AMUNDSEN-SCOTT SOUTH POLE STATION

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The above view taken in November 2000 shows the Ceremonial South Pole marker circled by the flags of the Antarctic Treaty Nations. In the background can be seen the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station dome plus at right the building for the new South Pole Station.

 

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This photo also taken in November, 2000 by the runway shows the new building at right for the new station and the existing Dome Station building in the background.

 

The first station situated at the Geographic South Pole was built by the US Antarctic Research Programme in 1956 under Admiral Dufek.  This station and a subsequent one has since been buried under the weight of snow and ice and the current Geodesic Dome base is now also due for replacement. A new station built on elevated legs is currently being constructed and will be gradually occupied from 2001-2002 season onwards. Photos taken of the construction of the new station can be seen here.  The covers below have all either originated from or been flown to the South Pole. 

 

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POLE1.   1998 (November 10th) Airmail letter from Pole postmarked McMurdo.     Price US$4

 

The view at right is the reverse of the above envelope and shows the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station circular dated cachet.

Normally for the first few weeks each season South Pole Station does not have its own postmark and simply sends mail to McMurdo for postmarking as is the case with this mail.

 

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POLE2.   1998 (November 10)  Polarogramme from Pole posted McMurdo.     Price US$5

 

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POLE3.   1998 (November 14th) Airmail letter from Pole postmarked McMurdo.     Price US$4

 

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POLE4.  1998 (November 14th) Airletter from Pole postmarked McMurdo.    Price US$4

Note: The above airletter has a "Seasons Greetings from Honolulu" dated machine cancellation running along the top of the envelope. Letter mail from the Antarctic to New Zealand is actually forwarded from McMurdo through Christchurch to Honolulu where it is sorted and then if necessary sent back to New Zealand.  The white peel off label at the foot is also applied (by machine) in Honolulu to all mail items with  coloured or varied background so that the machine code can then be applied to a white background so postal sorting machinery can read the address. The above airletter and the one below both also have a similar label on the reverse but with red coloured bar coding.

 

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POLE5.   1998 (November 14th) Airletter from Pole postmarked McMurdo.    Price US$4

Note: this airletter is identical to the previous item except for its colour.

 


1998 AROUND THE WORLD FOOT RACE

 

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POLE6.   1998 (December 25th) Signed postcard carried by runner in race.     Price US$5

Note: Each Christmas Day an ususual race is run at the South Pole. it is a foot "race around the world"on a marked  2.1 miles circut. The above card was carried by a runner in this race and then cacheted with the South Pole Station dated marking afterwards. Because the South Pole datestamp was still not in use the postcard was then held until the post office belatedly opened for the season on  February 10th 1999.

 

The photo at right shows the start of the 1998 race with the ceremonial pole in the background. race08.jpg (57204 bytes)

1999 SPECIAL MEDEVAC EMERGENCY FLIGHT SOUTH POLE TO CHRISTCHURCH

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POLE7.   1999 (January 31st) letter from Pole Station with South Pole meter.     Price US$8

The above cover was carried from South Pole in a special medical emergency flight via McMurdo to Christchurch. A Indian scientist had suffered a stroke whilst on board a Norwegian research vessel off the Antarctic coast.  A South African helicopter took the patient to the German Neumayer Base where he was transferred by German twin otter D-CICE via a refueling stop at the British Halley Base and on to the South Pole Station. The patient was hospitalised at Christchurch Public Hospital after the multinational rescue. The envelope is franked with the Pitney Bowes South Pole Meter seldom seen on philatelic mail.


 

LAST FLIGHT TO SOUTH POLE BY U.S. NAVY'S  VXE-6 SQUADRON

 

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POLE8.   1999 (February 12) letter from Christchurch on last Navy flight to South Pole    Price US$5

February saw the final handover from US Navy aircraft to Air National Guard aircraft. the above cover was flown on the last US Navy flight from McMurdo to South Pole and return to McMurdo. This flight took place on 14th February 1999.   The cover was previously postmarked at the Christchurch Deepfreeze Base Post Office and flown to McMurdo to catch the last flight to the Pole.

 

 

The reverse of the above

cover is shown at right.

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POLE9.   1999 (February 12) letter from Christchurch on last Navy flight to Pole    Price US$5

Note: This cover has been carried both on the last flight from McMurdo to South Pole and return by the US Navy but also on the last US Navy flight from McMurdo to Christchurch 3 days later.

 

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The above view shows the last Navy Hercules taxiing in at the South Pole

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This view shows the Navy Hercules aircraft with the South Pole main Dome building in the background

 

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POLE10.   1999 (February 14th) Polarogramme on last Navy flight from South Pole   Price US$5

Note: this item was posted at South Pole (see South Pole cachet top left) and carried from there on the last US Navy flight from the South Pole to McMurdo. It was then postmarked at McMurdo on February 15th and then carried by hand on the last US Navy flight from McMurdo to Christchurch on 17th February 1999.

 

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POLE11.   1999 (February 14th) Postcard on last Navy flight from South Pole   Price US$5

Note: this postcard was carried on the same flights as the previous item.

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POLE12.   1999 (February 14th) Postcard on last Navy flight from South Pole   Price US$5

Note: this item was carried on the same flights as the two previous items but it instead has a South Pole meter frank to pay the postage costs. Postmarked on arrival in Christchurch Ist March, 1999.

 

The postcard above has the backstamps as shown at right on its reverse.

 

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The  Pilot of the last US Navy Hercules (in the middle) addressing a group of South Pole people gathered inside the South Pole Station to celebrate the last Navy flight.

 

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This view shows the last U.S. Navy Hercules aircraft departing the South Pole on 14th February, 1999.


1999 MEDICAL EMERGENCY AIR DROP AND SUBSEQUENT EVACUATION FLIGHTS.

 

Late in June 1999 news came from the South Pole that a person there was very sick with suspected breast cancer. It was later learnt that the person was the sole doctor at the pole, Dr Jerri Nielsen. After consultation via email it was decided to try to airdrop urgent medical supplies to Pole Station as it was impossible to evacuate anybody for several months at the earliest. The view at right shows Dr Nielsen earlier in the season Docnielsen.jpg (27654 bytes)
 

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The aircraft to undertake the long trip was the USAF C141 Starlifter shown above parked at Christchurch Airport the evening before the flight.

 

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Because of the long distances involved in the return trip without any chance of landing to refuel, A KC-10 Air tanker was also flown south to refuel the Starlifter in flight just north of the Antarctic continent. The KC-10 aircraft is shown above early in the evening before the flight.

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The picture at left shows the crew of the Starlifter pushing one of the crates out the door of the aircraft. Two passes over the South pole were flown to enable the 7 cases to be jetsoned as close as possible to the pole station landing field which had been lit up with flares. Each crate had a strobe light fitted on top.

 

POLE13.   1999 (July 8th) Postcard carried on Medical Emergency flight to South Pole  Price US$10

Note: This and the following 2 items were carried south from Christchurch in the C-141 Starlifter and parachuted in the dark over the South Pole. The flight was carried out at great risk in very low temperatures to bring urgent medical supplies and equipment for the South Pole doctor, Dr Jerri Nielsen. The parachute drop also included fresh food and some letter mail addressed to South Pole personnel.  The above postcard was postmarked at the Christchurch Deep Freeze Base 3 days before the flight and the last day possible before mail for the airdrop was sealed.

 

The back of the previous postcard is shown at right. It shows the South Pole dated cachet applied after the mail was retrieved from the parachuted crates.
 

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POLE14.   1999 (July 8th) Postcard carried on Medical Emergency flight to South Pole  Price US$10

Note: The lower left design on the above postcard was added to the card after it was returned to Christchurch. It shows the crew of the Starlifter involved.

