Lost and found: a Twenty-Three year old Derby MRT Expedition plaque 'as good as new'

Spitsbergen 1992 Expedition Group

Spitsbergen 1992 Expedition Group

(Back Row LTR: Nick Howarth, Helen Daniels, Martin Dodd, Robin Knott, Martyn Turner, Maurice Underwood, Martin Cavill) 

(Front Row LTR: Wendy Barratt, Brian Sidaway, Dot Asquith, Steve Hilditch, Troy Crate, Phil Leivers)

In 1992 a group from Derby MRT went on an arctic expedition to Spitsbergen, Svalbard (a Norwegian archipelago).  The team, led by our former Team Leader, Steve Hilditch, had planned to camp on the island but found some abandoned mining huts and used them as part of their camp for the month long training and skiing expedition.  Several years later a subsequent team had reported the huts to be in disrepair and it was thought a commeratice plaque the team made had been lost to the elements.

Spitsbergen Plaque  2015

Spitsbergen Plaque "As good as new" 2015

Twenty-Three years on, Jamie Ledingham, a member of British Exploring Society expedition found the wooden plaque left by the team all those years a go.  Jamie contacted the team and sent use some photos adding "The huts are from the early 1900's, and were originally used for mining.  I was up there on a return visit with British Exploring, as part of a group undertaking some Arctic training.  The huts look like they're in the process of being refurbished, but the Derby expedition sign still looks as good as new!”  
One of the original expedition team said “I’m really pleased to hear that the plaque is still there. There are no trees on Spitsbergen so we used driftwood for our stove, but saved a piece to make this plaque. We also had a trip wire around the camp at night to help protect us from Polar bears”


Spitsbergen Hut 2015

Spitsbergen Hut 2015


Photo Credits: Plaque and Hut - Jamie Ledingham. 1992 Team Photo - Martyn Turner

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