The Fan Hitch Volume 11, Number 3, June 2009

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International
In This Issue....

From the Editor: A Virtual Fan Hitch

Inuit Sled Dogs Achieve Distinguished Visibility

Sledge Dog Memorial Fund Update

New Resource of Polar Exploration Images

In Passing: Remembering Kevin Walton


Book Review: Huskies/My Friends, the Huskies

Evolutionary Changes in Domesticated Dogs:
The Broken Covenant of the Wild, Part 2

Behavior Notebook:
Comparative Behavior Studies in The Netherlands


In the News

Canadian Animal Assistance Team's
2009 Northern Clinics


The Chinook Project's Early Start on Veterinary Clinics


IMHO: Why Inuit Dogs?


Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch


Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

ISDI home page


Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor-in-Chief: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
Print Edition: Imaged and distributed by the IPL students of the Ulluriaq School, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at: http://thefanhitch.org.

Print subscriptions: in Canada $20.00, in USA $23.00, elsewhere $32.00 per year, postage included. All prices are in Canadian dollars. Make checks payable in Canadian dollars only to "Mark Brazeau", and send to Mark Brazeau, Box 151 Kangiqsualujjuaq QC J0M 1N0 Canada. (Back issues are also available. Contact Sue Hamilton.)


The Fan Hitch
welcomes your letters, stories, comments and suggestions. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.


Contents of The Fan Hitch are protected by international copyright laws. No photo, drawing or text may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Webmasters please note: written consent is necessary before linking this site to yours! Please forward requests to Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Rd., Harwinton, Connecticut  06791, USA or mail@thefanhitch.org


The Inuit Sled Dog International

The Inuit Sled Dog International (ISDI) is a consortium of enthusiasts whose goal is the preservation of this ancient arctic breed in its purest form as a working dog. The ISDI's efforts are concentrated on restoring the pure Inuit Dog to its native habitat. The ISDI's coordinators welcome to your comments and questions.

ISDI Coordinator Canada:
Geneviève Montcombroux, Box 206, Inwood, MB R0C 1P0; gmontcombroux@gmail.com
ISDI Coordinator USA:
Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, mail@thefanhitch.org
In Passing....


Kevin Walton                   photo: G. Montcombroux, 2005

E. W. Kevin Walton
May 15, 1918 – April 13, 2008


by Geneviève Montcombroux


Eric William Kevin Walton was born in Kobe, Japan, the son of a missionary, Murray Walton and his wife Myra (née Hebbert). He spent his early years in Japan before being sent to study in England at Monkton Combe School, then at Imperial College London where he trained as a civil engineer. An officer in the Royal Navy during WWII, he served on HMS Rodney, one of the ships that sank the Bismarck.

Subsequently, he worked for the British Antarctic Survey from 1945 to 1948 (then known as the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey). He holds the George Cross (Albert Medal) for a crevasse rescue. Part of a four-man team seeking a dog sled route, Major John Tonkin was walking ahead of the dog team when he fell into a crevasse. Kevin Walton, an experienced mountaineer, volunteered to be lowered into the crevasse to rescue Major Tonkin, as described in the following citation which was published in the London Gazette on 8 June 1948:

"Whitehall, May 28, 1948:

The KING has been pleased to award the Albert Medal to Temporary Lieutenant (E) Eric William Kevin Walton, D.S.C., R.N., a member of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey, in recognition of his gallantry in the following circumstances:

At about 12 noon on 24th August, 1946, while on a sledding journey, a member of the Survey fell through a badly-bridged crevasse and disappeared. Major Tonkin had fallen some forty feet and was jammed in a narrow part of the crevasse. Ropes were lowered to him and he managed to get loops round his forearms, but could get no higher, and it was found impossible to pull him out as he was jammed in the ice. Lieutenant Walton volunteered to be lowered in the crevasse to free Major Tonkin by chipping away the ice. Because an ice axe could not be used in the constricted space of the crevasse, the spike was sawn off and used as a hand tool. Lieutenant Walton was lowered down a wider part of the crevasse and worked his way along until he reached and succeeded in freeing Major Tonkin, who was eventually pulled to the surface, after having been three hours in the crevasse. During that time. Lieutenant Walton was lowered down to him on five separate occasions, remaining there for considerable periods on each occasion. His persistence was most commendable, and it was due solely to his efforts that Major Tonkin was finally rescued."

During a mission to South Georgia, Kevin made an even more dangerous rescue saving a geologist who had fallen into a crevasse and was jammed 200 feet down. For this Kevin received the Queen's Commendation on his return to England.

Kevin also was awarded the Polar Medal with Antarctic clasp, 1946-47, and the Distinguished Service Cross. 

After leaving the Navy, Kevin taught engineering, became an instructor at the Outward Bound School in Eskdale, England, and later a schoolteacher and a consulting and site engineer. Kevin also served as British Secretary of the International Antarctic Expedition and kept Inuit dogs in the gardens of the Royal Geographical Society in London during his tenure.

He wrote Two Years in Antarctica (Knell Press, 1982) and contributed to Portrait of Antarctica with Jonathan Walton, 1983; Of Dogs and Men with Rick Atkinson, 1996.

Kevin was married to Ruth Yule and they lived in Malvern, Worcestershire England. They have one son and three daughters. Mount Walton in British Graham Land, Antarctica commemorates this man of great charm and modesty.


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