Two Years Below the Horn


This important book offers discussion about a man whose accomplishments were ignored for far too long. Heidt and Lackenbauer’s grasp of the existing literature is extraordinary, their judgements are prudent, and the story is fascinating.

Galen Perras

Two Years Below the Horn: Operation Tabarin, Field Science, and Antarctic Sovereignty, 1944-1946

In Two Years Below the Horn, engineer Andrew Taylor vividly recounts his experiences and accomplishments during Operation Tabarin, a landmark British expedition to Antarctica to establish sovereignty and conduct science during the Second World War. When mental strain led the operation’s first commander to resign, Taylor—a military engineer with extensive prewar surveying experience—became the first and only Canadian to lead an Antarctic expedition. As commander of the operation, Taylor oversaw construction of the first permanent base on the Antarctic continent at Hope Bay. From there, he led four-man teams on two epic sledging journeys around James Ross Island, overcoming arduous conditions and correcting cartographic mistakes made by previous explorers. The editors’ detailed afterword draws on Taylor’s extensive personal papers to highlight Taylor’s achievements and document his significant contributions to polar science.

This book will appeal to readers interested in the history of polar exploration, science, and sovereignty. It also sheds light on the little known contribution of a Canadian to a distant theatre of the Second World War. The wartime service of Major Taylor reveals important new details about a groundbreaking operation that laid the foundation for the British Antarctic Survey and marked a critical moment in the transition from the heroic to the modern scientific era in polar exploration.

Andrew Taylor, Two Years Below the Horn: A Canadian’s Experiences in Antarctica, 1944-1946, Edited by Daniel Heidt and P. Whitney Lackenbauer (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2017), 480 pp.


Table to Contents


Introduction: By Daniel Heidt and P. Whitney Lackenbauer

Section 1: Establishment             

Chapter 1: Recruitment and Goodbyes

Chapter 2: Beyond the Tropics

Chapter 3: From the Falklands Southward Bound

Chapter 4: The North Coast of Graham Land

Section 2: Port Lockroy     

Chapter 5: Establishment at Port Lockroy

Chapter 6: The Winter Months

Chapter 7: The Manhauling Journey of 1944

Chapter 8: Spring at the Base

Chapter 9: Moving

Section 3: Hope Bay

Chapter 10: Hope Bay

Chapter 11: March 1945

Chapter 12: Early Winter 1945

Section 4: The First Sledging Journey

Chapter 13: Preparations for Sledging

Chapter 14: Start of the First Sledge Journey

Chapter 15: Nordenskjöld Haunts

Chapter 16: Polar Rationing

Section 5: The Second Sledging Journey

Chapter 17: Interlude

Chapter 18: The Second Sledge Journey – 1945

Chapter 19: East Ross Island

Chapter 20: West Ross Island

Chapter 21: North Towards Home

Afterword: By Daniel Heidt and P. Whitney Lackenbauer