Antarctic tiles

The Diaries and Letters

Mertz & I …
The Antarctic Diary of Belgrave Edward Sutton Ninnis

Edited by Allan Mornement & Beau Riffenburgh

The Antarctic Diary of Belgrave Edward Sutton Ninnis

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On the afternoon of 10 November 1912, the Far Eastern Party, consisting of three men and seventeen dogs set off on a sledging trip. The men were Douglas Mawson, Xavier Mertz and Belgrave Ninnis. Two of these men tragically died, and only the leader, Douglas Mawson, returned after what has been described as ‘the greatest survival story in the history of exploration’. Belgrave Edward Sutton Ninnis was born on 22 June 1887. His father had sailed as ship’s surgeon on Discovery on the 1875–76 British Arctic Expedition led by Captain George Nares. It is evident from his diary that the young Ninnis was determined to follow in his father’s steps as a polar explorer though he had enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers. Whilst serving in Africa and Mauritius he made continuous efforts to obtain a position on Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition, but without luck.

Finally he felt he had to return to England on leave to seek interviews with Scott. Inside the diary is the story of a young man and his determined and ultimately successful attempt to become a polar explorer. It is a continuous record, from March 1908 to the final entry on 9 November 1912, though this book concentrates on his Antarctic endeavours. It is also the story of a fairly self-opinionated and arrogant young man who came to be liked and admired by his comrades. From the period of his acceptance on the expedition he focused on the enormity of the challenge ahead, and the diary provides a detailed record of the preparations, the voyage and the expedition itself.

Ninnis forged a strong bond with Xavier Mertz, who was 28, a graduate of Leipzig and Basel universities. He was also a champion skier, which was one of the reasons why Mawson had selected him. The story of Mawson’s epic fight to survive is well known – the story of the other two men is not. 

Hardback, jacketed, 456pp +8pp colour & 16pp b&w plates. Over 110 drawings, illustrations and maps. £35.00 REDUCED TO £25.00  Order

The Shackleton Letters

Behind the Scenes of the Nimrod Expedition

Regina W Daly

The Shackleton Letters

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Behind the Scenes of the Nimrod Expedition

Ernest Shackleton was obsessed by the Antarctic. He had written to his sister saying ‘You can’t think what it is like to walk over places where no man has walked before.’ He was disappointed at his showing during Scott’s Discovery Expedition—he had collapsed and spent much of the time as a passenger - and possibly felt that Scott had to a degree blamed him for the ultimate failure of the expedition.

He wanted to be first to the South Pole, partly for the glory but also because he felt he had to redeem himself after Scott sent him back on the relief ship in 1903, because of his “ill health”.

Raising the money for another expedition was fraught with difficulties but in 1907 he finally set sail, aboard the Nimrod .

Here, gathered together for the first time, are 156 letters and telegrams exploring the inner thoughts of an heroic man with far-reaching dreams. His emotions are revealed through personal correspondence with Scott, Dr. Edward Wilson, Sir Clements Markham and many others. They give an insight not only into the mind and character of this great explorer but into the internal politics of the time. 

The author details the history leading up to the expedition, through the trials of the year on the ice and the various journeys and then the return to England and the reception they received from the public, the press and such as the Royal Geographic Society.

Correspondence covering the dismissal of Captain England, Shackleton’s ‘bequests’ in the event of his non-return from his attempt to reach the Pole and his worries about the financial situation are included and the last section of the book reproduces Shackleton’s intimate letters to his wife, Emily, and to Elspeth Beardmore, for whom he had a deep affection. 

