the inland ice. John Skilling
and the rest of us found another route across, as I say, near the
entrance of the glacier into the Weddell Sea. We found a route across
and ran along the inland ice, ran along very well. It is in huge waves
of ice and we ran along these until we came to where the previous
yearís party had made a crossing. We crossed there and then we continued
along the limit of the ice shelf up to what was called the Gin Bottle
(the McDonald Ice Rumples) and then sledged back to base. So we did a
pretty big circular tour of the ice shelf. [The purpose of the trip]
was to see the limits of the shelf and certainly to try and find a
route across. We had made earlier attempts. Denis Ardus, Colin Johnson
and myself and Dave Easty again had made several exploratory journeys to
the Dawson-Lambton ice chasm, to try and see a route across, but all we
came to was huge cliffs and chasms - a broken jumble of ice in the
bottom. So although John Skilling and I found this route across.
I do not think it has ever been used again. It was in the wrong place.
Colin Johnson and Dennis Ardus found a route much further north, towards
the Tottan Mountains where they had visited."
NERC copyright, reproduced courtesy of BAS Archives Service.
Archives ref AD6/24/1/95.

Many thanks to all contributors to this Newsletter.

Back numbers
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most recent issue) are available from the website home page.

The British Antarctic Survey Club
The Club is now sponsoring the Z-Fids website and if you are not already
a member, I would urge you to consider joining. There is a membership
application form accessible from the home page of the Club's website:

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14 Nov 2021
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