Polar Blog

Hello to you all in yet another New Year, while writing experiencing truly polar weather very very freezing and with snow in the north of England and promised, if that is the word, to follow down to the south.

I am ecstatic to confirm and share with you that I did make my voyage during virtually the whole of last November to the Antarctic starting from Puerto Madryn in Argentina via the Falkland Islands across to South Georgia almost literally bouncing from the South Orkneys too much ice to land - through sea Ice hearing it bumping alongside to Elephant Island and then Deepest South to Port Lockroy via a roundabout route West side of the peninsula, Bransfield Strait and Paradise Bay
landing Saturday 18th November at Neko Harbour. Then after Port Lockroy Drake Passage past Cape Horn to Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia on 21st of November!

I experienced an extra few days / nights at the foothills of the Andes and in Buenos Aires - more fun including a visit overthe ship Uruguay (rescue of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904) given free rein re. photos! Finally flying home on 25th November, overnight back to LHR extremely satisfied! Truly, an amazing voyage, covering everything that Scott and SHACKLETON touched on this route outside of the Ross Sea and Weddell Sea of their Antarctic journeys.

I am still reliving many of our stop-off s and passages through the receipt of postcards sent back to myself to my address in the UK to document the places actually landed or seen from the wonderful viewing platform on the rear of the ship MV Seaventure. This is a method I have used on many of my major voyages all over the world and it allows you to reread not just from notes in
a book or today emails or WhatsApp, What you were feeling at the time you are on the spot and it provides in our case, a proper postal history record - having pre-ordered the correct rate postal postcard Stamps collected at Port Stanley - thanks Talia - and again purchased in South Georgia!

I admit to a small cheat that at Port Lockroy they did not have all SHACKLETON stamps at postcard rate available, so we used the nearest value which had a good relevant image, of £1.04 to document my further progress and I cannot begrudge the extra 34p in order to keep the history connection alive!

Please judge for yourself with the card posted and stamped 19th November (Figure 3 in Polar Post) on my own special postcard (Figure 1) created for the voyage of a photograph previously in
my possession signed by SHACKLETON after his Endurance experience. There are also some cards which were left until further stamps could be accessed by the two ladies Claire and Laura operating the post office after we had left, and these are posted on the 5th December (Figure 4), and I was reliably informed by them subsequently returned by the Roald Amundsen for onward return, and only arrived with myself the week of the 8th January, some with the local sorting office, transit markings quite smudged of Greenford /Windsor.

The message (Figure 5) is especially important to me, as I had suddenly realised after we had left, and were actually crossing the Drake Passage, that by going on this voyage finally I had actually travelled to the Seventh continent with it, being my final of the seven continents, having not realised that Egypt, Tunisia would qualify as part of Africa, as not having really thought about
it until someone else, on board, mentioned that in relation to their own travels.

So a truly fitting finale to the whole experience. If space allows in the next few issues of Polar Post, I will be able to give you some more postal history and personal experiences of the places I went to including a discovery of a link with the Lindblad Explorer on Westpoint in the Falklands, the SS DISCOVERY in Port Stanley, and of course the iconic visit to the whalers’ graveyard in South Georgia, 2 postboxes! and ringing the bell in the church!

EBay did provide a few new postcards for my SHACKLETON (Figure 6) and SCOTT (Figure 7) collections, recently, especially the half model of the former at Madame Tussaud’s and the variation of the Scott memorial card similar to MW -KI-9 at a pinch, but because it’s a formal pose, I believe from his Discovery days prior to earning his polar medal (not shown wearing it so taken
prior to departure) someone has created their own card dated at the moment he was at the South Pole. Has anyone seen this style before?

Always satisfying to fill some gaps and potential images of cards I have not seen before. Please don’t forget to send similar items and other Philatelic related findings to John Youle. When you have time we always want to share!

Greetings to you all once again it barely seems possible that this is a Christmas message as
time flies by.

My recent events take me up to the middle of October as I write and the polar collecting front
has been fairly quiet. However at the local Philatelic Society we had an evening to show favourite things and of course that meant I could fly the Polar Collector flag on that occasion. Much of my time has been taken up with improving my fi tness and the associated medical assistance which means I can give you some major news that my trip to Antarctica and South Georgia /Falkland Islands will have started and possibly ended before you read this from the 1st to the 25th of November ! I am very pleased to have got myself in the position of being able to go and I will send a few postcards appropriately where I can.

I did manage to attend the AGM at Stampex to get our administration back on track and bought a few inexpensive covers but due to the diffi culty and expense of hiring rooms and travelling we had limited numbers. I do believe that the way forward for simplicity and convenience for all to have input, will be for Zoom meetings. Your committee is in the process of organising how this might be put into practice and publicise to all members.

Rechecking my diary I noticed that a lot of my time has been taken up with improvements in the garden and the house and the motorcar but Ebay has provided me with some good quality Polar Postcards purchases and it is worth keeping your eyes open. Please let John have anything that you find as a scan and perhaps a few words. I hope that you find the missing gem you wish for next year and seasons greetings to everyone.

Having just finished an enjoyable week of a visit to Wisley Gardens to elevate the standard of my borders, and retaining a cup for Advanced Philately at my local club, it’s time to write a few bon mots to everyone - especially pleasing as it was topped off by a Midpex day out meeting members and old friends - and finding a few interesting, if modest, modern Antarctic related postal items.

What do you think of this improvised OHMS cover from BAT? Is it a concoction or what? I do not recollect having seen it before.

PS. The Cup was judged by external qualified judges and again held the Polar flag high for my Large gold Liberec Shackleton exhibit!

I hope you are all adding to and enjoying your own interests so please remember to send and share items to the editor John Youle with a few words and images. Hopefully I shall see some more of you at the Autumn Stampex/AGM towards the end of September.

I hope you are all feeling well with better weather and sufficient chocolate after Easter by the time you read this! I have not been to much philatelically speaking, out and about but there is always online and auctions to keep up with. And some dealers still produce catalogues of offers even if many claim it is not so cost effective.

The card Wharton GI 2 shown came from such a list and is right in my area of social collecting - posted right in the period of Shackleton’s return in 1909 with Nimrod moored on the Thames open to the public - Enjoyed by Ada and Walter who sent it to Harry and Kathleen, possibly as a bit of one up personship! We are up to date and participating in the latest news.

Following a previous article I wrote about the Edwardian psyche and the Polar explorers reports getting into the public’s own daily lives, (Polar Post N° 211, December 2006, Page 116), this
Canterbury Times card posted 21 July 1904 to UK has a message needing no further comment!

Finally as you now know I was unable to travel on the Shackleton Quest voyage but a friend aboard kindly sent me the souvenir envelope, one of only 25 I believe. Many thanks to Tony Shields from Shields stamps etc Victoria Australia!

I hope to see some of you at the joint meeting with the FIPSG at Swinpex on 10th June from 11 am to 1 pm. Sadly there is no room for Society tables at the new location. I shall be manning a Society table together with Robert Hurst for the PPHSGB at Midpex on 1st July, 10 am to 4 pm. Please come along and give some support to Robert and myself. A meeting room has been requested at Autumn Stampex on Saturday 30th September to enable the Society to hold the Annual General Meeting.

Special thanks to all the Committee and ‘ex officios’ for keeping our Society running well.