George Hemmen, Royal Society IGY Expedition

I have a few dates . . . for the record but nothing as significant as Friday 6 January 1956 which was, indeed, the date we found the site. The three of us left the ship at about 8am went in about a mile and a half from the slope.As it was an unending flat expanse this seemed to be the place for the hut so we walked around and around, covering about ten miles at a guess, looking for crevasses. Found none and were back on board by lunchtime.

The BAS website date of 15 January* is definitely wrong. What did happen on that particular date was that unloading and transporting stores to the site was stopped for a few hours because, very early in the morning, a tidal wave broke up the bay ice and "Tottan" had to pull away for a while.

There was no formal declaration of the station being opened.Things just progressed along the way and the following dates may be of interest:

21 February - kitchen became operative
26 February - members of the advance party moved out of their tents and into the partly completely hut
29 February - post office official first day
31 March - outer shell of hut completed and weatherproof.

Data collection was a similar pattern of progression.It started with simple weather observations and the programme developed as equipment was unpacked and installed.

Thus, taking all of this into consideration, . . . 6 January has to be regarded as the anniversary.

20 March 2002

*This is based on the date when levelling of the site for the hut started, according to the Building Report by J.E. Raymond.
[Information from Jo Rae, BAS archivist, 26 March 2002.]
This comment is no longer relevant, as the BAS website has now been corrected. -- Ed. [22/09/07]

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