Halley Bay 1966 team: 2022 Reunion

Ian Jones

Last week I was at the Z-66 reunion near Shrewsbury. It was a great event, though Iím not sure how I got invited... When I heard about it, I assumed that it was in the series of Z-50, Z-60 and so on. This year would be the 66'th anniversary, so.. Z-66. But there is another event which takes place every 5 years or so, for all the people who were there in the year 1966, and it is called, yes .. Z-66.

I did enjoy meeting them all and swapping stories with them. Also present were some people for BAS including the chap who plans the Halley relief each year - he showed us some pictures and films about how they do it these days. They have not been able to get a ship alongside at Halley since 2017 so all the re-supplies have been done by air, including dropping the barrels of avtur fuel. They are expecting two large pieces of the Brunt ice shelf to calve off soon, hopefully leaving Halley 6 on the remnants of the ice shelf which is still attached to the land.

Here are some of the Z-66 chaps examining photographs. The chap sitting down is Charlie, the cook. He cheerfully told how, when he went south, he had little experience of catering and no idea of how to make meals with the limited supplies on base. During his interview they asked him a lot of general questions until he interrupted, "Arenít you going to ask me what I know about cooking?" That forthrightness "did the trick" he said, and they offered him the job.

Halley Bay 1996 team: 20122 Reunion

Dick Stokes was a met man. He and all the team were living in one of the "extensions" to Halley 1. It was built on top of the original IGY hut and was supposed to be a 2-storey building. However some of the materials were mislaid, so they ended up in a single-storey building whose roof was supposed to be the floor of the second storey - in other words, it was flat. So as soon as it got buried, the pressure of the snow began to squash it and melt-water was a perennial problem. The team was around 30 people then, because of the amount of field travel they were doing, and the husky puppies lived indoors with them.

Halley Bay 1996 team: 20122 Reunion

The Z-66 group slowly dwindles over time, but relatives of some members who had passed away came along. These are two sons of "Sam" Samuels who surveyed the Theron mountains. There is even a feature there which is named after him; https://geoyp.com/29/samuelhamaren-2413633/. Respect.

Halley Bay 1996 team: 20122 Reunion

The celebration cake is cut by the wife and daughter of a Z-66 member. The granddaughter was there too, at 5 months old she was the youngest attendee!

Halley Bay 1996 team: 20122 Reunion

One of the movies we were shown was taken at Halley in 1966 and several of the Z-66 people who were present featured in it. I am sure that in their minds, they still see each other as the young men in those images..

Altogether they are a well-knit crew and they seem to see a lot of each of each other throughout the year. After the Z-66 event, a number of them headed off together to visit Dad Etchells who is in a care home in that part of the country.

29 June 2022
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