368pp, 235 x 165mm. Over 40 photographs and illustrations; pull-out map of Explorations and Surveys of the Expedition (440 x 430mm)

a) Hard-back, jacketed, blocked on spine. Limited edition of 450 copies individually numbered and signed by the author £27.50  REDUCED TO £15.50  Order

b) Printed paper case, 70mm flaps £15.00 REDUCED TO £10.00  Order

8 men in a crate - The Ordeal of the Advance Party of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1955–1957
Anthea Arnold. Based on the diaries of Rainer Goldsmith

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Once the pole had been ‘conquered’ by Amundsen and Scott the next great journey was the crossing of the Antarctic continent, first attempted by Filchner in 1912 and then by Shackleton in 1914. As part of the International Geographical Year the Trans-Antarctic Expedition was set up with Vivian Fuchs in charge. He would start from a base on the Weddell Sea and after reaching the Pole, continue to the Ross Sea using supply depots laid by a New Zealand team working from McMurdo and led by the conqueror of Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary. In January 1956 an advance party of eight men was left at Shackleton base to build accommodation, explore and lay depots to ease the passage of Fuchs’s team the following year.

The achievement of this expedition still resonates today but the near-death experience of the Advance Party at Shackleton Base has been largely forgotten. The eight men left behind only just survived in a dreadful Antarctic winter, living by day in a sno-cat crate and sleeping in tents at night while trying to erect a poorly designed hut with inadequate manpower and equipment. The loss of much of their stores put their survival on a knife-edge.

This account, based on the diary of the young medical officer, shows how close to disaster they came and how lucky they were to survive. Fuchs later admitted that apart from Scott’s marooned Northern Party theirs was the most severe ordeal in the history of Antarctic exploration.
144pp 16pp colour pictures, 50 photographs, paperback £12.75  REDUCED TO £10.00   Order

In the Teeth of the Wind

South through the Pole
Alain Hubert & Dixie Dansercoer

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In November 1997 two Belgian explorers crossed the Antarctic continent from the Wedell Sea to the Ross Sea on foot. . From Dronning Maud Land Alain Hubert and Dixie Dansercoer travelled for 99 days until they reached the American base at McMurdo Sound, some 3920 kilometres away.

They carried in the sledges all the supplies needed for the journey as well as scientific equipment necessary for taking ice-core samples from snows where no human had ever set foot. 

By using traction sails, specially designed for the expedition, they set many records, managing on some days to clock up distances of over 100 kilometres at amazing speeds.

This full colour book contains over 90 pictures of their trip, many maps and drawings as well as technical details of the sails and their supplies, extraordinary journey across this most inhospitable of continents...full of danger and excitement. The pictures illustrate the trials of the journey and the awesome beauty of... Antarctica.

224pp, 254 x 195mm hardback. jacketed, full colour throughout £24.95 REDUCED TO £10.00  Order

Elephant Island and Beyond:
The Life and Diaries of Thomas Orde Lees
John Thomson

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The aristocracy of Antarctic exploration does not include the name of Thomas Orde Hans Lees. He came away from Shackleton’s 1914 expedition with the reputation of being the least popular and most criticised of the men involved in the Endurance adventure in the Weddell Sea. Not only was he disliked simply for being himself, but he was also expected to become the first victim for cannibalism if the 22 men on Elephant Island had run out of food. Previous accounts of Shackleton’s adventures have unfailingly mentioned that Orde Lees was unpopular. Though they have plundered his excellent journal for much of the detail of life on board the Endurance, on the pack ice and finally on Elephant Island, the part he played in keeping the men alive has not been recognised. His journal has - surprisingly - never been published and this book is a long overdue testament to a much misunderstood man. 

After his rescue from Elephant Island, Orde Lees campaigned vigorously for the use of parachutes in the newly formed Royal Air Force and he was publicly credited with being the primary advocate. Many pilots owe their lives to his faith in this new invention. He went on to perform more service for his country in Japan and spent the final period of his life in New Zealand. 

The book includes many previously unpublished photographs as well as a detailed account of his quite extraordinary life after Antarctica.

