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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Undercover in the Antarctic, 9 Jun. 2014
By 
N. BARTLETT (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Operation Tabarin: Britain's Secret Wartime Expedition to Antarctica 1944-46 (Hardcover)
A little known episode during the 1939-45 War was the setting up of British bases in the Antarctic to frustrate any attempt by the Germany Navy and, more distantly, the Japanese Navy to set up safe hiding places and refuelling points for surface raiders and U-boats. There was also a secondary purpose in pre-empting any attempt by Argentina to make claim to the territory of parts of the Antarctic - designated Falklands Islands Dependencies - that the UK had already staked out.
This endeavour was Operation Tabarin, named after a Parisian night club. The whole expedition was done on a shoestring because of lack of shipping resources and some lack of enthusiasm from the Foreign Office that did not want to upset the Argentinians. Eventually a small expeditionary force was formed, sailed to the Antarctic, set up bases and overwintered for two seasons.
This book tells the story in impressive detail. It starts with a prologue that is a word picture of the departure of the expeditionary force from the Falklands on 29 January 1944. The narrative starts with suspicions by the Admiralty early in the war, about clandestine German bases in Antarctic waters. It goes on to set out the steps to take action and people recruited to carry things out. The book is based largely on the accounts of those involved who had long hours to write up journals and reports. This reviewer never ceases to be amazed that men are prepared to endure such appalling weather and living conditions on a voluntary basis. But men did and sometimes went back again and again.
The book reads well and the text is supported by some specially drawn maps to explain the finer details of where the bases were set up. I found the details of the two explorations by dog sled that were undertaken to be a bit overbearing. There was plenty about the weather which, even when it was fine, was pretty awful to my taste. Stupendous scenery would not offset privation, exhaustion and the risk of death.
As the war was won in Europe and then Asia, the base parties had to remind the authorities of their presence before the winter set in so they could be recovered. Operation Tabarin successfully concluded, the return to London was very low key in contrast to the explorers of the Heroic Age some 40 years earlier. Nevertheless what had been achieved spawned the British Antarctic Survey and the subsequent scientific development in the area. A foreword by the Princess Royal makes this achievement very clear.
There are a number of black & white photographs, comprehensive chapter notes, an index and a bibliography.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The review by a past Master on the Royal Research Ships of the British Antarctic Survey, 9 May 2014
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This review is from: Operation Tabarin: Britain's Secret Wartime Expedition to Antarctica 1944-46 (Hardcover)
Having worked for the British Antarctic Survey from 1970 to 2003, and having always been an avid reader of Polar history I was very pleased when I came across Operation Tabarin by Stephen Haddelsey, especially as it was produced to coincide with the 70th Anniversary of that most important event in the history of the Britain's involvement in Antarctic science. This is an extremely well wriitten account of how what started as a political desire to deny Hitler's Navy safe havens in the Southern Ocean and to re-establish Britain's territorial claim to the Antarctic Peninsula, but rapidly developed into a British scientific programme in Antarctica which became the forbear of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey and then the British Antarctic Survey's scientific programmes that today are recognised bt peer groups as some of the finest Polar Research. The narratives of those that served on the three Bases of Operation Tabarin are truly evocative of those beginnings, together with the accounts of the rather poor management of those early days went on to become one Britains finest research establishments. I recommend this book to all, not soley those with a leaning towards Polar history for its accurate portrayal of life 70 years ago.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read for Everyone Interested in Antarctic History, 28 July 2014
By 
Alan T. Wiffen (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Operation Tabarin: Britain's Secret Wartime Expedition to Antarctica 1944-46 (Hardcover)
Excellent book with an in-depth study of this amazing enterprise launched by the British government in 1943 in the middle of World War 2. The attention to detail is fantastic and for all those interested in Antarctic history it is a must read. I have studied Operation Tabarin for the past 8 years through various sources but this book pulls everything together in one amazing story. Stephen Haddelsey style makes the book read like a novel and I can not recommend it too highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reading about the early days of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey, 10 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Operation Tabarin: Britain's Secret Wartime Expedition to Antarctica 1944-46 (Hardcover)
Excellent reading especially like myself who was closely associated with the Antarctic Bases in the later days of FIDS at Deception Island, Hope Bay and Port Lockroy and the early days of the British Antarctic Survey.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 24 April 2015
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This review is from: Operation Tabarin: Britain's Secret Wartime Expedition to Antarctica 1944-46 (Hardcover)
A fantastic account of a lesser known wartime exploit. The story shows how difficult it was for the men to work and survive in such challenging conditions. When I was reading the book I kept visualising what it must have been like for the men in question. I've read a lot about one of the team, Jock Matheson, and his exploits and this was one piece of his Antarctic life that I was unfamiliar with. This would make a fantastic movie
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Operation Tabarin: Britain's Secret Wartime Expedition to Antarctica 1944-46 (Hardcover)
Very interesting story and very informative.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, excellent service, 25 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Operation Tabarin: Britain's Secret Wartime Expedition to Antarctica 1944-46 (Hardcover)
Excellent book, arrived on time
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