Z-fids Newsletter No. 30

October 2012

      Z - F I D S    N E W S L E T T E R   No. 30   20 Oct 2012

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

News from Halley
The Sun is back after the first winter that Halley VI has been
occupied. The flag has been raised and the penguins visited.
Thanks to the Internet, it is much easier than it used to be to
keep up with what is going on at Halley. There is the monthly 
station diary. This year Oliver +Bonner (Electronics Engineer)
is on Twitter and has recently posted a photo of sleeping in an
ice cave. Sam Burrell (Meteorologist) has a blog and has shown
some really nice pictures of the night sky. François Guerraz (Data
Manager) has a web gallery, with dozens of high quality photos.
Links to all these are on the 2012 page of the website. Then there
is the webcam (link on the home page) although this does not always

Sadly, as usual, there are deaths to announce.

John Griffiths
As mentioned in the last Newsletter, John Griffiths has died.
Andrew Champness, who wintered with him in 1963, has sent this
"I worked with John Griffiths (who died on New Years Eve) in 1963, my
first year as a cook and youngest member of a great team. As you
know John was a Meteorologist at Halley Bay, he also cut hair when
required, and gave instruction on using a 303 rifle for seal
hunting; we often went out together sledging to the bay to obtain
a Weddell seal. He gave me my first experience in handling dogs,
shooting a rifle and getting about. I am very grateful to John;
in those days I was very young and naive; he always looked after
me and others ...... THANKS JOHN."

Alan Johnston
Alan Johnston, Halley Bay 1966 & 67, Surveyor, died on 20th Sept 2012. 
Alan had been suffering with Alzheimer's for several years.

Two year stints a thing of the past?
In the past many winterers spent two consecutive winters at Halley,
so getting on for half the complement would stay on and become
'second year men' (or women) with a year's experience under their
belts to pass on to the first years. This is now rare. No-one has
stayed for a second consecutive year since Agnieszka Fryckowska
from 2008 to 2009, and she was the only one that year.

Z-fids website www.zfids.org.uk
Various lists of Fids and Antarctic slang are available. Click on
Glossaries on the home page. 

Cattle Carters. This film, set in the Australian Outback, which was
popular on base some years ago, is now available on YouTube 
(link on the 1970 page).

Also on YouTube is a rather nice video by Kirk Watson, showing
how one of the blue modules of Halley VI is raised and towed
(link on the 2010 page).

Bill Freeland (Doctor, 1978) has contributed some pictures to
the 1978 page.

John Digby (VLF Physicist 1994-5) has a website with some Halley
pictures. There is a link on the 1995 ZFids page.

Stuart Marsden (Geophysicist 1961-62) has contributed a tale
about losing, retrieving and refixing a tooth. Link on the 1961

Thanks to the BAS Club for sponsoring the zfids.org.uk Internet

Halley 1959 - Historic Film is Brought to Life
Jo Rae writes:
"When the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS) took over
responsibility for Halley Bay Base in 1959 one of the
wintering team, Johannes Bothma, a meteorological assistant, 
took 16 mm colour film of their first year's activities. He 
produced an excellent 30 minute film called 'Antarctic
Observatory' - which includes fascinating footage from their 
arrival aboard MV Tottan to their relief by the RRS John 
Biscoe the next year. It includes great shots of the base and 
what it was like at that time and the challenges of moving 
tons of stores using sledges and Massey Fergusson farm 
tractors. Scientific work documented includes launching 
meteorological balloons, ozone studies, and observations at 
the Emperor Penguin colony. There is also interesting footage 
of domestic activities like shovelling snow for water 
supplies, washing clothes and making bread.
   The film makes a super contrast with Halley 6 and its 
facilities and vehicular support, but until now has languished 
in the archives because it was on cine film and silent - not 
very accessible. I'm now delighted to say that it has been 
digitised and a commentary added - provided by Professor 
Nelson Norman, the medical officer at Halley back in 1959. 
Nelson's insider knowledge of what is going on in the film and 
the context surrounding it, really brings out the best in the 
footage while maintaining the feel of the original. The 
project was helped enormously by James Black (sound recorder), 
Duncan Lockerbie (sound editor) and Chris Jones of World Video 
Productions Ltd (film digitisation).
   Nelson has already published books about his experiences at 
Halley and his work in the field of remote health care, which 
included many years working with BAS to establish the BAS 
Medical Unit in the 1980s."
If you would like a copy of this film, please let me know:

Keith Gainey (Radar Technician 1967-69) has a couple of queries:

1) Sophia Loren
"In the 1962 hut - which had only one floor built - there was a
painting of Sophia Loren in one of the bedrooms. I resurrected
the painting and took it to the Halley II met office. To this date
I have not been able to ascertain who painted it and when." Does
anyone know? [link on 1970 page of www.zfids.org.uk]
2) Pengwinge and Feenix
"In 1966 Chris Gostick started the Pengwinge newsletter. This
continued until Jan 1968. In 1969 Mike Durrant renamed the newsletter
FEENIX. Can you request that anybody who has any copies of either of
the two newsletters to send copy to me/or send to me for me to copy.
I will reimburse anybody's postal charges and return the original
after copying. My address is: Keith J Gainey, 6 Chaffinch Way,
Shrewsbury SY1 4TR"

