Halley Bay - 1974


Notable events/features of the year


HewitsonR.C.(Richard 'Rigor')Electrician
LaxK.C.(Ken)Radio Operator
McClureJ.A.(John 'HairBear')Geophysicist
PearceT.('Dr Tom')MO
WrightG.A.(Gordon)GA, Tractors
+ Deceased


Brae, Muff.


Base photo:
Halley Bay base photo, 1974
K Stevenson - D Jones - G Chambers - D Boteler
R Dalton - C Bienkowski - J Main - G Wright
J McClure - D Connolly - M Daley - I Mclnnes - T Pearce
A Moinet - K Lax - R Hewitson - C Cuthbert - B Jones
Picture supplied by Tony Jackson

Gash Run
Gash Run
Photo by John McClure

Oral History Recording

Ken Lax

Other information, anecdotes etc.

Graham Chambers recalls:

The electrician was known as Rigor (for Rigor Mortis) his natural state in the morning. Dr. Tom was a local accident waiting to happen. He once went out to do some bulldozing (as Doctors do on a Sunday) and didn't come back. We scoured the entire base looking for him, then spread out around the buildings searching the surroundings. He was finally found, more or less frozen stiff, hanging by his anorak on the handle of the Avtur hand pump fixed to the back of the IH (International Harvester) bulldozer cabin. The doors of the cabin were not used much. Exit was usually by the roof (ever since an IH went through the sea-ice at relief and the occupants jumped or swam out that way). Tom had jumped out via the roof to re-fuel and when jumping down his anorak slid over the vertical handle of the pump leaving him hanging there and unable to get off! he was there for at least 5 hours and was as stiff as a board when found. He was slowly warmed up in his own surgery and emerged non the worse for his experience, but he was damn lucky to be found. [25 April 2002]

Graham Chambers on "Streaking"

Reading about various "streaks"* at Halley and the possible dates of the earliest, I am sure that mine was by no means the earliest, but it is the earliest mentioned so far and thus a contribution to history (or hysteria, depending on how you look at it!) In 1974 I was persuaded (against my better judgement - although on reflection maybe my better judgement did not exist until many years afterwards), to run naked for 100 yards at more or less midwinter from the garage exit to the dorm exit (where the doctor's surgery was!) when we hit minus 55.3 - at that time, the coldest Halley had experienced. The entire base at SANAE had streaked and two men at Pole station had effectively run naked around the world - or at least around 360 degrees of longitude. There was nothing for it but to go for the world's COLDEST streak - and in a fit of madness i ran with a pair of running shoes on and nought else. We contacted the "Guiness Book of Records" to record the event, but a year later received the reply that it could not be recorded as it "was not a recognized competitive event". I very much doubt that i was the first, but, for the record, I still have a slide of the event (taken i think by Ken Stevenson) - there is, as you might imagine, not a lot to see! If I can find it, I'll add it to the site. I went on to father two children, so the effects were not permanent! [4 August 2003]
It's been a long wait, but I have taken ages to locate the slide concerned and to begin the transcription of all my best slides onto CD-ROM. Nonetheless, here it finally is, for what it's worth. [23 May 2005]
* See also contributions by Mike Pinnock, Mick Roscoe, Dave Cruse and Tim Elvin.

The Lansing Snowplane (Graham Chambers)

Ken Lax remembers:

In 1974 we had a cardboard cut out of an Aer Lingus hostess - the subject of much admiration and ribaldry - seems rather quaint compared with the blow up doll! I am not sure who was responsible for bringing the Aer Lingus lady to base. It may have been Dermot Connolly. [16 January 2006]
See correction by Jack Temple ... Ed.


Summer 1973-74

FallonM.(Mark)RRS Bransfield Crew
JonesB.G.(Brian 'Taff')Builder
KevilleJ.A.(Tony)Halley 3 Rebuild
LawrenceS.J.(Stuart)Captain, Bransfield

Gary Trevor writes:

From Gary Trevor (Big Trev) Protector 1960-62 and Bransfield 73-78. We were South when it was cold. With Global Warming you might as well be in Mombasa. Then we had goose pimples, clustered together for warmth, and, if you like your baloney sliced thick, we put the candles out with a hammer!! And because of the Fiddery bar, Bransfield showed bloodshot steaming lights!
[25 April 2002]

4 Nov 2023
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