Fourteen Men: The Story of the Antarctic Expedition to Heard Island


An expedition of scientific research, chiefly meteorological and magnetic, but with an interest in Australian claims in Antarctica. Stokes was a radioman but also one of the “mets.” The Captain of the ship was Lt. Cmd. George Dixon; the leader of the shore party for Heard Island was Stuart Campbell. The ship was Ellsworth’s Wyatt Earp, where the officers and men were separated even for the alternate night movies. The trip to Heard Island (4000 kilometers southwest of Australia) was so full of weather-related dangers that references to reading do not occur until one third of the way into the book, and then not very many. Most winterover books have a central winter chapter (July/August) that discusses what the men did to pass the time. This lacks such a chapter, never talks about what the author himself read, and mainly recounts weather-related adventures during that period. Most of the last 150 pages deals with the fauna of Heard Island.