320pp, 254 x 195mm, hardback, jacketed, 0ver 40 photographs and drawings £24.95 REDUCED TO £15.00  Order

The Wicked Mate
The Antarctic Diary of Victor Campbell
Edited by H.G.R. King

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History has rarely accorded as much attention to a single expedition as that given to the British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition 1910-13 led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott. The death of the Pole party and the success of Amundsen and his men has always been the main focus of interest. But what of the rest of the men?

In 1910 Scott sent six men, the Northern party, under the command of Lieutenant Victor Campbell, to explore along the coast of King Edward VII Land. After a successful ten months at Cape Adare they moved to Inexpressible Island, as stormy and desolate a place as could be found anywhere on the planet. The failure of the relief ship to collect them at the end of the summer left them marooned with no hut and little food. Campbell kept all the men alive through the winter in a snow cave, 12’ x 9’. He drew an imaginary line down the middle of the cave. One side represented the officer’s wardroom, the other the men’s mess deck and such was the discipline that the enlisted men could say what they wanted on their side of the line, as could the officers on theirs. Each group turned a deaf ear to the other. 

After the winter, in October 1912, Campbell led them over 230 miles of sea ice back to the base at Cape Evans, only to learn of the fate of Captain Scott and the Pole party.
The death of Scott overshadowed Campbell’s achievements, which easily rank with Shackleton’s epic journey two years later.

Its focus is a saga of endurance that should be counted
among the most famous exploits in Polar history

192pp, 254 x 195mm, hardback, jacketed, over 75 photographs and illustrations £24.95 REDUCED TO £15.00 Order

Trial by Ice - The Antarctic Journals of John King Davis - edited by Louise Crossley

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John King Davis was arguably the greatest of the captains in the age of Antarctic exploration, and he was obsessed with the Antarctic. His seven voyages from 1907 to 1930 gave him an unrivalled experience in ice navigation. Known by his crew as 'Gloomy Davis' he believed in stern discipline and that it was the captain, not the expedition leader, who was in charge of the ship. His caution and pessimism often brought him into conflict with the expedition leaders such as Douglas Mawson. Taken from his private journals, here for the first time is davis's account of the major Antarctic voyages. It offers an interesting counterpoint to the diaries of mason and it gives a very personal view of Davis's feelings about the frozen continent that dominated so much of his life.

This book is ... valuable as a source for the history of the "Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration during the first two decades of the twentieth century. The authors are to be congratulated on providing another new source for students of Antarctic exploration
Ann Savours Mariner's Mirror

248pp, 248 x 190mm, hardback, jacketed, illustrated £29.95 REDUCED TO £15.00 Order

By popular demand we have reprinted two Polar titles. 

Tales Told at Tea Time
Frank Debenham

Edited by Barbara Debenham

Stories of Scott’s Last Expedition

Frank Debenham
With illustrations by Edward Wilson and the author

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Frank Debenham was a member of the scientific staff on Scott’s 1910 expedition. He conceived the idea for a Polar Institute whilst sitting in Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds and after the death of the polar party he campaigned for a living memorial to Scott. On 26th November 1920 the Scott Polar Research Institute came into being and Frank Debenham was its first director.

When he returned from the Antarctic in 1913 he resolved not to publish any reminiscences but at the urging of many friends he published, in 1952, IN THE ANTARCTIC which deals chiefly with the three years he spent there. The book has extensive illustrations which the author hopes ‘...may convey something of the spirit of harmony which reigned in that crammed but cosy hut forty years ago’.

IN THE ARCTIC, which was first published in 1997, was written in Deb’s retirement as his way of remembering some of the people—explorers, staff, research students—who passed through his tenure as a Director of SPRI. These delightful stories are a mixture of facts and fantasy, some poignant, some amusing but all delightful. 

IN THE ARCTIC - 144pp, hardback, blocked on front and spine; over 30 photographs and illustrations £15.00  REDUCED TO £10.00

IN THE ANTARCTIC— 152pp, hardback, with printed end-papers and blocked on front and spine; over 60 illustrations £15.00   REDUCED TO £10.00

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