Z-fids Newsletter No. 49

November 2021

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 49   14 Nov 2021

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

News about Halley 
I don't have any news to hand about Halley for this Newsletter though
presumably it is still there in spite of the attentions of the giant
(1280 sq, km) iceberg A74 which brushed past the Brunt Ice Shelf in
August (link for more details on the 2018+ page of the Zfids website).
The near real-time data from the station, for example "Today's weather"
on the Halley page of the BAS website, is not available, and one can
speculate that there is a problem with the collection and/or return of
the data, but no doubt, as last season, a summer service team will be
visiting to sort out any problems.

Sadly there are deaths to report.

Colin Dean
Colin died on 20th May 2021 after a long battle with dementia and
heart problems. He was 82. He wintered at Halley in 1961 and 1962 as
a geophysicist, and also made a summer visit in the 1963/64 season.
Nicknamed Booboo, one of the dogs was named after him (or was it the
other way round?). He later worked at the Scott Polar in Cambridge for
a couple of years. He and his wife Marjorie lived in South Africa but
kept in touch with many Z-Fid friends. They attended Z50 in Northampton
in 2006.

Dudley Jehan
Dudley died on 21st May 2021, aged 82, in Guernsey. Nicknamed "Cuddles"
on base, he was a Met man at Base F (then known as Argentine Islands)
in 1960, transferring to Halley in 1961. He did a second tour at Halley
as tractor mechanic in 1963 and BL in 1964. Following service in the
Antarctic, he returned to Guernsey where he became a well-known
businessman in the building industry. His British Antarctic oral
history interview has been published and is fascinating. Link from the
1961 Zfids page.

Mike Taplin
Mike died on 24th July 2021. He was Met man in 1960 and 1961 and leaves
a wife, Fiona.

Dave Sycamore
Dave died in March/ April 2021 after a long illness. He was diesel
mechanic at Halley in 1983 and 1984. 1983 was the year when Halley-4
was being built while Halley-3 was still operating. Dave was DEM at
Halley-4 while Steve Eadie was at Halley-3. A life-long friend said:
"He was a lovely guy, a wild curly redhead, funny and friendly. I can
imagine him fitting in very well with a small team."

In October there was a reunion for 1969 and 1970 winterers, held in
Cornwall. A report is on the website, link from the 1969 page. Those
men travelled on the Perla Dan which was used to relieve Halley before
the Bransfield came into service. For this reunion, Robin Walker put
together a collection of pictures of the ship and a timeline. This may
be found on the website, link from the 1967 page.

In November a reunion was held in Salisbury (though some joined
electronically) for the 1977 winterers. These events used to be held
every two years but the interval has shrunk during the pandemic.
A report is on the website, link from the 1977 page.

Painting Halley white
The April fool joke in the last Newsletter (published on the 1st of
April) provoked a lot of comments, proving that people do actually read
it. Suggestions included doing the job on 1 April, using icing sugar.
Some people mentioned a BBC programme on flying penguins, and BBC and
newspaper reports of scientists at a Russian Antarctic base being
attacked by rampaging penguins. Another suggestion was painting it in
black and white stripes. This was from Peter Hall, wintering physicist
in 1980 and 1981, who was, before retiring, professor of energy
conversion and storage in Strathclyde, then Sheffield, Universities.
He says (it's a bit technical but what do you expect from a professor?):
"I read with utter alarm the idea to paint the new Halley station white.
Reducing albedo obviously has no effect for the months of darkness,
spring and autumn. In fact, painting the buildings black would absorb
solar radiation during most of the year and could power phase-change
heat storage devices. The stored heat would reduce fuel consumption
during the winter darkness. The stored energy could easily provide
space heating and could be very effective at providing electricity
from organic Sterling engines (the obvious winter cold heat sink would
increase their Carnot Cycle thermodynamic efficiency). Phase-change
heat storage is very effective over seasonal time scales. An interesting
thermodynamic problem: Discuss."

Antarctic Memories
Julian Rouse who wintered in 1981 and 1982 has published a book with
this title about his time at Halley. Proceeds from sales will go to
three charities: UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, Stroke Association and
Headway. It is available through Amazon and details are on the 1981
page of the website.

John Flick (aka John Shepherd)
Robert Bradbury writes:
"My Uncle John, namely John Flick (possibly Shepherd now) wintered
71 & 72. Over the last 20 years or so he has lost touch with the family
and now I am not really able to find him at all. My brother and I have
been briefly in contact with Z Fids, BAS and Hwfa to name a few last
year. However since the death of our Mum (Johnís sister) from
pancreatic cancer I felt very deeply that I have a responsibility to
find him and talk with him. I am unsure of the reasons for him
drifting away and would dearly like to introduce him to my 11 year old
twins Thomasina and Tristan whom I feel should meet their Grand Uncle.
My brother and I have many fond memories of Johnís stories of his time
at Halley and I have a little wooden box of his from that time (I think
he said all his personal stuff had to fit in it ! wow ! ) My brother
William has on old stove amongst other things and we both have such
lovely memories of him. If any of you are in contact or know of his
whereabouts could you try to help us? Even if you are and he asks to
not be contacted by myself or William for his own reasons I would love
to just know he is safe. Yours Hopefully Robert Bradbury
robert.bradbury@rocketmail.com Tel: 07557 043009"
A similar appeal was made in the Zfids Newsletter No. 38, April 2016.

