Arctic Journeys: The Story of the Oxford University Ellesmere Land Expedition 1934-5.

The Oxford Ellesmere Expedition was organized by Oxford University Exploration Club as a student run operation which covered one winterover concluding in May of 1935.

p. 78-9, during a boat journey: We passed the time drying my wet clothes over the stove, and reading Winston Churchill’s World Crisis which by luck had not been put ashore with our kit.

p. 113-14: We ourselves were quite contented and happy, and found plenty to do. We had a fairly large selection of books to choose from, and several of us took this opportunity to read certain rather lengthy volumes for which there is usually no time in civilized life. Our choice ranged from Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico, to H. G. Wells’s Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind. A book which was read by everyone, and which in fact proved the most popular of all books on the Expedition, was Anthony Adverse, which in civilized life a very great number of people seem to have started but have not had the time or opportunity to finish.

There were, of course, the usual discussions of matters of general and detailed interest. Humph had a most astounding store of general knowledge, and in cases of doubt we would finally refer to him for information on obscure points. The Oxford Concise Dictionary, Fowler’s English Usage, and Whitaker’s Almanack were in continuous use, and we certainly were able to absorb a good deal of knowledge of an unusual type. Perhaps the chief topic for argument was the question of international politics and war…[but] the discussions were naturally of an academic nature.

p. 163, on the Grinnell Land sledge journey: They had cut down their loads and surveying instruments to a minimum, in order to carry as much food as possible, and so extend their range of travel. Their only luxury was a copy of Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico.