Sunday, May 30, 2010

Falkland Islands - Fourth International Polar Year


The Fourth International Polar Year was launched in March 2007 and runs to March 2009 to allow for two field seasons at both Poles. Falkland Islands released a set of four postage stamps depicting four famous polar explorers.
More than sixty nations are undertaking projects to examine physical, biological and social research topics in both the Arctic and the Antarctic. For many years the Falkland Islands were a staging post and winter quarters for that brave band of explorers and discoverers who were fascinated by the Antarctic and who either wanted to expand mankind's knowledge, expand their countries territorial claims, or to reach the remote South Pole.
Although the first Polar Year was inaugurated in 1882, the Post Office of the Falkland Islands feels it appropriate to include some of those inquiring minds that had journeyed into the great unknown from early times.

4p James Weddell (1787-1834)

Having moved from the Royal Navy to the Merchant Service James Weddell persuaded ship owner James Strachan to allow him command a sealing expedition to the South Shetland Islands. This was not a financial success but a second voyage was planned in 1822 and James Weddell set sail in Jane accompanied by the Beaufoy in an attempt not only to catch seals, but to expand mankind's knowledge of the Antarctic

25p James Clark Ross (1800-1862)

The nephew of Sir John Ross, James joined the Royal Navy at the age of eleven. In 1818 he joined his uncle on a controversial voyage in search of the Northwest Passage. After various voyages to the Arctic he accompanied his uncle on a further Northwest Passage Expedition (1829-33), this time as second-in-command. In 1831 he reached the North Magnetic Pole.
In September 1839 he began his voyage to the Antarctic aboard the ships Erebus and Terror to explore and to locate the South Magnetic Pole. On New Year's Day they crossed the Antarctic Circle and on 9 January they discovered what is now known as the Ross Sea and named the Admiralty Range. On 28 January 1841 he discovered a high island calling its two volcanic peaks 'Erebus' and 'Terror'. James Clark Ross's exploration of both the Arctic and Antarctic fits perfectly with the concept of International Polar Year and its interest in both Poles.

85p William Spiers Bruce (1867-1921)

A Scottish oceanographer, William Spiers Bruce sailed to the Antarctic on several occasions via the Falkland Islands. After declining an invitation to join Scott on the Discovery expedition, he went on to lead the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (1902-4), aboard Scotia. This undertook the first oceanographic exploration of the Weddell Sea. Scotia wintered at Laurie Island, South Orkney Islands where meteorological observations began on 26 March 1903. The observatory, 'Omond House was transferred to Argentina through the British Embassy in February 1904. This lonely outpost is the oldest continuously manned meteorological observatory in Antarctica. The ruins of Omond House remain, now a historic site declared under the Antarctic Treaty. William Spiers Bruce was a quiet, private man with his only passion being that of his scientific studies. He died in 1921 after a long illness and his ashes were strewn over the Scotia Sea.

161p James William Slessor Marr (1902-1965)

James Marr had a long and distinguished history of association with both Falkland Islands and the Antarctic. Perhaps best known as Scout Marr, the young James was one of 1,700 Boy Scouts who entered a competition supported by the Daily Mail to join Sir Ernest Shackleton on what turned to be his last journey to the Antarctic. James Marr, with another Scout Norman Mooney who suffered from seasickness and had to leave at Madeira, were chosen to join the Quest Expedition, which left London in September 1921.
Quest with James Marr reached South Georgia where to the shock of all aboard, Sir Ernest Shackleton died from a heart attack at the age of 47 on 5 January 1922. Upon his return to the UK, James Marr published his logbook under the title 'Into the Frozen South' and went on to complete his degree at University, returning to the Antarctic on numerous occasions aboard William Scoresby and Discovery II. During this he specialized in marine biology and eventually wrote the definitive study on Krill. He was biologist during the two British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expeditions led by Sir Douglas Mawson.

Postage stamps in detail

Issue: Falkland Islands, 7 April 2008
Designer: Andrew Robinson
Print: Lithography by Joh. Enschede Security Print
Perforation: 12.58 per 2cms
Stamp size: 28.45 x 42.58mm
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