Z-fids Newsletter No. 6

January 2006

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 6   14 Jan 2006 

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

50 years since the beginning of Halley.
This month it is exactly fifty years since the IGYE Advance Party
landed on the Brunt Ice Shelf at Halley Bay and began to construct
the first hut, in preparation for the International Geophysical
Year which began in 1957. Halley (Bay) now becomes the first
Antarctic station to have been in continuous British occupation for
half a century. An intensive programme of scientific observations
was carried out at Halley Bay, and many at other observatories
around the world during the IGY. The IGY was followed in 1959 by
the IGC (International Geophysical Cooperation). At Halley this
programme was carried out by the FIDS team who had taken over the
base from the IGYE, as "Base Z". Mick Blackwell, who was scientific
leader of the FIDS party that year, has written an account of the
IGC which may be found on the zfids website (look in the General
Index to find it).

Halley 50 Year Celebration weekend, Northampton, 14-15 October 2006
We are now just 9 months away from our big celebration ("Z-50").
Bookings are coming in steadily and at the time of writing we are
up to 168 including guests. The names of those who have booked are
on the website. Although the conference suite we have booked for
the occasion can accommodate a good number of people, there will be
a limit (of about 400), after which we will have to turn people
away. If you haven't reserved your place yet, why not do so now and
make sure? It's going to be a great party. Booking forms were sent
out with the May BAS Club Newsletter, or you can download one from
the website, or request one to be sent by post. Please spread the
word about this, to any of your contacts who may not have heard
about it, particularly those who will not have received this
Newsletter because they are not on email. The event is open to all
who have lived at or visited Halley, or those who have a particular
interest in it, plus their guests.

Hotel name change
The venue for the celebration weekend is the Park Inn, in the
centre of Northampton. It has recently changed its name from the
Northampton Moat House, when it was sold to the Rezidor hotel
chain. It is just the same place though. The email address for
booking accommodation has also changed although the phone and fax
numbers are the same as before. Full details are on the website.

Commemorative DVD
Don't forget to send any interesting and good quality photos for
inclusion in the 50-year Commemorative DVD being put together by
Stephen Williams (email:
stephenwilliams@newbury-18.freeserve.co.uk) to be available at Z-
50. Details on the website, and in Z-fids Newsletter No. 4.

News from Halley
The 'Ernest Shackleton' arrived around Christmas time and has now
departed having unloaded cargo and people. Most of the sea ice had
broken out particularly early this year, and the ship could not
work cargo from any of the nearby creeks. Relief was carried out
from N9, some 50km from base, involving long sno-cat hauls, with
perishable cargo begin transported by plane. The last of the old
Alpine-1 skidoos, which will be fondly remembered by many, have now
been shipped out, having been replaced by more modern machines.
Only one of the 2005 winterers (Frances Williams, "met babe") is
staying on for the 2006 winter. Following the examples of Rhian
Salmon and Simon Coggins, who have written excellent weblogs, three
of the 2006 winter team are blogging. See the 2006 page of the
website for links.

Z-fids website
There have been a number of recent additions to the site. Following
items in the last Z-fids Newsletter (No. 5), there have been
contributions from various people on the Synchronome clock,
sledging flags, sledging bags, and the observatory. Find them using
the General Index and Picture Index. Another topic when has
stimulated memories is the Lansing Snowplane, in use between 1964
and 1974. According to Graham Chambers, it "went at tremendous
speed, but was pretty uncontrollable and very uncomfortable over
hard sastrugi", and appeared to affect the local weather. Mick
"Mix" Dixon contributed a hair-raising account of a visit to
Halley-2 in 1984 ('Abandoned bases' in the index). A later visit,
described by Dale Heaton and Keith Yearby, yielded the recovery of
some very large brass bars (~8ft x 4in diameter), no easy task to
haul up a vertical shaft. Contributions to, and suggestions about,
the website are welcome at any time.

The Six Bases
A chronology of the six bases Halley-1 to Halley-6, has been
compiled and may be found by clicking 'The Six Bases' in the Links
section of the home page.

Dog index
There were dogs at Halley from 1958 to 1980. A list with details is
given in the Dog Index (link on the home page), compiled by Keith
Holmes. The dogs on base in each year are listed on the relevant
year page.

Winterers by job title
Do you want to know who was doing your job in previous (or later)
years? Click on the link at the bottom of the Name Index.

I have started compiling a portrait gallery (or should that be
"rogues gallery"?) from pictures of Z fids which can be found on
the Internet. Click 'portrait gallery' in the Picture Index.

Rita's Bar
Following the light-hearted piece in the last Newsletter about a
blow-up doll in the bar, I received a complaint that it was in poor
taste and insulting to women. I hope not too many people were
offended; apologies to any who were. Graeme Hart recalls: "..there
was a blow up doll on the wall behind the bar of ZV 93-96. It was
secured inside a wooden box with a glass front which bore the
legend 'In case of emergency - break glass'. It looked like it had
been there a while - either there were no emergencies or someone
had figured out how to open the box without breaking the glass."

Website registrations
There have now been 268 registrations on the z-fids website. The
majority have been winterers: 252; 39% of all winterers 1956-2005.
But this has been variable from year to year, with only one from
2002. If you have not yet registered, please consider doing so,
particularly summer visitors, to ensure you receive future copies
of this Newsletter. Click the link on the zfids home page to get
the registration form.

I noticed a report in the Ernest Shackleton diary, that Steve
Buxton the radio officer, cycled the 15km between Halley and the
ship in February 2001. Check out 'Bicycle' in the Picture Index.
Has anyone got other cycling at Halley pictures or reminiscences? I
know Bob Wells had a bike at Halley in 1969/70 and Andre Philips
(who has since cycled at the South Pole) a Brompton in 1995. What
about motor-bikes? Has anyone ridden a motorbike there?

Andrew Champness (Cook, 1963-64) recalls that 1963 Midwinter
coincided (almost) with his 21st birthday, giving an excuse for
extra celebrations. Did anyone else have a Midwinter/ 21st party?

John "JC" Carter (diesel mechanic in 1967, 1968, and 1969) has
written in to say that he is currently resident in Western
Australia, 35kms east of Perth, and that anyone finding themselves
in the area are invited to give him a call on 0892950917. JC was
one of the "3-winter fids"; one of only two to have spent three
consecutive winters at Halley (the other was Geoff "Abdul" Smith).
According to Hwfa Jones, one of them used the Lansing Snow-plane
(see above) as his 'personal transport'.

As usual this newsletter is being sent out by email. If you are on
email but have not received it by that route, please register or
re-register on the website.

All the best, Andy

22 January 2006
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