The historic heart of Stanley

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The strong bonds between the Falklands and Britain’s Antarctic operation run deep. Over the decades, hundreds of Antarctic researchers have spent time here on their journeys to or from the frozen continent and Islanders themselves were part of Operation Tabarin, their skills and hardiness paved the way for the many local men who followed in their footsteps.

A great many Falkland Islanders have served their time in Antarctica, whether joining up as Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS - the fore-runner to the British Antarctic Survey) or crewing the research ships, and others have given valuable logistic support from Stanley. Working on the boats was seen as good work for a young man with a taste for adventure and at one stage the entire crew of the RRS John Biscoe - bar the captain - were Islanders.

While the names changed over the years, the arrival in spring of the Royal Research Ships, Shackleton, John Biscoe (I & II) and Bransfield remained a significant event in the local calendar. Today, the James Clarke Ross and Ernest Shackleton continue that tradition.

FIDS / BAS personnel were always welcome and they were usually more than willing to lend their expertise on local projects. Often these young men would lodge with local families while waiting for their ship and they joined in local social activities with enthusiasm. FIDS were immediately recognisable by their unofficial uniform of tartan shirts and walking boots, as well as their cheery smiles. When they returned from ‘Down South’ weeks or months later, a beard had often been added to the ensemble.

Antarctic Heritage