Two Years Below the Horn: A Personal Memoir of Operation Tabarin: Taylor, Andrew
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Two Years Below the Horn: A Personal Memoir of Operation Tabarin

Author(s): Taylor, Andrew

Copyright: 2017, UK
Specifications: 1st, 8vo, pp.351, 6 color & 85 bw photos, 2 bw illus, 5 plans, 5 maps, green cloth
Condition: dj & cloth new

Andrew Taylor, the field commander of Operation Tabarin was one of the forgotten heroes of Antarctic exploration. Early in 1944, nine men landed on a tiny, barren island off the west coast of the Graham Land Peninsula in Antarctica. Armed with only a small assortment of rifles and pistols and with an obsolete 12-pounder mounted on the bows of their decrepit supply vessel, officially, their purpose was to prevent German U-boats and surface raiders from using Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic harbours for refuelling and resupply. Unofficially, they were tasked with reasserting British territorial rights in the face of increasingly confident incursions by neutral Argentina.

This two-year expedition, code-named Operation Tabarin, was the precursor to the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey, and the arrival of the nine British and Commonwealth soldiers, sailors and scientists marked both the beginning of Britain’s permanent presence on the Antarctic continent and the commencement of a complex programme of scientific research and geographic exploration which continues to this day.

Written in 1947 by the man who ultimately became Operation Tabarin’s commander-in-the-field, this is the only contemporary account to cover the expedition’s entire two-year history. Never before published, it provides a unique perspective on events that are vital to our understanding of both the history of Antarctic exploration and the complex geopolitics of the region.

There are now two books, both by Taylor, both about Operation Tabarin, and both with the same primary title(!); one published in Canada and one in the UK. These should not be confused as they are separate, but similar, books. This UK book is Taylor’s complete memoir as he wrote it. The Canadian book consists of widely edited memoirs.

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