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Brian Dorsett-Bailey

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Brian Dorsett-Bailey, who has died aged 79, was a Trustee of the British Antarctic Monument Trust. He was the brother of Jeremy Bailey who died in a crevasse accident in 1965 near the British Antarctic Survey base of Halley Bay. Jeremy was a pioneer in the technology of ice-depth radar which allowed the mapping of the terrain thousands of feet beneath the surface of the snow. 

Brian was particularly instrumental in finding the families of those who had lost relatives in Antarctica and in keeping in touch with them. This meant some detective work, finding our where they had lived or which school they had gone to and then organising articles in the local newspaper about the work of the Trust. This put him in touch with many who like himself had lost brothers and sons. He was particularly good at it and made great friends by showing great empathy. Many, like him, found that the creation of an international monument gave them some sense of closure after many years of mourning.

The Trustees set about designing and building an ambitious monument that was in two parts. One part outside the Scott Polar Research Institute, part of Cambridge University, where Jeremy was carrying out research. The other part was to be constructed in the Falklands – Gateway to the Antarctic. They also negotiated to install a memorial in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral.

In 2011 the memorial in the crypt of St Pauls was dedicated and two days later the monument in Cambridge was unveiled. Brian who had been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer eight weeks before the service in St Pauls was for much of the time in an induced coma following a major operation. Whenever he came round he would ask the date. He was determined not to miss the dedication. In fact he was released from hospital three days before the service and led the prayers from a wheel chair. He always claimed it was his desire to be there that helped him to recover.

It took another four years to raise sufficient funds and to organise the monument in the Falklands. To ensure that there would be a good congregation for the service the Trustees organised a ship to visit the Falklands, South Georgia and then to the Antarctic Peninsula where those who had lost their lives, lived, worked and died. 

The inscription of the memorial in St Pauls and on the monument at Cambridge and the Antarctic  says, “For those who lost their lives in Antarctica in the pursuit of science to benefit us all.” 

Tributes were paid on the voyage to all the men and to Kirsty Brown the one female scientist. Brian’s cousin Graham Morris made a film of the voyage that is available and there is also a commemorative book written by Sandi Rhys Jones. The film was premiered to great acclaim at the Royal Geographical Society in June 2017.

Since then the work of the Trust has continued and Brian given many talks about the Antarctic to U3A and other groups locally. 

The Trust was a major part of his life for twelve years and he took great comfort from the work seeing it as a fitting memorial to his brother’s pioneering achievements.

Brian had a long career in the financial sector of the construction industry. He was devoted to many social activities including the church, scouting, amateur dramatics and later the University of the Third Age. He leaves his wife Sandra and their combined family of seven children and their children.

The funeral will take place at 12.00 Monday 19 November at  Garston Crematorium (West Herts Crematorium) High Elms Lane Garston, Watford WD25 OJS https://www.westhertscrem.org/

The funeral will be followed by a service at 13.30 at  Leavesden Road Baptist Church, Leavesden Road, Watford WD24 5ER http://www.lrbc-watford.org.uk/

After the service there will be refreshments in the Church Hall.

The image was taken at Rothera in the Antarctic on the South 2015 Voyage.  Brian Dorsett-Bailey is seen with Kirsty Brown’s quilt, made by her mother.

His Facebook page is here https://www.facebook.com/brian.dorsettbailey

Rod Rhys Jones

Chairman British Antarctic Monument Trust

6 November 2018.

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