 

At right we show the back of the above postcard.  The marking in red was applied because the items we offer were all stored at the South Pole for an unexpected extra year.  They had been put aside at the Pole awaiting the arrival of a friend on the first 1999-2000 season Pole flight.   Unluckily our friend got ill while at McMurdo and was  medivaced out to Christchurch without flying to Pole Station to retrieve the items. The items eventually returned to us in Christchurch in November 2000.

 

 

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POLE14a. 1999 (July 8th) Postcard carried on Medical Emergency flight to South Pole  Price US$12

(Note -The above postcard has been signed by the boom operator on the KC-10 Air tanker)

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POLE15.   1999 (July 8) Polarogramme from South Pole Medical Emergency flight   Price US$10

At right we show the reverse of the above Polarogramme.  

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The above view shows the two aircraft on the ground back in Christchurch after the completion of their flight.


MEDICAL EVACUATION FLIGHT

 

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POLE16.   1999 (October 15th) Polarogramme carried on Medivac flight.   Price US$6

Note: After the Medical problems of Dr Jerri Nielsen were diagnosed it was decided to fly her out as soon as possible. A much earlier than normal first flight to South Pole flew from Christchurch on the 12th of October 1999. The aircraft and a backup aircraft waited at McMurdo for suitable weather before flying to the Pole on 16th October and returning immediately to McMurdo and on to Christchurch. The above cover was carried by hand by a senior NSF person on the flight from Christchurch to McMurdo. The item was  posted at McMurdo and then carried back to Christchurch on the return flight of the  aircraft medivacing Dr Jerri Nielsen.

 

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The above photo shows the LC-130 Hercules "City of Christchurch" and its crew on their return  late on the evening of 17th of October 1999 after a 16 hours round flight.

 

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The happy people above are the crew of the LC130 Hercules "City of Christchurch" celebrating in Christchurch the day after their successful South Pole flight to bring out Dr Jerri Nielsen.

On January 31st 2000 it was announced  Dr Jerri Nielsen had completed  chemotheraphy and her family were confident she had beaten her breast cancer.


70TH ANNIVERSARY OF BYRD FLIGHT

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POLE17.   1999 (November 26th) Carried on 70th Anniversary Byrd flight to South Pole    Price US$6

The first flight to the South Pole took place 28th/29th of November 1929. On the 70th Anniversary a special re-enactment flight was flown by a Air National Guard Hercules aircraft. The above cover was carried from McMurdo to the South Pole on this flight.

 

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The above photo shows the ski-equipped Air National Guard Hercules making a special fly-over at the South Pole before coming in to land for the 70th Anniversary flight.

 

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POLE18.   1999 (November 29th) Carried on 70th Anniv. Byrd flight from South Pole    Price US$8

Note: This cover was carried on the return flight from the South Pole


INTERBASE MAIL FROM PALMER STATION TO SOUTH POLE

 

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POLE19.   1999 (December 8th) Interbase mail from Palmer Station to South Pole    Price US$4

 

We show at right the reverse of the above postcard. It shows 2 different South Pole cachets plus bar coding at the bottom. Interbase mail from Palmer Station to either South Pole or McMurdo is rare because mail from Palmer travels by ship to Punta Arenas in Chile and then in sealed bag to USA where it is put into the mail stream, See Wellshire Station (Denver) postmark above. The card then travelled via Christchurch and McMurdo Station to finally reach the South Pole.

 

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THE MILLENNIUM AT THE SOUTH POLE.

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POLE20.   2000 (January Ist) Postcard posted at South Pole on first day of Millennium.   Price US$4

The above postcard and the following three postcards all have the three backstamps as shown at right.  

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POLE21.   2000 (January Ist) Postcard posted at South Pole on first day of Millennium.   Price US$4

 

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POLE22.   2000 (January Ist) Postcard posted at South Pole on first day of Millennium.   Price US$4

 

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POLE23.   2000 (January Ist) Postcard posted at South Pole on first day of Millennium.   Price US$4

We have some photos of the new South Pole Station currently being built which you can see by clicking here

For covers from the 2000-2001 season click here


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