Diana O'Carroll writes:
"Iím researching for a book on the early days of Kenwood and Iíve
discovered that BAS may have made use of a Kenwood Major whilst
conducting polar research. The model in question was a Kenwood A706,
and I believe itís now in Canterbury Museum in New Zealand. (Acc no.
2005.89.290). Theyíve stated 1980 as a manufacture date on their page
for it, but thatís incorrect. Going by the model type, it would have
been purchased between 1954 and 1957. I have found a 1960 article
about it from a Kenwood manual, but I wanted to know if any previous
members remember it, or have any old photos of it when it was in
operation at one of the research sites. 

According to BAS archives - there seem to have been at least two
successive Kenwood mixers (different models) at Halley in the late-50s
to late-60s. The earlier one wouldíve looked like the Canterbury Museum
example. A report from Graham Talmage states he tried to fabricate a
new mincer gear. Iíve repaired a few mixers over the years and would
have found such an undertaking impossible whilst living in civilisation.
No idea how he would have gone about it there. BAS Archives also
provided a photo of a later Kenwood (A707A) in the 1968 Halley kitchen,
so it seems they were definitely in use there."

Can anyone help with Diana's enquiry? Does anyone have any news about
Graham Talmage?

The Z-Fids website
Some additions and corrections have been made.

A description by Jeremy Owen, doctor in 1988, of his research that year
into circadian rhythm disturbance has been added (link from the 1988

Some pictures by Denis Wilkins (doctor in 1969) taken in the McDonald
Ice Rumples (aka the Gin Bottle) were added. Link from the 1969 page.

The registration forms on the home page were not working for a while
but that problem has now been fixed.

It is now more than 20 years since I set up the Zfids website on 6th
June 2001. Since then there have been more than 111000 visits to the
home page, which averages at about 15 per day.

British Antarctic Oral History Project
Of the 286 Oral History interviews held in BAS Archives, 271 have now
been transcribed by our team of volunteers. 231 of the interviews
have been published on the BAS Club website (link on the Zfids home
page). 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 interviews that have not yet been

Graham (Ghengis) Wright (GA, 1969/70): Philatelic mail
"At the end of our last year it was the maiden voyage of the
Bransfield and Fuchs was on board as well. As you can imagine, there 
was a huge philatelic ... They had issued a new set of stamps
[partly because of the change to decimal currency] and there was a
huge philatelic mail. There must have been about 30 bags jam-packed
with mail, and each letter you opened there was a long hand-written
letter explaining how they wanted the frank put on in very precise
detail. Allen Clayton (I was with Allen in the Shackleton Mountains),
he says 'Can you help me Graham? Let us do the philatelic mail.'
I was an accountant. He said 'Can we do the philatelic mail?' The
ship was leaving in about 12 hours. These bags came off last, and
then the bags kept on coming and coming and coming and at the end of
the day we were in his office and we could not move for mail and
these long personal letters that they expected us to read. Both of
us just burst into some hysterical laugher (it must have been the
tension), which I did not think I was going to survive. I could not
catch my breath and he was on the floor. We just got the frank and
just banged them all."
NERC copyright, reproduced courtesy of BAS Archives Service.
Archives ref AD6/24/1/98.

Ken Lax (Radio op 1974-5, BC 1977): First woman to visit Halley
"Tom Woodfield took his wife Ella, and that was on the first trip we
went down. Quite a shock for many people. She was a very attractive ...
She wouldn't have had to have been attractive, but she was attractive,
a slim woman who was very gregarious. But she had a sense of ...
I was going to say something awful like 'She knew her place.' but
what I meant to say was that she knew the effect she was having on
people and she behaved very well. She was neither in retreat, and she
wasn't too forward. She maintained a very dignified approach throughout,
but she did come to Halley Bay, which was a shock to them because
they thought all women had a staple in the middle and folded over
when you closed the book, because they only had Playboy and things
like that. But she was a very nice lady and the first woman to visit
Halley Bay"
NERC copyright, reproduced courtesy of BAS Archives Service.
Archives ref AD6/24/1/190.

Many thanks to all contributors to this Newsletter.

Back numbers
All issues of this Z-Fids Newsletter, from No. 1 in 2004 (except for the
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:

Registrations and email updates
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people. If you are on email but have not received it by that route,
please register or re-register on the website (links on the home
page). 435 people have now registered on Z-fids. If you have, your
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wish to be removed from the mailing list, let me know by email.


1 Dec 2021
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