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Icy Graves - new account of those lost

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Written by the historian Stephen Haddelsey Icy Graves points to our more recent understanding of the effects of the cold, blizzards, ice-blink and white-out on human physiology and psychology to reinterpet these earlier deaths. Did Scott’s open sleeping bag and arm thrown over Edward Wilson show that he was suffering from the final stages of hypothermia, the stage in which paradoxically sufferers cast off their clothes?

The incidence of death was high in the Heroic years, defined by Haddelsey as 1895 – 1922. He says that of the 664 men from all nations who were in the Antarctic during these years nineteen died: that is a one in 30 chance of death. In the decades after the first permanent Antarctic base was built by the British the chance of death were very little different.

Each of the Antarctic deaths in Icy Graves has its own personal story of endurance, circumstance, risk and bad luck. Considering there was little or no training in ice craft and knowledge of this hostile environment was passed from year to year by those with experience from the previous year it is surprising that more did not die. As Sir Ranulph Fienes says in a quote on the cover one is "both appalled at the losses, and amazed that the exploration of Antractica has not claimed even more lives."

Haddelsey analyses the risks these explorers took. He questions and finds answers to the enigma of whether these explorers were irresponsible risk takers or methodical men making careful preparations for expeditions, knowing the risks and being caught out by ill-luck.

Icy Graves is a fascinating, erudite un-put-downable story about a period in Antarctic exploration that needs to be heard. Read it.

Friday, August 3rd 2018

Revamped website for the British Antarctic Monument Trust

Below the banner of a perfect Antarctic day photographed by Ivor Morgan on the South 2015 Expedition is our new website. Thanks to the design team at Plexus at Cromarty and the inspiration of Graeme Wilson and the Trustees, the site is colour coded to the Antarctic sky and Emperor Penguins. The Tru… Full Story...
Monday, March 12th 2018

Update February 2018 published

500 copies of our Update have been sent to supporters.   A copy is available to view here. Full Story...
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