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Appendix I DEDICATION OF THE WILKINS ARCTIC TEST CHAMBER MAJOR GENERAL ANDREW T. MCNAMARA The Quartermaster General Department of the Army Washington, D. C. We in the Army Quartermaster Corps find it appropriate to dedicate the Arctic Environmental Test Chamber here at our Research and Engineering Center to the memory of our respected colleague and friend, George Hubert Wilkins. May I say also, Lady Wilkins, that we are truly honored and deeply grateful that you have come to join us today in this tribute to your famous husband. Before Sir Hubert joined us in 1942, he already had a most im- pressive record of accomplishments. While many of us who were his friends know something of what he had done in the fields of adventure, exploration, and military service, I think it is fitting on this occasion to recall some of those achievements. In the Balkan War of 1912-13 Wilkins became the first photographer to obtain motion pictures of actual combat. He was also one of the first to parachute from an aircraftâno mean feat, considering the aircraft and parachutes of that day! The outbreak of World War I found him second-in-command to Dr. Stefanssonâalso here with us today to honor Sir Hubert's memoryâ on an expedition in the Arctic, a place then so remote that not until September 1915 did Sir Hubert learn that a war had engulfed the world. Eager to get to the battle fronts, he left the expedition in 1916, returned to Australia, and was commissioned in the Australian Flying Corps. After journeying more than 30,000 miles from the Arctic to Australia and then to Europe, he finally reached the Western Front. He took part in every engagement fought by the Australians. He was wounded nine times. He was twice mentioned in dispatches. And he was awarded the Military Cross with Bar for Exceptional Bravery, which is the British equivalent to our Distinguished Service Cross, second only to our Medal of Honor. Following World War I, Sir Hubert began a series of polar flights that won him international acclaim. His great flight with Eielson from Pt. Barrow, Alaska, across the Arctic Ocean to Spitzbergen in 1928 has been compared to Lindbergh's similar feat of that day in crossing the Atlantic. It was following this flight that he was knighted by King George V, not just for his polar exporations, as was popularly assumed, but also for his wartime record and his contributions to the sciences. 141
After accompanying Sir Ernest Shackleton on his last voyage, the one on which that great explorer died, Sir Hubert's next expedition was to the other end of the earth and resulted in the first aircraft flights in the Antarctic in November 1928. In 1931 Sir Hubert came back to his first love, the Arctic. Using the obsolete U. S. Navy Submarine 0-12, which he renamed the "Nautilus", he began a research project in which he made the first underwater cruises beneath the Arctic icepack. The final chapter of this adventure was completed in 1958 when two of the Navy's new atomic submarines successfully traversed the entire polar icepack underwater. In honor of Sir Hubert's earlier achievements, the Navy named one of the subs the "Nautilus". In 1936 Sir Hubert returned to the Antarctic, where he helped organize the first aircraft crossing of that remote continent. The crossing was made by the American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth and Pilot Herbert Hollick-Kenyon. By 1937 the golden age of polar exploration was drawing to a close, but again Sir Hubert was a participant. His aerial searches in the Arctic for the downed Russian flyer Levanevsky covered some 150,000 square miles of the Arctic basin never before seen by human eyes. With the advent of World War II, Sir Hubert placed his vast know- ledge and experience at the disposal of the United States Army Quartermaster Corps to assist in developing cold-weather clothing and equipment for our own troops and those of our Allies. Few if any Quartermaster developments can be credited to the work of a single individual, for they all represent team effort by the time the item is issued to troops. Nevertheless, there is scarcely an example of cold-weather clothing or equipment in the U. S. Army supply system today which does not carry the imprint of Sir Hubert's contributions. General Georges F. Doriot, who was Chief of The Quartermaster General's Military Planning Division during World War II, has said: "One outstanding attribute of Sir Hubert was his willingness to undertake any task, notwithstanding how dangerous or difficult it was, and to always carry it out successfully with great modesty on his part." He was a man of boundless energy and was never perturbed by his surroundings. He was never demanding and was always ingenious in finding a solution to a problem. If he was unable to induce a tailor to make a design exactly as he conceived it, he would sit down at the sewing machine and make the item himself. He was indefatigable and always wanted to test items himself. He would continue long after younger men became exhausted. Even in later years he never spared himself in whatever he under- took. He insisted upon going on field maneuvers so that he could personally evaluate developmental items under the most difficult conditions. He was adamant in insisting upon realistic field testing. 142