Z-fids Newsletter No. 22

October 2009

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 22   02 Oct 2009 

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

News from Halley
The following report has been received from Halley. Many thanks to
John Eager, this year's wintering chef, for providing it.

"Greetings from the Halley wintering team 2009,

Following the annual midwinter festivities here at Halley, the base
settled in for the second half of our winter.  Over the past few
months Antarctica has provided us with the experiences that every
winterer at Halley will be familiar with.  The night skies have
shined bright with the green of auroras several times varying from
simple streaks of light in the southern sky to spectacular dancing
and pulsing skies bursting with green and silver light.
Temperatures have fluctuated massively from a balmy -1 deg during a
prolonged 30knot blow to a low of -50 degrees all within a 48-hour
period. Search and rescue, medical and fire scenarios have all been
performed to keep us ready and prepared for any eventuality. In
August we celebrated the return of the sun and the flag was raised
by Colin our youngest base member as part of the sun-up
festivities. We toasted the sun with champagne on the ice and
basked in the sun for the six minutes it remained above the
horizon, happy in the knowledge that the days of darkness are now
behind us and that every day will get longer and brighter until in
September we will enjoy twenty-four hours of daylight once again.

In recent weeks we have been lucky enough to venture down to Windy
Bay and head out onto the sea ice to observe the penguin colony
there. The emperor penguin adults are now accompanied by infant
chicks. One group were lucky enough to see the adults jumping in
and out of the sea through a hole in the ice. Winter trips have now
begun with everyone looking forward to the adventure and a chance
to spend a few days away from base before the Halley Six build
season begins. We now have only five weeks until the first plane
arrives at Halley, bringing with it seven summer base members to
continue science work and prepare for the arrival of the RRS
Shackleton and a cargo ship.  These ships in December will bring in
construction materials and workforce to continue the building of
Halley Six. At the height of summer we will have one hundred and
thirty people on base and the work will continue twenty-four hours
a day to maximise progress in the short summer season. For now
though we will enjoy the last few weeks of winter making the most
of every day on ice."

Halley VI
As John mentions above, the continuation of the Halley VI build
will be a major project of the coming summer season. Keep an eye on
the Halley VI website (link from Z-fids home page) for updates.

Calling ALL Halley Fids!
Hi, it's "Winkle" here, Halley 1972-74. I am writing this article
in Andy's newsletter to make you all aware of the BAS Club
Benevolent Fund.

During this year's BAS Club AGM, Dick Harbour called for support
from Club members to raise the profile of the BAS Club Benevolent
Fund. I have put my head above the parapet and am now the
Benevolent Fund rep. for all Halley FIDS - Past present and future!

This Fund used to be called the "Disaster Fund". Most members still
see it as a monetary fund to assist those Fids that require some
financial support. It still fulfils that function. However as the
name now suggests it is there to provide moral support as well.

The memories of my days at Halley are still extremely vivid in my
mind and one of the best things to come out of my joining BAS is
the enduring friendship I was fortunate to develop with many others
as well as my wintering pals. I am fortunate in that my health is
still sound and I am able to regularly meet up with old and new
FIDS. I also enjoy the benefits of a contented family life and a
large circle of friends ....

It is therefore sad to record that there are FIDS out there that do
not enjoy this happy lifestyle. They may well be infirm or have no
friends locally who can visit. Loneliness and boredom are miserable
pastimes .... Those in their later years may well lack the support
of close family as well.

This article is a request both to them and to those of you who may
know of someone who would benefit from a personal visit or even a
phone call to let them know they are still part of that elite
circle "The FID".

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly and in the confidence
of the Benevolent Fund Committee if you believe you know of folk
who are in this situation. We want to ensure that ALL FIDS are made
aware of this aspect of the Benevolent Fund. You never know when
you may need to call upon it!

Looking forward to hearing from you. Best regards to you all.
Tony "Winkle" Wincott; tony@wincott.fsworld.co.uk Mob 07702 055601
[If you are not a member of the BAS Club, consider joining. It is a
good way of keeping in touch. Details on the BAS Club website,
linked from the Z-fids home page. --Ed.]

Z-fids website
There have been relatively few additions to the Z-fids website
recently. It relies on mainly your contributions for interesting
new content. Have a look at the pages corresponding to the years
you were at Halley. Do you have any interesting stories, events, or
pictures which could be added? Was there anything which made your
year(s) different from other ones? If so, please get in touch. I am
aware that the site contains some broken links, and I am working to
correct this.

Dog memorial
The Antarctic Sledge Dog Memorial, situated in front of the BAS HQ
in Cambridge, was unveiled on 4th July 2009. A great achievement by
Hwfa Jones and Graham Wright, and all those who contributed to the
fund. See a report on the Z-fids website (link from the home page).
The September issue of "The Fan Hitch" is now online
at http://homepage.mac.com/puggiq and also contains a report of the

"Dog Days on Ice"
I bought a copy of this book by Peter Noble and read it from cover
to cover. It is well worth a read, especially for those who were on
base in the sixties and seventies; it will bring back memories. I
recommend it. Copies may be obtained from the author more cheaply
than from bookshops; for details see the Z-fids website (link from
the home page). While on the subject of books, "The Doggy Men" by
Hwfa Jones and "On Floating Ice" by Joe MacDowall are still

Iain Campbell (MO in 1972) has contributed another caboose story,
about using volunteers to determine the effect on the body clock of
isolation and darkness. See "Cabooses" in the General Index on the
website, or look in Latest Additions. I wonder who had the most
unpleasant experiences as a medical science guinea-pig at Halley.
1971 probably had one of the more benign experiments, as it was a
sleep study by Dr Bob Paterson. You just had to have electrodes
connected to a recorder attached to your body prior to going to

Steve Lloyd and James Broadway have contributed pictures of a
Bristows helicopter in action at Halley during the 1984-85 season
(see Z-fids 1985 page). A second one crashed near Halley on 5th
January 1985 and was a write-off. Fortunately the crew were not
seriously injured.

Jack Hill
It is sad to have to report the death, on 8 August 2009, of Jack
Hill, radio operator, 1962, and "head gardener" (producing tomatoes
etc. in the Halley Bay greenhouse).

Pengwinge website
Keith Gainey (radar technician, 1967-68) has set up this new
website at www.pengwinge.com to document his time on base.

2003 winterers
The November 2003 Halley diary by Gavin Francis, on the BAS
website, has a thumbnail image of the 2003 winter group, but the
full-size picture is missing. Does anyone have a copy?

Marine Heritage Trust
In view of the links between the Antarctic and historic ships, it
has been suggested that fids may wish to sign a petition on the
Number 10 Downing Street website calling for the protection of this
part of our heritage. Be aware however that the creator of this
petition (Simon Winser) was also responsible for one (which was
rejected) calling for the "immediate halt to the State sponsored
genocide of the indigenous British population", and (allegedly) is
or has been a member of the BNP.

As usual this newsletter is being sent out by email only, to 445
people. If you are on email but have not received it by that route,
please register or re-register on the website (links on home page).
364 people have now registered on Z-fids. If you have, your name
will be shown as a link on the appropriate year page(s).


19 March 2010
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