In the summer of 2014 Arcturus organised an expedition to Greenland for Julia Korner and her husband Jamie to retrace the footsteps of her father, Colonel Andrew Croft DSO, OBE. Colonel Croft was a member of Sir Martin Lindsay’s three-man British Trans-Greenland Expedition of 1933-1934 – an epic 1,080 mile journey by dog sledge which crossed the ice cap from west to east and which identified and mapped Greenland’s highest mountains. For over 50 years the expedition was recognised in the Guinness Book of Records as being the longest self-supporting journey ever made, until Sir Ranulph Fiennes exceeded the record in 1984.
Mr and Mrs Korner’s expedition was made to commemorate the 80th anniversary of her father’s achievement. Here we reproduce some of the photographs taken on their trip alongside images taken by Julia’s father more than eight decades ago. Those of Quervain’s Valley show the Ekip Sermia Glacier (now called Eqi Sermia) and beyond, and provide a fascinating contrast between the landscape then and now.
“The whole holiday was an experience of a lifetime; thank you for going to so much trouble on our behalf to design a trip that followed in my father’s footsteps, 80 years later. We have not stopped recommending your organisation since our return form Greenland and we live in hope that one day we can return. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Colonel Andrew Croft had an illustrious career. His advance preparation at Jakobshaven and his role as photographer, doctor and principal dog-driver underpinned the success of Sir Martin Lindsay’s 1933-34 Greenland expedition. Two years later he was second-in-command of the Oxford University expedition to Nordaustland, the eastern and most northern island of the Svalbard Archipelago, 600 miles from the North Pole. The contribution to radar development achieved by the expedition’s research on the ionosphere, coupled to glaciological investigation and to new survey work earned each member of the team the Polar Medal.
In addition to being an Arctic explorer, he was a distinguished member of the Special Operations Executive, with expertise in undercover work and in command of specialist operations in Corsica and mainland France. He acted as an expert adviser for UN operations during the Korean war and to Nato in the far north of Europe during the cold war. He received the DSO for his achievements in North Africa, Corsica and France in 1943 and 1944. He published three books: Under the Pole Star (with Sir Alexander Glen) in 1938, Polar Exploration in 1939 and his autobiography, A Talent For Adventure, in 1991. He died in June 1998.