Lewis Juckes, geologist; 1964-1965

The Norwegian government wanted to commemorate heroes from the Second World War (whether those who died, or those who were prominent, I do not know) and decided to attach their names to places in their Antarctic Territory (Dronning Maud Land). For some reason they did not do so when places were discovered by the Norwegian-British-Swedish expedition of 1949-52 but used the places mapped by parties from Halley Bay in the 1960s.

Their organised resistance to the occupying Nazi forces had come under the general name of the Home Front (Heimefront), and so this was the overall name of the range. Individual ranges (sub-ranges?) within this were named after subdivisions of the Home Front. These were the Civil Organisation (thus Sivorgfjella), Military Organisation (Milorgfjella) and then their secret police and intelligence unit (XU-fjella and KK-dalen; I cannot remember which initials refer to which). I presume that names of individuals were given to features within the range corresponding to their own organisation.

In the early stage when the Norwegian names were being given in the area where we were working, one group of nunataks was given the name Milorgknausane. Then three of our people died only 5-10 miles from the group, and so it was renamed Mannefallknausane (meaning something like Loss-of-life nunataks). They now had to find a new place for the name Milorg-, and with a bit of re-jigging it ended up at the northeast end of the range, on the section now called Milorgfjella. The maps in my reports during the early part of my writing up show the old name, Milorgknausane, and the later ones show Mannefallknausane.

In the field, we always called it Stella. Some years earlier, Dennis Ardus and Colin Johnson were the first to sledge out there (to the Tottanfjella, specifically) and they gave the names of their fiancees to two nunataks (saying that it was appropriate, because the nunataks were equally distant and unattainable!) Colin's name, Hilda, vanished from the folklore. I think that when approached it turned out to be just one peak among the jumbled cluster at the southwest end of Sivorgfjella (what was later called by us the Dome and the Black Spider (in contrast to the White Spider of the Eiger)). The name given by Dennis, Stella, was to a nunatak now called Minnesteinen. It is the highest point for tens of miles around, and is visible from just about anywhere within fifty miles (and probably eighty or more in some directions) as a proud-standing peak. We called that nunatak "Stella" and the group as a whole the Stella group. Tony Baker and I were the first ones to touch rock there in February 1965, and to climb Minnesteinen. Geoff Lovegrove and Tony Haynes followed a year later, after which there seems to have been no one until a Finnish party more than twenty years later. (Blundell and Winterton sledged through the middle of the group a few years earlier, but to the frustration of head geologist Ray Adie they did not stop to touch rock and collect samples for him.) Three other rocks or groups of rocks were Baileyranten, Wildskorvene and Wilsonberga. The only other name which seems to have been given in that small group is Gravsteinen; I think I can guess what that means.

Back on name confusion, the Germans often call that section (Milorgfjella) the Kottasberge. Ritscher, who flew close to the area (though not right over it) in about 1939 shows on his map a splotch there with the name "Kottas". He also shows a vague smudge farther north, a smudge implying far more uncertainty than for the other mountain areas which he marked. He gave that the name Kraul, and the Germans sometimes use that for Vestfjella. While Ritscher probably did see "Kottas", it seems very unlikely that he saw Vestfjella. His "Kraul" was probably cloud or texture on the (very distant) ice surface.

21 February 2002

1964 index page
Z-fids home page