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David Statham

Dave Statham, meteorologist at Horseshoe Island, was lost travelling over sea ice with Stanley Black  and Geoff Stride on or about 27th May 1958.  They had set out from Horseshoe with two dogs teams to observe the hatching period of an Emperor Penguin rookery on the Dion Islands, thirty seven miles to the west. They were observed that afternoon apparently negotiating a lead about a mile-and-a-half from Pourquoi Pas Island but the ice was blown out between the 29 and 30th.  Despite an extensive and dangerous search being mounted  they were never found.  In the following days about half the dogs found their way back to the base in ones and twos. A number of them had had their traces cut as if they had been released to fend for themselves at a moment of great danger.

 
Horseshoe Memorial
 
Memorial on Horseshoe Island to David Statham and his two companions.  Photographed by Colin Horton in 1977.  Tony Salmon is present in the picture.
 
Inscription on Memorial
 
Inscription on the Memorial on Horseshoe Island.  Photographs by Colin Horton taken in 1977.

 

David McDowell, who moved to Horseshoe Island from Signy has written a memoire about life on the two bases and the effect of the accident. 

You can also read an extract from Sir Vivian's Fuch's book Of Ice and Men about this accident. 

Statham Peak, 1170m at the South West end of the Perplex Ridge, Pourquoi Pas Island was named after him.  It was first climbed by three French climbers in 18 February 2010, Mathieu Cortial, Lionel Daudet and Patrick Wagnon.  The Antarctic climbing historian and Alpinist correspondent Damien Gildea said, the route might be the "steepest technical ice climbing ever done in Antarctica."

Photograph of David Statham

David Statham


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