National Geographic : 1953 Oct
.- * 470 David T. laislip A Lonely Shaft Overlooks Baffin Bay; P Stands for Peary and the Pole Financed by Admiral Peary's family, the 60-foot pylon was erected on Cape York, Greenland, by a 1932 expedition led by Capt. Robert A. Bartlett, one of Peary's aides on the 1909 expedition that reached the North Pole. The authors' plane passed over the memorial en route from Newfoundland to the United States Air Force Base at Thule, 60 miles to the north (map, page 472). i^ ^^f^^^r^si^"^ ST^-** * **' £! ^. ;- l "rP*i ^ y '*'^; % **^*- : '". "* ^^'~ ^S '^e^^' 1x'* ^ -'^ ?1 ^? «-T ?*^ ^ ''-^ ^?^&^'^^^®^^: ^^^f ^^ < * ***--".- "..~ 11.-' - .'^ ".* , '*f3 *:-!t* ' . 1 ^^'*'^ S^ ^^^S Air Force Base at Thule, 60 miles to the north (map, page 472). Besides, the plane makes a good rescue marker in itself. On the other hand, if the ice is too hummocky to risk crash landing, we'll just have to abandon ship. Then you'll each strap your individual survival kit to your chute and hit the silk." We soon turned in and, with only a few minutes of turbulence as we flew through rain squalls over Long Island, New York, slept placidly till dawn. Newfoundland Base First Stop We breakfasted high above cloud-covered Nova Scotia.* Not till we soared over Cabot Strait did the undercast yield, disclosing the French islands of Miquelon and St. Pierre, last North American fragments of a once broad empire, and Placentia Bay, where President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill met to draft the Atlantic Charter aboard the ill-fated British battleship Prince of Wales. In Newfoundland we touched down at the Royal Canadian Air Force Base of Torbay, just north of St. John's, and motored to the USAF's Pepperrell Base headquarters, where our hosts had official business. Soon Mr. R. B. Herder, president of the St. John's Evening Telegram, appeared with a car and a friendly invitation to visit Brigus, some 40 miles distant, home town of the late Capt. Robert A. Bartlett, Peary's second-in-com mand and Hubbard Gold Medalist of the Na tional Geographic Society.' More interesting than Brigus's stone monu ment to the great skipper proved to be the sur viving Bartletts. Within the house Bob built for his mother she had set aside a room espe cially to display mementos of his remarkable career. Here Bob's brother, Bill (hardy as a pine knot) regaled the company with remi niscences of Captain Bob's salty adventures. Back at the air base plans were made for an early take-off. At 6:30 a.m. we zoomed off the runway. Our goal: Thule, 2,041 miles away. A dog-leg took us over Gander; then we headed for a radio beacon on the Greenland coast-BW8, an Air Force installation near Holsteinsborg, better known to World War II ferry pilots as Bluie West 8. Persistent undercast blanked out our gaze all the way to Thule, except for a few miles down Davis Strait. But on our maps we could check off landmarks of polar exploration as we flew invisibly at 9,500 to 10,000 feet. * See "Salty Nova Scotia," by Andrew H. Brown, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, May, 1940. t See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, "Servicing Arctic Airbases," May, 1946. and "Green land from 1898 to Now," July, 1940, both by Capt. Robert A. Bartlett.