NORFOLK Museums Service
Map of Antarctica

L.J. Shirtcliffe

Antarctic Engineer

L.J. (Jim) Shirtcliffe was a builder from Norfolk who overwintered several times on Antarctica. He was employed in the construction of ‘Halley II’ (Grillage Village) on a new site in Halley Bay in 1967. The original base along with the rest of Halley Bay broke away from the Brunt Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea!

Shirtcliffe was amongst the largest ever wintering party on Antarctica at 38 men. This was also the first time ‘Skidoos’ were used on Antarctica, and the first time a US aircraft visited the Antarctic continent (unfortunately to evacuate an injured doctor – John Brotherhood, who Shirtcliffe skilfully tended and sheltered).

There have been five Halley bases built so far, with a sixth under construction at the moment. All the other bases were buried by snow and crushed due to the extreme weather conditions and the constant movement of ice shelves!

Once when Jim Shirtcliffe was flying with an Argentinean pilot in a small aircraft to the Falklands, they managed to land on Stanley Racecourse! The course was very narrow and the pilot asked Shirtcliffe for help in turning the plane around so that he could take off again quickly before the Police arrived. Jim agreed to help and the pilot got the plane away again before the Police showed up. The Police were not amused, but most other people saw the funny side of the story and even thought the pair rather brave for attempting such a feat!

This is an image

Halley Bay Base Photograph, 1967. L.J. Shirtcliffe–second row, fourth from left. Picture by Tony Jackson.

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