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British Antarctic Survey Dog Team Sledging on Sea Ice
THE BRITISH ANTARCTIC SLEDGE DOG MEMORIAL FUND
Update November 2007
by Hwfa Jones
It has been just about a year now since a few FIDS got together and decided to do something to record the contribution of British Sledge Dogs to the British Antarctic Survey. With a minimum of fuss, a small team got together. Graham Wright would act as treasurer; Hwfa Jones would do the secretarial work. Richard Harbour kindly offered to liaise with the BAS Club. Publicity was freely given by Andy Smith of Z FIDS, Paul Ward of Cool Antarctica and Sue Hamilton of The Fan Hitch, journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International. Brigid Wainwright and Keith Holmes provided information and research, and there were many others too numerous to name who contacted us with information and help. We had in fact an ad hoc committee of hundreds of FIDS and friends.
The treasurer Graham Wright has recently informed me that the Fund now stands at over £4000. The growth of the Fund to the target of £6,000 and the casting of a full size dog is now certain. We expect to commission the bronze sculpture of a typical British Antarctic Husky early in the new year, 2008, together with a plaque naming all the British Antarctic Dog Teams. As I write this two sculptors are making final adjustments to their drawings and models to take account of the comments from all the FIDS who have made suggestions to improve the early sketches. The sculptors have also looked at hundreds of photographs of dogs to make the bronze as typical as we can remember. It is likely that one of the sculptors will cast the dog and the other the memorial plaque. And we are currently looking at locations in Antarctica to site the memorial and were delighted to accept Chris Rapley's offer kind offer of transportation south when the time comes.
Richard Harbour, treasurer of the BAS Club, offered that another option for the location could be in Cambridge outside the BAS Building. He also suggested that if this option was decided upon, BAS would likely provide the plinth and maintain the statue in perpetuity in a place that admittedly more people would be likely to see it. In the event of this location being selected, I think we should make a series of bronze plaques naming all the dog teams, with an engraving of a typical dog from one of the winning drawings, so that they can be displayed at a number of locations in Antarctica. So the options multiply, but the first job now is to get the commission in progress, with the decision on the location made later.
The Doggy Men, the book written to 'kick-start' the Fund, continues to sell, albeit slowly now, so we had commissioned Mike Skidmore to paint a very detailed and historically accurate scene of a typical BAS dog team pulling a loaded sledge in Antarctica. It is called "British Antarctic Survey Dog Team Sledging on Sea Ice." The painting of the team known as The Hobbits (with Changi at lead) sledging near Halley Bay in 1971 is meticulously accurate and a unique record of dog sledging in British Antarctic Territory. A limited number of beautiful art prints from this painting are being offered at £15 each, which includes postage (sent in protective postal tube) to anywhere. Printed in four-colour litho processed from 'CTP processless' plates, the image is 12½ x 20½ in. (31.75 x 52 cm.) on paper that is 16½ x 23½ in. (42 x 60 cm.). Paper quality is 'Consort Royal' 200g with applied silk textured finish. All proceeds will go to the Fund.
Donations continue to come in from people all over the world and many FIDS have suggested ways to boost the Fund. In addition to the sale of the "British Antarctic Survey Dog Team Sledging on Sea Ice" print, Mike Skidmore generously offered the Fund a portrait of Changi – the lead dog with the Hobbits in the late 60s and early 70s, to be auctioned off. Private bidding began early in the Fall, reaching £250, and from 1st December to the 11th, the bidding was opened to the world on eBay. The Changi painting sold for £275 (about $555 USD) to John Shepherd (Halley Bay 1970-1972), a Fid who knew Changi. John also received a record of Changi's sledging journeys assembled from his dog card and submissions from those who sledged with him all over the Antarctic plateau, sea ice, shelf ice and the Shackleton Mountains.
Donations to the Fund in the form of cheques (UK bank only, please) should be made to "Antarctic Sledge Dog Memorial Fund" and sent to: Graham Wright, Treasurer, 39 Bryn Meadows, Newtown, Powys SY16 2DS, United Kingdom. Please include your postal address and name so donors to the fund can be recorded.
PayPal may also be used for donations, as well as for the purchase of The Doggy Men (minimum £5 each plus postage of £1 per book within the UK, or £2.50 overseas, or for the postage cost of multiple copies, email Graham at email@example.com). The print, "British Antarctic Survey Dog Team Sledging on Sea Ice" can also be purchased by PayPal (used with any credit card) to: Hwfa@googlemail.com. The "British Antarctic Survey Dog Team Sledging on Sea Ice" print is also available from Mike Skidmore's web page: www.antarctic-paintings.com
For progress reports any additional information on the Fund, please continue to visit the web pages on Z Fids, Cool Antarctica and The Fan Hitch or contact Hwfa Jones, 47 Penkett Road. Wallasey, Merseyside CH45 7QG, United Kingdom. Email: Hwfa.firstname.lastname@example.org
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Provisional list of British Antarctic Dog Teams, from 1944 onwards
Compiled by K.D. Holmes, 2 January 2007