The Last of the Doggy Men!
Hwfa Jones: "Due to worldwide demand, 'The Doggy Men' book is now on
Amazon Kindle in digital format (a significant number of electrons
were terribly inconvenienced). I still have some paper copies left
and if any Fids want them; they too are on Amazon or direct from me

Z-60 Diamond Jubilee Reunion
The organising committee met on 6th October and agreed the dates:
7-9th October 2016. Put them in your diary now. The price has not yet
been set but is expected to be announced next March. The venue will be the 
same as Z-50, i.e. Park Hotel, Northampton. Advance bookings will be taken
after the next BAS Club Magazine has gone out (expected December 2012).
Keep an eye on the website for future announcements.

John Flick (aka John Shepherd)
John was radio operator at Halley Bay 1971-72, last heard of in
Devon. His nephew Robert Bradbury is trying to track him down to
tell him about new additions to the family. John now has a grand
nephew and niece! If you can help Robert get in touch with his
lost uncle, please get email Robert at robert.bradbury@hsbcib.com

Shackleton tribute
Bill Freeland has pointed out a video on YouTube by one of his
colleagues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3_chmzWln0

BAS - NOC merger
Many Fids have been concerned to learn of NERC's proposal to
merge BAS with the National Oceanography Centre at Southampton.
Nearly 3000 people, including many Halley Fids, have signed a
petition arguing against this plan. If you have not signed it,
there is still time to do so. Go to www.change.org and put 
British Antarctic Survey in the Search Box. There is discussion on
of this on the BAS Club Forum (members only), and there has been
significant press and media comment. A House of Lords debate
took place on 18th October on "Antarctica and the UK's scientific
legacy and presence". You can watch the debate on www.parliamentlive.tv
(click Archives and enter Antarctica as a keyword; the debate
starts at 14:26). A decision about the merger will be made by NERC
in December. 

British Antarctic Oral History Project
More edited extracts from the transcripts (see
www.antarctica.ac.uk/oralhistory) are reproduced below.
Volunteers to help with this project are welcomed.

Tony Baker: The new balloon shed
"The Survey had sent down a new balloon shed. Like (almost) 
always, these things arrived on base with something short, 
something missing. On this occasion they had sent all the parts 
down, the nuts and bolts and so on, but no drawings showing you 
how to erect it. When I arrived back on base from the field, Rod 
Rhys Jones who was the new surveyor, just come in at that time, 
he had either taken charge or he had been given charge of 
starting to erect this building. He did a wonderful job because 
every day he had a radio sched with Stanley, and he spoke to 
Clem who had the drawings in the Stanley office and he would 
have a drawing in front of him, and he would say to Rod over the 
radio 'Imagine a square x feet by x feet, a rectangle, and in 
this corner you draw this for so many squares on a graph paper'
type of thing, and he went through these drawings on a daily 
basis, giving him just enough to go out and start and put a bit
more together. It went on like this for weeks, until eventually
it was built correctly and it was up and running, but because 
of the way it was built, it was actually built 90 degrees wrong. 
On the traditional balloon shed, in those days, we used to blow 
a balloon up with hydrogen gas, and then there is a big door at 
the side which you can open, and you walk out with this balloon, 
which was quite large, and there was a radiosonde and a radar 
target hanging on a long string behind it. You would clear the 
building and then let it go. Well after 12 months, you could not 
do that because this door in the side of the building was snowed 
up, so then you had to resort to the roof and the roof was built 
to open up but because it had been built 90 degrees wrong, the 
wind would tend to catch the balloon as it came out and blow it 
into the open doors and burst it."
NERC copyright, reproduced courtesy of BAS Archives Service.
Archives ref AD6/24/1/74.

John Gallsworthy (Golly): Close encounter with paint tins
"The shaft up from the IGY hut was obviously long and wasn't 
quite straight with the ice in it. Dave Hill and I had to haul 
it [salvaged material] all up this shaft. One of us would be on 
the tractor, pulling, and the other one was down below. You 
could not see what was going on, so you would tow it and you 
would feel the rope go tight and you would ease it off a bit if 
you were driving, wait, loosen it off a bit and then you would 
go on. One day we had it pull up with tins of paint. I was 
driving, and the bottom of the shaft where the ice had gone 
down, it had made a curve. I was towing this up and something 
happened and it tipped all these tins of paint up. Dave Hill was 
down the bottom with all this paint hurtling down and it hit 
this ramp. He was legging it off along the corridor with these 
2-gallon tins of paint going after him. [Dave claims they were 
5-gallon tins.] 'Hey, you are trying to kill me!' 'Oh, I didn't 
know.' He has never forgiven me for that."
NERC copyright, reproduced courtesy of BAS Archives Service.
Archives ref AD6/24/1/123.

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20 January 2013
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