Concept

Operation Tabarin

Summary
Operation Tabarin was the code name for a secret British expedition to the Antarctic during World War Two, operational 1943–46. Conducted by the Admiralty on behalf of the Colonial Office, its primary objective was to strengthen British claims to sovereignty of the British territory of the Falkland Islands Dependencies (FID), to which Argentina and Chile had made counter claims since the outbreak of war. This was done by establishing permanently occupied bases, carrying out administrative activities such as postal services and undertaking scientific research. The meteorological observations made aided Allied shipping in the South Atlantic Ocean. Following Cabinet approval in January 1943, there was an intensive period of planning, recruitment and procurement, before the expedition left the UK in November 1943, led by Lieutenant-Commander James Marr. Two bases were established in early 1944 – firstly, Base B, at Deception Island, South Shetland Islands, and later the main base, Base A, at Port Lockroy, Wiencke Island. A variety of science and mapping work was carried out. 14 men over-wintered in 1944. In the Antarctic summer of 1944/45, Captain Andrew Taylor became leader, following the resignation of Marr due to ill health. A base hut was built on Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands (Base C) but not occupied. Base D, Hope Bay, Trinity Peninsula, was established as the centre for the expedition’s second year. The resupply of the bases included men, supplies and equipment, together with 25 sledge dogs to extend field work on the mainland of the Antarctic Peninsula. A full programme of science and mapping was undertaken. 21 men over-wintered in 1945. The expedition was relieved in March 1946 by members of the newly formed Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS). FIDS had been established in July 1945, following the end of the War in Europe, to put the work started by Operation Tabarin on a permanent footing. In 1962 FIDS was re-named the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), following Britain's ratification of the Antarctic Treaty and the creation of British Antarctic Territory.
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