Deception Island and Port Lockroy

Leaving the Falkland Islands on 29 January aboard two ships, the William Scoresby and Fitzroy, they arrived at Deception Island on 3 February. Finding the abandoned Magistrates building and two of the whaler’s dormitories still habitable, the unloading of supplies and setting up of Base B began immediately. By 6 February, all supplies were unloaded and, with additional material from the abandoned whaler’s station loaded onboard, the ships left the five man team and set off for Hope Bay.

Arrival at Port Lockroy

Arriving at Hope Bay on 7 February, Marr and some of his men scouted the area and found it to be more than satisfactory for the establishment of the main operation’s base. However, sea ice conditions prevented the unloading of stores and the ships were forced to move on and find another site. After being hampered by bad weather, on 11 February Marr made the decision to head to the nearest point of safe anchorage with an area large enough to accommodate the huts - Port Lockroy. Whilst disappointed in their failure to land at Hope Bay, especially due to Port Lockroy’s limited access to the mainland for survey work, the party did find evidence of Primero de Mayo’s visit to the harbour and so could rest assured that a base at Port Lockroy satisfied their mission to reinforce Britain’s territorial claims in the area.

Goudier Island

After surveying the area, Goudier Island was chosen as the site for the new base, stores began to be unloaded and construction of the Boulton and Paul hut began. On 17 February 1944 the two ships set sail, leaving the nine-man team to complete the setting up of Base A at Port Lockroy. Building work, including two extensions to Bransfield House (named after Edward Bransfield who commanded the expedition that discovered the Antarctic Peninsula in 1820), continued until the end of April. On 23rd March, the Post Office was opened just in time for post to be taken by the visiting ship Scoresby.

Scientific Research

With Base A and B set up, the men were kept busy with their day to day duties of surviving in Antarctica alongside their scientific research. At Deception Island, whilst sledging work was hampered by the volcanic nature of the island, making ice conditions unpredictable, the men managed to carry out some survey work, and had collected geological specimens and studied the movement of glaciers. At Port Lockroy, research included near-continuous meteorological readings, survey by boat and sledge, and zoological and botanical surveys which included the collection of samples and an attempt to grow various plants using soil shipped from the Falkland Islands.

Port Lockroy

Find out more about Port Lockroy and the work carried out there.

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