Thanks to Olivier F6EPN, we have rebuilt the history of Marret Base which, so far, has been forgotten by our careful searches of old and new Antarctic Bases and settlements.
The reference WAP FRA-11 to Marret Base issued now, fills a gap in the WAP Directory.
Here we are:
After two successive wintering at the Port-Martin station, 66°49’06” South, 141°24’02” East, WAP FRA-Ø7 , a small Base has been built on Petrels Island to a few hundred meters only to the Emperor Penguins rookerie, and was occupied for two winters, during which time the coastal islands were explored and ground control astrofixes observed with astro-labes and theodolites.
Seven people wintered there in 1952-1953 under the direction of Mario Marret. In January 1952, the French Antarctic Expedition , enlarged the hut on Petrel Island to serve as the new base site.
It looks like FB8YY (and maybe also FB8AX, Marret’s callsign) did operate from Marret Station on that dates, as reported on a list present on LNDX website (see: FB8YY.XLS (lesnouvellesdx.fr) TNX F6AJA
The wooden buildings known as “Base Marret or Cabane Marret”, 66°40’South, 140°1’ East, has been designated a Historic site or Monument (HSM 47), following a proposal by France to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.
The iron cross on the north-east headland of Petrels island, is dedicated as a memorial to André Prud’homme, head meteorologist on the third International Geophysical Year expedition, who disappeared during a blizzard on 7 January 1959; it has similarly been designated a Historic Site or Monument (HSM 48)
Today, the Marret building on Petrel Island, restored by the 36th French Mission, is always present and many are wintering them which made there some scrapers, evenings melted pancakes and others, on the traces of Prevost, Marret and the others…
Petrels Island is now the site of Dumond d’Urville Station at 66°39’46” South, 140°00’05” East (WAP FRA-Ø1).
Summing up, this is the true story:
- Base Marret (aka Cabane Marret), new issued WAP FRA-11 at 66°40’12” South, 140°1’ 0” East. After the fire at Port Martin Base in January 1952, Mario Marret, the expedition leader and six men; Robert Dovers – geodesy, Jackie Duhamel – constructions, Georges Lepineux – radio, Jean Rivolier – doctor, Jean Prevost – ornithology, Roger Vincent – mechanic, volunteered to spend the winter on the Pointe Géologie archipelago. It is therefore this “Hut”, which has become the first Base on the island of Petrels, that the Terre Adelie 5th Expedition wintered from January 17, 1952 through January 20, 1953 in precarious conditions.
- Dumond D’Urville Station (aka DDU) WAP FRA-Ø1 at 66°39’46” South, 140°00’05” East was built and opened on January 12, 1956
So, Marret 66°40’12” South, 140°1’ 0” East was already classified as Base before of DDU (66°39’46” South, 140°00’05” East) which was built and opened on January 12, 1956.
Considering that David Brunet F4FKT-FT4YM has given permission to operate from inside of the Old Marret Base making a consistent number of QSOs (the picture prove his presence & activity), it becomes logical to confirm that FT4YM/P operating from a building of Marret Base be eligible as WAP FRA-11.
Congrats to David FT4YM, to Mehdi F5PFP and to all the French Hams who did help David to reach such a good goal
TNX F6EPN (aka Spratley Woody) for his precious help.
Credit and reference to:
Official blog of the Adélie Land district in Antarctica – TAAF: Marret Hut (terreadelie-antarctique.blogspot.com)