Sunday, January 22, 2017

Duncan Carse and Survival in Limbo

After I posted the film of T.H. White's The Goshawk, Maxim Peter Griffin sent me the link to this second film featuring Duncan Carse.

Carse was a remarkable man, as the opening of his Telegraph obituary (he died in 2004) shows:
Duncan Carse, who died on May 2 aged 90, made his mark both as a polar explorer and as a professional radio broadcaster and actor - in the latter role he played Dick Barton, Special Agent, in the radio series which, in its heyday, attracted 15 million listeners. 
But Carse would have wished to be remembered principally for his work in mapping the island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic. In four southern summers, between 1951 and 1957, he organised and led the South Georgia Survey. 
This was a formidable enterprise requiring dogged determination and the ability to traverse mountainous, crevassed and mostly untrodden terrain in weather conditions that were frequently atrocious. 
The survey produced the first proper map of the whole of South Georgia, published by the Directorate of Overseas Surveys in 1958 at the scale of 1:200,000. It remains the standard map of the island and, during the 1982 conflict on South Georgia, it was an essential aid to land, sea and air operations.
Survival in Limbo tells the story of a later episode in his life:
Carse paid two further visits to South Georgia, and was lucky to come back alive. In 1961 "as a personal psychological experiment", he lived alone from February to September (the entire southern winter) at a small harbour on the hostile west coast of the island. 
In May his hut was destroyed, and many of his stores were swept away by a surge wave. He managed to survive until rescued by the whale catcher Petrel, and later made a television documentary film of his experience.
I said in my earlier post that Carse had the look of T.H. White. It seems he also had his need to prove his courage and tolerance of solitude.

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