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Our history

For 60 years the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has been responsible for most of the UK’s scientific research in Antarctica. BAS has its roots in Operation Tabarin, a secret World War Two mission with a dual scientific role. Our history is preserved by the BAS Archives Service, which manages and provides access to records created by BAS and its predecessors – the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey and Tabarin.

Base A, Port Lockroy, Wiencke Island, established on 11 Feb 1944. Occupied by nine men, winter 1944, and by four men, winter 1945. The main base was to have been at Hope Bay on the mainland but the second support vessel, SS Fitzroy, was not ice-strengthened and could not risk the sea ice in the bay. (Photographer: Ivan Mackenzie Lamb; Archives ref: AD6/19/1/A119)

Operation Tabarin

A secret World War Two mission established the UK’s first research stations in Antarctica

Loading scow with stores from Base E to be taken to John Biscoe, 1950 (Ref: AD6/19/3/B2)

Archives Service

Preserving and providing access to records produced by the British Antarctic Survey