View Full Version : Antarctic Auster 7's

norman atkinson
2nd May 2007, 20:29
I read with interest the now closed contribution on the above.
What surprised me was that there is no feed back about S/Ldr Brian Walford, F/Lt Tudor's two Austers that went to QueenMaudland in 1949 on 'Norsel' There is a story, in fact several stories, of the expedition which do not add up. Walford wrote of helicopters instead of the converted Austers but Walford couldn't fly one and the first to come to the UK came on USS Missouri and into RAF Hendon- where the 'practice' Austers were stationed.

Again, a Norwegian pilot and Polar explorer called Riiser Larsen was involved. He certainly appeared after 1949 part and his wartime career remains a mystery.

Can anyone fill in some of the jigsaw?

Norman Atkinson

3rd May 2007, 06:23
Surely the Auster 'Antarctic' was used for the IGY (International Geophysical Year) of 1957/58. I seem to remember TV footage of working up in Norway where one of them 'piled up', no-one hurt though.

3rd May 2007, 08:13
How many Auster "Antarctic" aircraft were there? Here's a pic I snapped at Cosford of WE600:
Now I'm pretty sure I saw that at some exhibition in London many, many years ago, but I have no record of that event.

henry crun
3rd May 2007, 08:43
See also this thread for further info and mention of the RNZAF Antartic Auster.

3rd May 2007, 09:33
Thanks hen.. I wonder if any of the people in that other thread, or on this one, know John Ayres? He was ex-Antarctica and an instructor at Kidlington when I served time there in 1971..

3rd May 2007, 09:43
Just found one of my old log books. I first saw WE600 at a Wings Day Exhibition at Horse Guards Parade in September 1958!!! (I'm not really that old - must have been in a previous life).

henry crun
3rd May 2007, 10:11
This is the only pic I can find of the RNZAF Auster

3rd May 2007, 11:12
My Airfix version (c1960) was in yellow plastic, so I'm not sure if it was the Cosford one or the RNZAF one; I seem to remember the serial no was WE600 though.

norman atkinson
3rd May 2007, 11:47
I am indebted for your interest and contributions.
No, I am merely a former 'erk' but was responsible at RAF Hendon- 31 Squadron for helping out the RAF Antarctic Flight who came in with 2 Austers shortly after 21st April 1949. As you will deduce, some of my earlier comments could only be obtained first hand.

Forgive me- as a 76 + Year old fart, but I did write up the Expedition in 31's Star News but I found later that the RAF were apparently there long before. That Nazis were mudered in Queen Maudland by Brits and a Norwegian but during- or after the end of the War. Maudheim was the base for the 1949 do and Nosel was the 600 ton ex-German tug.
The 2 Austers went out on Norsel. One was crated on deck and one on the rear deck. The uncrated one got damaged en route and Sgt Gilbey(?) sewed it back together.

The Norwegian- if it all be true- could only have been an expert explorer and Larsen- comes to mind. Right age, right training etc.

Larsen was my 'boss' on a Norwegian Red Cross Mountain Rescue and Survival Course prior to his death.

Does it all fit? Nice to find out.

India Four Two
3rd May 2007, 15:26
I have a wonderful book called "Gateway to the Ice" that I bought in Christchurch Airport a couple of years ago. It starts in 1955, so doesn't cover Norman's Austers, but there are a couple of interesting pictures of NZ1707/WE563:

Fitting skiis at Wigram August 1956

Training Accident on the Tasman Glacier August 1956

Anyone interested in Antarctic aviation should get this book by searching for Antarctic Shop Christchurch


norman atkinson
3rd May 2007, 16:48
Correction- the needle and thread guy was Sgt Jim Weston- Fitter1

I can't get my head around this Antarctic thing because the Beeb has reported a Post Office. This is OK, I suppose but there is a story of Icemen, Dornier Wal flying boats, U-Boats full of mercury, explosions and a bunch of Commandos which wiped out a German base is Biggles stuff.
When a further bit of the story reports that the RAF overflew the Antarctic during the War-- and got there before Admiral Byrd- who had briefed the Germans, even I am rushing to sign the Pledge!

Of course, the RAF have just admitted that it had something called Air Ministry Book Production and Distribution Unit at RAF Hendon-- at the same time as my version of the Antarctic thing was going on. One former RAF Group Captain is still unsure of my sanity when I said that he learned Norwegian when living in Hendon's old Airmens Married Quarters where this had gone on. Does anyone know what Form SD13 is? It is not a RAF form!

Enough for the day? No doubt, real historians will appear- with obligatory white coats and blue flashing lights- and a straight jacket.