Antarctic Sledge Dog Memorial Fund
How to donate
From a recent article in the Telegraph saluting Wally Herbert as the first to the North Pole it is evident that the public has almost completely forgotten that the true 'first to the Poles' were not those now listed in the history books but the sledge dogs that dragged the loads and our heroes to glory. To the South, neither Amundsen nor Scott (who used dogs to lay so many of his depots) would have reached the South Pole without them. [See also letter to the Daily Telegraph - ed.]
In the early days these magnificent animals were often treated abominably. They were beaten, starved, slaughtered and even eaten. As late as 1973 hundreds of dogs were ordered to be shot in Antarctica for 'environmental reasons' by tearful dog drivers. Coincidentally the new world of exploration by aircraft and snowmobiles was being embraced at that time.
British sledge drivers treated their dogs well and had a great affection for them tinged with some guilt.
At the recent 'Z Fids' Reunion I was touched by the stories so many Fids told me of their experiences with their dogs and many had felt guilty of being harsh with them, perhaps not relating this to the great stress they were under in sometimes 'life threatening' situations. Certainly there was to my knowledge never a case of any Fid refusing to travel and yet the danger of crevasses / sea ice/ blizzards / exposure was very real and in many cases initially an absolute shock to many young men who had never seen even a glacier before. Others were adamant that the mass shootings in 1973 (over 100 dogs and pups) at Stonington (and sometimes even to dogs in the field by their drivers at the end of long field trips) was a disgrace that had long been 'kept quiet'
Virtually all of British Antarctic Territory was surveyed and mapped by scientists working as teams with dogs which are now banned from the continent forever.
The Antarctic Sledge Dog Memorial Fund has been set up by men of the British Antarctic Survey (The Fids) to mark the outstanding contribution of our polar dogs to exploration. More than 100 people have contributed so far. From comments at the recent reunion the most popular option is likely to be a Bronze statue, of a typical strong shouldered 'British Husky'. The cost from one sculptor at Lakeland Creations is estimated at £3,500 to £5,000. We should perhaps have a target of £6000 and there could even be a competition for the design.
Type of memorial
Getting it there.I guess it would be nice to have the dog (if it is a dog) on display in the UK then see it sail down, visiting the bases before being set at the chosen location by Fids down there. Chris has got the ships! I guess this would result in quite a lot of publicity so all the Fids would get to hear about it.
This memorial is important to so many individual 'Fids'. As a country it's about time we joined so many other nations in Antarctica in remembering the contribution of our sledge dogs.
Graham Wright, Treasurer
Postage £1 per book
or the actual postage cost if you require more than 1 copy - email Graham
or estimate this and send enough to cover postage.
Cheques should be to "The Sledge Dog Memorial Fund". Please include your
postal address and name so donors to the fund can be listed.
For any additional information on the fund please continue to look at the
pages on 'Z Fids' or contact:-
Paypal payments (easier for overseas Fids) for the book or donations should
be sent to email@example.com
Graham Wright, Treasurer
Postage £1 per book or the actual postage cost if you require more than 1 copy - email Graham or estimate this and send enough to cover postage.
Cheques should be to "The Sledge Dog Memorial Fund". Please include your postal address and name so donors to the fund can be listed.
For any additional information on the fund please continue to look at the pages on 'Z Fids' or contact:-
Paypal payments (easier for overseas Fids) for the book or donations should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org