Operation Tabarin

History of Sorts


During the Second World War the British Government mounted a secret mission, code-named Operation Tabarin, to establish a permanent presence in Antarctica to assert its territorial claims. This involved the building of the first permanent British bases in Antarctica, and formed the foundations of Britain’s continued involvement in Antarctica for the last seventy + years.


In 1943, at the height of World War Two, the British Government launched a top-secret expedition to the Antarctic. Code-named Operation Tabarin, after a Paris nightclub, the expedition established Britain’s first permanently occupied research stations on the continent.

In 1941, as the Second World War continued to rage, the German ship Pinquin captured two Norwegian factory shops, one supply ship, eleven whale catchers and 23,000 tons of whale oil in the Southern Ocean.


With whale oil, used to make margarine, essential to war-rationed Britain, the HMS Queen of Bermuda was dispatched to protect the whaling…

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