Report of Virtual Midwinter 2020 meeting of the Halley Bay Wintering Team 1977

by Ken Lax

Twelve members joined the gathering on 19 June 2020 (three sent apologies - Iain Levack (unchangeable appointment), Harry Matthews (unchangeable appointment) and Pete Witty (we couldn’t get his laptop to communicate with Zoom). Present at the meeting were Phil Hart (Canada), John Wright (Canada), Ian Somerton (York), Tom Hardie-Forsyth (York), Michael Davies (Cambridge), George Morgan (Salisbury), Barry Gardiner (France), Phil Marsh (Church Stretton), Steve Chambers (Northallerton), Steve Emery (Market Harborough), Mike Pinnock (Cambridge) and Ken Lax (Shrewsbury). Andy Smith was invited, and we were pleased that he was able to join us from the Peak District.

A short grip show featuring the midwinter menu from 1973 and the midwinter play was presented by Ken Lax. Also a few grips of the midwinter buffet and Anne Brown. Ian Somerton showed photos of some of his woodworking triumphs and a photo of the South Pole Inn in Ireland (Tom Crean).

I read out a few extracts from the Base Diary for the midwinter period which brought back a lot of memories and anecdotes.

The attendees were pre-warned and had a drink handy for the toasts. George had some Shackleton Whisky and Youth also had a bottle of whisky. The rest of us had beer or wine. We raised our glasses and toasted absent friends and also the Loyal Toast, which we took in the naval tradition (i.e. seated).

It was agreed that we will have another virtual midwinter meeting next year as well as our usual meeting in person every two years. The next one is due in 2021 and is being organized by George and will be held in the Salisbury area.

Everyone at the meeting was in good health.

Michael Houlcroft
Michael Houlcroft was our tractor mechanic in 1977 and we were all saddened to learn of his death. He died peacefully in hospital in May 2019, but we only found out about this in July 2020. Bunny was popular on base. He had a great sense of humour and contributed much to the general welfare and morale on the base.

21 June 2020
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