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Haig-Thomas, David (1908-1944)

He was born in December 1908 and educated at Eton and St. John’s College, Cambridge. He first travelled to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1933. He was ornithologist on the Oxford University Ellesmere Land Expedition in 1934-1935. The main purpose of this expedition was to explore northern Ellesmere Island and to map its coastline. He over wintered in Greenland in 1934-1935 and in spring 1935 sledged across Smith Sound and Ellesmere Island. In 1936, he was leader of an ornithological expedition to Iceland. From 1937-1938, Haig-Thomas spent a year in northwest Greenland and Ellesmere Island as leader of the British Arctic Expedition. The expedition arrived at Qaanaaq (Thule) in northwest Greenland in August 1937. He left Etah, northwest Greenland in March 1938, crossed Ellesmere Island and sledged to Amund Ringnes Island, Alex Heiberg Island, and Haig-Thomas Island in the Canadian Arctic. He returned to Greenland and spent the summer of 1938 in Qaanaaq (Thule).

He joined the Reserve of Officers before the war and served in Iceland and East Greenland. He was killed in action 6 June 1944 in Normandy aged 36.

Published Works

Haig-Thomas, David ‘Expedition to Ellesmere Island’, 1937-38. Geographic Journal, 1940, 95(4):265-277.

Haig-Thomas, David (1939) Tracks in the Snow. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Further Information

Bratby, Michael and Scott, Peter M. (1941) Through the air: adventure with wild fowl, and small-boat sailing. London: Country Life.

Dick, L. (2001) Muskox Land. Ellesmere Islans in the Age of Content. University of Calgary Press.

Shackleton, Edward (1992) Thoughts on the 1935 Haig-Thomas/Humphreys route on Ellesmere Island. Polar Record, 1992, 28(167):335.

Shackleton, Edward (1936) Arctic Journeys: the story of the Oxford University Ellesmere Land Expedition 1934-35. New York: Farrar & Rinehart.