Polar Publications

The following polar publications are currently available to order through the society. Please contact the webmaster to order!

Operation Tabarin and its postal history 1943-45

“Operation Tabarin” was a Second World War mission to the Antarctic, far removed from the major theatre of battle but nevertheless considered of vital political and strategic importance in the safeguarding of British Sovereign Land. Conducted by the Admiralty on behalf of the Colonial Office, the Expedition was organised and executed under orders of the strictest secrecy. The men were drawn from a combination of military and civilian occupations and all were volunteers.


This book looks at the Operation from the previously unexplored aspect of the political importance of the special stamps produced, and mail sent and received through the operation of Post Offices at the permanently occupied Antarctic bases. Previously unpublished pictures and extracts from Government records are featured.

The detailed account of Operation Tabarin was researched by the author, Gerry Pearce, from source material and personal accounts. Copies of the book can be ordered from Gerry from the specially created Operation Tabarin website or by e-mail. The price of the book is £27 with additional postage and packing of £3 to Great Britain, £10 to Europe and £16.50 to the rest of the world.


Departing Great Britain by ship at the end of 1943, their objective was to establish two permanently manned bases within the territory of the Falkland Islands Dependencies, with the following aims:

1. To ensure a British presence in the Antarctic to discourage enemy activity, particularly to prevent harbours and stocks of shipping oil falling into enemy hands.

2. To strengthen British claims to sovereignty of the Falkland Islands Dependencies, to which Argentina and Chile had made counter claims.

Permission was also given to carry out scientific research in the areas where the bases were established.

Never before, nor since, has an Antarctic expedition laid such emphasis on special stamp issues and post offices, as befell Operation Tabarin. It was conceived and executed during World War II, primarily to strengthen British claims to sovereignty of the Falkland Islands Dependencies. Permanent occupancy was deemed essential to resist claims by other nations and a pivotal feature of this was demonstrated by establishing post offices, handling the sending and receiving of mail, thus demonstrating and reinforcing sovereignty over the territory.

The British Government also saw the potential to recover some of the cost of mounting Operation Tabarin in 1943, by hurriedly ordering the specially overprinted Falkland Islands stamps, named for the Dependencies. These were: Graham Land, South Shetlands, South Orkneys and South Georgia.

A philatelic exposé over SA Andrée's fatal balloon flight towards the North Pole

This book contains the most extensive illustrations of books and postcards from the expedition where Andrée attempted to fly by balloon to the North Pole. The book is easily read and designed as a polar exhibit. It begins with Andrée's upbringing and how he tested different balloons in the 1880s and 90s. Correspondence and relevant documents explain how the North Pole expedition was planned, and feature many unique letters and postcards both from the 1896 expedition (where the balloon launch was postponed) and the eventual 1897 flight from Spitsbergen. Further philatelic illustrations and text highlight the rescue expeditions that looked for the lost Swedish explorers without success, and how the mystery of what happened to the expedition was solved in 1930. It is a great compilation in the form of photographs, letters and postcards with excellent illustrations and documentation. Price: £15 plus postage


A philatelic exposé of the first Swedish Antarctic Expedition led by Dr Otto Nordenskjöld 1901-1903 – This book shows mail from the first Swedish Antarctic Expedition led by Otto Nordenskjöld and includes postcards, telegrams, and photographs. The exhibit tells the dramatic story of the expedition, describing its route and timetable with covers and cards sent from every port of call. Price £15 plus postage

Roald Amundsen Expedition Mail, Letters, Postcards and Stamps, 64 pages - Price: £10 plus postage

Drama in the Arctic, SOS Italia – The search for Nobile and Amundsen, A Diary and Postal History, 140 pages. Price: £15 plus postage

Antarctic Mail – From the Heroic Era when Ships were made of Wood and Men of Steel, 40 pages. Price: £15 plus postage

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