Antarctic Trivia


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  • #10075
    skua77
    Keymaster

    Okay, Spidey…you are twisting my arm. I hate to give it away, but…

    A good friend of mine accompanied this person on the journey back from the Pole. 90° South. And I discussed this venture with said friend in person several months ago.

    #10076
    skua77
    Keymaster

    Well, I seemed to have stumped everyone. The basic answer is in this link, but I will award the prize to someone who can at least provide a brief explanation. As a further clue, friend Mike Trimpi and I have been trying to figure out for several years if this guy ever actually made it to Pole. I just learned that he actually did (at least once) a few months ago.

    http://www.canada.com/news/Return+Antartica+look+perilous+journey+South+Pole/2047337/story.html

    As with those book reports we used to do in school, “if you want to find out what happened, read the book.”

    #10077
    spidey
    Participant

    OK, so noone has taken a stab…
    Charles Wright, the only non-British member of the expedition (being Canadian) joined as the Physicist.
    It was he as a member of the search party who spotted the green of the tent where the bodies of Scott, Bowers, and Wilson were recovered.
    He returned to Antarctica two more times, first in 1960 and then again in 1965. He was a bit older then.
    That being said, he didn’t die on his first visit, he was the one who found Scott.
    He was around until 1975 so many of us had the mathematical possibility of meeting him. He was even working in La Jolla at the Scripps Institute just a few years before I made it there.
    -Pete

    #10078
    skua77
    Keymaster

    Pete,
    Wow, you came up with more of the answer than I did! Yes, it is Sir Charles. A couple of years ago I had some fairly extensive discussions about him with Mike Trimpi, who was involved in the Stanford VLF stuff in the early Siple years but is now at Dartmouth still involved with the Pole program. He assured me that Charles had been to both Byrd and Pole but we couldn’t figure out when. The answer came from John Behrendt’s book The Ninth Circle where he writes that he and Sir Charles took a turnaround flight to Pole to take a gravity reading in 1960-61 (this was the first year of VX-6 Hercs. I’ve got a couple of pictures in the DF-61 cruisebook of him in McMurdo that summer.

    At the Canadian lab Pacific Naval Laboratory (PNL) Esquimalt, BC, he was a PI for, well, I’ll just make this a real long post and quote Mike:

    “Sir Charles – there are many stories about him. He was the physicist on the Scott expedition. He continued working in science throughout his life. We, at Stanford, knew him through his work at PNL. He was working on a submarine detection system using magnetic sensors which were to be placed on the ocean floor. What was received, however, was a lot of ‘noise’ generated by small geomagnetic changes. This was the early ’60s; no one had looked at these signals with such sensitivity. Sir Charles became more interested in these signals than those from submarines and convinced the PLN people that this ‘noise’ needed to be studied for the sub detection system to work and that Antarctica would be an ideal place. Somehow, we at Stanford were connected to him and the rest is history. We operated their equipment and the data were shared between PNL and Stanford. I don’t know what they did with the data; we found them very useful. He returned to Antarctica for the 50th aniversary of Scott’s expedition. Now in his 70’s, there was great concern for his wellbeing. USARP (it was a ‘research’ program then!) assigned three people on eight hour shifts to keep track of him since at three in the morning he would decide that a little hike up Observation Hill was necessary and off he would go! He visited Byrd and, of course, Pole. He would not talk about Scott. Even after being primed with a few ‘old fashions’ – his favorite drink – the subject was never discussed. He died in ’75, I think.”

    and

    “Another Sir Charles story told to me my someone who was there and not given to making-up tall tales but not a story that can not go on the web without some careful editing – or possibly at all:
    The scene was his departure from the ice at the end of his 50th anniversary visit. This was big event and quite a crowd gathered to say goodbye to this near legend. Just as he was about to get on the plane someone asked how he liked Antarctica after so many years. His Reply: ‘Personally, I hate the f–king place!’ He turns and disappears into the plane!”

    Mike attributed this quote thus:

    “I heard the story from Ken Moulton, USARP Rep. McMurdo. I have no reason to suspect that he made it up. … not that sort of person. “

    (comments Dave B?)

    Mile wintered at Eights in 63, Byrd in 65, and Palmer in 83, and had summers at SP and Byrd in 66-67, Siple 70-71, and he deployed the first AGO in 82-83. A few years ago he was in Greenland. Talk about an amazing OAE who has shared drinks in McMurdo with Sir Charles Wright!

    Mike Trimpi is, of course, in the 1983 winterover picture, in the red T-shirt. http://www.palmerstation.com/history/7585/1983.html

    When I spoke to John Behrendt about Sir Charles in June, he said that he thought Charles wasn’t the only member of Scott’s expedition to return to the ice, but we haven’t figured out who yet.

    Okay Spidey, can you tell me (1) how you knew he was at Pole in 1965 and (2) what he was doing at Scripps? And of course you’re next.

    #10079
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    *Interjection*

    Mike Trimpi has a type of very-low frequency phase shift event named after him, an ionospheric propagation effect he (?) discovered.

    Carry on.

    g

    #10080
    Been There
    Member

    And I can add, having worked with him for a number of years, Ken Moulton would not make up that kind of story. If he said he hear Wright make that remark I am sure it is true.

    BT

    #10081
    spidey
    Participant

    Hey Skua,
    Just came from a bunch of poking around and probably my proclivity for perusing down side stories.
    Let me know if you want me to try and get some of the copies of the Photos of the modern day Silas in Antarctica from the Scripps’ archives.
    He took over the position of director of the Scripps institute ( or the MPL program) from Carl Eckart to continue the research into ocean acoustics and geophysics/geology which made sense considering the work he accomplished for the British in regards to surveying, cartograpgy, Radar/Sonar, magnetic mine avoidal, and wireless communications especially in non-line-of-sight venues such as in the trenches. After Scripps he returned to Canada to head up the Pacific Naval Labratory in Esquimaault. He then retired in 1969.
    As to the next question it is going to be about operation Highjump. Just need to figure out what will make it fun and interesting.
    -Pete

    [attachment=0:kf5in72r]Operation$20High$20Jump$20DVD.jpg[/attachment:kf5in72r]

    #10082
    spidey
    Participant

    So there are a lot of conspiracy theories surrounding operation Highjump with UFOs, secret Nazi bases, and nuclear bombs.
    Probably more than anything it was a rushed attempt to provide polar training for the US in preparation for the long and drawn out Cold War with the USSR.
    One important thing that the operation brought to the attention of everyone, was the usefulness of helicopters in polar environments. Byrd had actually brought along a gyrocopter for one of his previous visits.
    There were four HO3S helicopters used for OPeration Highjump and two of them were lost. However there was one other helicopter aboard the Northwind. This copter was invaluable in scouting out ice leads and w/o it, the resulting delay might have severally limited the time on land.
    So the question is about the Northwind’s helicopter. What was its pet name and what type of helicopter was it? And for extra credit who was responsible for it coming along.

    [attachment=0:zisn2dq9]Helicopter.jpg[/attachment:zisn2dq9]

    #10083
    Been There
    Member

    The USCGC NORTHWIND had a J2F-6 amphibian and a HNS-1 helicopter aboard. The helicopter was aboard at the insistence of the commanding officer, Captain Charles W. Thomas. A HNS-1 had been used during Operation Nanook, in Artic waters during the past Summer and proved to be of significant value to the operation. The J2F-6 was called “Duck”.

    BT

    #10084
    spidey
    Participant

    Did not know the amphibian had a name.
    Do you also know the name of the HNS-1?
    You were dead on for everything else at least as far the info I read.

    #10085
    Been There
    Member

    What you see is what I got and NO Atlas I was not on the Northwind…..at least not during High Jump anyway. Some one else can jump in and take my turn…someone other than Spidey, Skua 77, Atlas, and Sciencetech.

    FYI helicopters really came into their own during Operation Windmill, that followed HighJump.

    BT

    #10086
    spidey
    Participant

    So the name was the “Flying Penguin”. Don’t know how they came up with that name. Linguists have surmised that penguin may have come from the Welsh for White Head and was used by sailors to describe the now extinct great auk, or that perhaps it was from the Norse pin gwyn referring to the pinned wings, or even the Latin word referring to fat. Regardless, the crew decided to name their helicopter the flying penguin even though penguins can’t fly.
    So hopefully will put up some fun less esoteric questions such as what denominations does the McMurdo ATM dispense or the like.

    #10088
    Kelly74Q
    Member

    RA never married. The only evidence of relations to the fairer sex is an obscure reference to a dalliance with the wife of a lawyer. This was shortly before his departure for the North Pole, and may have been a contributing factor to his decision to go travel south posthaste.

    #10087
    spidey
    Participant

    So hopefully Kelly will ask a question.
    So as Kelly said, RA never married. He did have a popularized romance with the British Woman but there is no know issue from that.
    Beyond that he did adopt two inuit children but ended up returning them to their village as his money ran dry.
    Unless Atlas has claim to the lineage and has more info, I think its Kelly’s turn.

    #10089
    Kelly74Q
    Member

    Sorry about that, I was unaware of the protocol. What person has been to the ice the most number of consecutive seasons? Not exactly a trivia question, and I’m not sure how to find the answer. Tho I do have a couple of people in mind who might qualify, one of whom is probably on ice right now.

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