Chairman's Message - March 2024 - Trevor Cornford FRGS

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!