Verner Carse collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-1937 (leader John Rymill) Surveys of South Georgia, 1951-1957 and correspondence and papers regarding Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton.

Administrative / Biographical History

Verner Duncan Carse was 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 in RRS Discovery II (3rd commission) on the Discovery Investigations, 1933-1935 (leader Neil Alison Mackintosh). In 1934, he transferred from Discovery II to Penola at Port Stanley, joining the British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-1937 (leader John 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 and taken to Grytviken in September 1961. In 1978, he participated in the Tall Ships Race in S.V. Kruzenshtern.


The collection is split into three sub-fonds comprising of expedition material and Shackleton papers respectively.

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a number of photographs, film and other illustrative material in the Picture Library, some of which covers the expeditions Carse was involved with. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to British polar exploration and research, a historical and medallic record with biographies 1818-1999 by Lieutenant Colonel Neville W. Poulsom and Rear Admiral John A.L. Myres, Savannah Publications London (2000) SPRI Library Shelf 737.2 and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7)

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible