A Postal History Gallery
of Related Events
United States Antarctic Service Expedition
World War II Was Imminent
World War was on the horizon as the Third Byrd Expedition
sailed. Their work was limited by the threat.
camps were established at Neny Fiord, (East Base) on Stonington
Island in Marguerite Bay, Graham Land . . .
. . . and
at Little America III in the Bay of Whales on the Ross Ice Shelf
which aimed to start a permanent occupation to "consolidate
and extend United States sovereignty over the largest practicable
area of the Antarctic continent," was recalled in 1941
when the United States Congress did not provide funds to continue
Collier Philatelic Masterpiece
Collier (National Archives)
Collier was one of the airplane mechanics and a Technical
Sergeant of the US Marine Corps. He came to Antarctica on
the U.S.M.S. NORTH STAR..
cover authenticates both round-trips to the
Antarctic ... to deploy the expedition in 1939 and again to
evacuate in 1941.
of Gary Pierson)
vehicle designed for polar travel was shipped to Antarctica
in 1940 for use of the Byrd expedition. It did not function
as expected and was abandoned. Collectors mail was recovered
and returned to the sales agency. Only the certification on
the obverse, as shown below the cover on the right, confirms
card of Official Snow Cruiser Stationery ...
. . . with the Official U.S.M.S. North Star cachet
the most significant port-of-call en route to Antarctica was
made by the U.S.M.S. NORTH STAR at Pitcairn
Island. The resultant Richard Black originated covers, officially
sanctioned by Byrd (who personally approved the commemorative
cachet), are among the most prized philatelic items for the
U.S.A.S.E. The vessel paid a visit to Pitcairn Island on December
13-14, 1939. The Pitcairn post office was quickly sold out
of New Zealand stamps, but through special arrangements, unstamped
covers reached their destinations as well as those which were
franked. The cachet was designed by Richard Black, leader
of East Base, and was applied to mail during the visit. According
to news articles of the day, approximately 790 covers were
serviced. Two types of mail from this stop exist -- mail left
at Pitcairn for a stateside destination and mail canceled
at Pitcairn and taken along for the journey south.
was carried on all flights made at East Base, including the
emergency evacuation flights of March 22, 1941. Signed by
the pilot, co-pilot and none other than Tech. Sgt. Zadik Collier.
properly air mail franked, surface rate postage would have
sufficed since it was not an air mail contract flight.
of Herb & Janice Harvis)
Siple was in charge of the main base at Little America
during 1940. The base was closed on February 1, 1941.
of the George Hall)
Islas Orcadas del Sud
Argentine government maintained the base transferred to them
by the Scottish National
Antarctic Expedition in 1904 with at least seasonal activity.
The site, on Laurie Island, was fully reactivated on February
2, 1942 as a meteorological station. Mail is not known from
1904 to 1942 when the current service began.
US Navy ships were committed to Operation Highjump. Only six
of them visited Little America while two groups worked in the
outer rim as support stations.
carried their own postal units, but the bulk of the mail was
delivered to the United States by the USS
by Admiral Byrd inquiring
about supplies of survival
equipment as well as supplies to make parkas.