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Carse, Verner Duncan (1913-2004)

Born on 28 July 1913. He was educated at Sherborne and Lausanne, Switzerland, before joining the Merchant Navy in 1932 as a square-rig apprentice. He served on the RRS Discovery II (3rd commission) on the Discovery Investigations, 1933 – 1935 (leader Neil Alison Mackintosh). In 1934, he transferred from Discovery II to the Penola at Port Stanley, joining the British Graham Land Expedition, 1934 – 1937 (leader John Riddoch Rymill), as deck-boy, later advancing to able seaman and wireless operator. The expedition explored and mapped the southern Antarctic Peninsula area. He was awarded the Polar Medal for his part in the expedition.  On his return, Carse worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation as a newsreader between 1938 and 1942, and played Dick Barton in the long running radio series during the 1940s. Between 1942 and 1946, he served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

In 1951, Carse returned to the Antarctic as leader of the South Georgia Survey expedition, 1951 – 1957, a succession of privately sponsored expeditions, which, in four summers, undertook a comprehensive topographic and geological survey of South Georgia. He relied on volunteer surveyors, geologists and assistants, some of whom had gained previous experience with the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey. He was awarded his second Polar Medal in recognition of his work. In February 1961, he returned to South Georgia to conduct a personal experiment in living alone on the island. In May, his hut was swept away by a tidal wave and he survived for 116 days on limited supplies, before being rescued by the Petrel and taken to Grytviken in September 1961. In 1978, he participated in the Tall Ships Race in S.V. Kruzenshtern.

In 1938 he married Bertha Sylvia Hadfield with whom he had two daughters. He married for a second time and had a son. His third wife Ann Venetia survived him.

He died on 2 May 2004 aged 91.

Further Information

Poulsom, Lieutenant N.W and Myres, Rear Admiral A.L.(2000)  British polar exploration and research: a historical and medallic record with biographies 1818 – 1999. London: Savannah Publications.

Stonehouse, B. Ed. (2002) Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans. Chicester: Wiley & Sons.