"Peter, Paul and Mary"
(IH TD8's at Halley)

by Paul Whiteman

I was asked to return to BAS in 1965 to source a vehicle, replacing the Bombardier Muskeg tractors, both for use around base and for long distance traverses. This was before the days of leisure skiing and the need for piste grooming and there was little other than tracked earthmoving equipment available.

All of the major manufacturers were approached with a view to their assisting with the project and of these only International Harvester were interested (almost certainly to get one over Caterpillar).

The IH TD-8 seemed about the right size we began a programme to lengthen the track frames, to fit wider track pads, to ensure it would start in -30C, lighten overall wherever possible and to provide a (relatively) comfortable cab plus various other mods..

Derek Gipps and myself formed the initial BAS team whilst a senior (sufficient to have an AdC and a secretary wherever he went) member of IH Sales Management, (Jack Vine), headed the project.

A main contractor was chosen - Cripps Ltd of Leeds, an IH distributor - and a number of sub-contractors were also involved, all under the control of IH Head Office, but with the final assembly being in Leeds. Jack Vine didnít suffer fools lightly and an endearing memory is of a progress meeting where Boughtonís, the winch manufacturer, were again late in delivery, was him speaking over his shoulder to his secretary saying "Take a note Miss Jones, Boughtons to bollock!"

Towards the end of 1965 Pete Blakeley was coerced into rejoining BAS with a view to returning to Halley with the TD-8ís and he worked in Leeds to effect their completion with Cripps.

From Pete and myself came the "Peter and Paul". Please note Cripps choice not ours!.

A third TD-8 was built and went in in 1968. During the mid-60ís the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary were topping the charts which is where "Mary" came from.

A number of long distance journeys were undertaken with the TD-8ís in the late 60ís/early 70ís, eg. The Shackleton Mountains.

The first Tucker Sno-Cat, with flexible tracks, went into Halley in 1970 (this a story all of its own!!) and thus began the demise of the noisy, slow but reliable TD-8ís.

"Paul" was lost through the sea ice when Pete Witty was driving it out to the ship for return to UK.

"Peter and Mary" did eventually return and up until the early 1990ís were still in service with a groundworks contractor in Steeple Bumpstead, Essex.
[26 October 2006]

17 February 2007

1966 index page
Z-fids home page