Noel Croft collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the Oxford University Arctic Expedition, 1935-1936

Administrative / Biographical History

(Noel) Andrew Cotton Croft was born on 30 November 1906 in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and at the University of Manchester. In 1927, he was selected to work with the American Committee of the League of Nations and, between 1929 and 1932, was employed in the Lancashire cotton trade. He spent a year in Europe learning German and French with the intention of becoming a teacher. His lifelong interest in polar exploration began when he was invited to join the British Trans-Greenland Expedition (leader Martin Lindsay) in 1934, organized to explore a mountain range in East Greenland, which had been seen from the air on the British Arctic Air Route Expedition, 1930-1931 (leader Henry George Watkins). With Lindsay and Daniel Godfrey, Croft made the longest unsupported dog-sledge journey recorded across Greenland.

Following a year in India as an Adc to a Maharajah, Croft returned to the Arctic as second-in-command of the Oxford University Arctic Expedition, 1935-1936 (leader Alexander Glen), organized to survey and study the glaciology of Nordaustlandet. After the expedition, Croft worked as assistant to the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, during which he travelled on an ethnological expedition to Swedish Lapland.

During the Second World War, Croft served as a British liaison officer in Norway and as an assistant military attach in Sweden before joining the commandos in 1942. He was awarded the DSO for his war service in North Africa, Corsica and France between 1943 and 1944. From 1945 until 1946, he was attached to the Canadian Forces for Operation Musk Ox, organized to test equipment and vehicles in the Canadian Arctic. Following another posting to India, he returned to North America as liaison officer to the United States between 1952 and 1954. During the 1950s, he took charge of the Boys Battalion at Plymouth and the Army Apprentices School at Harrogate. Retiring from the army in 1960, he was appointed commandant of the Metropolitan Police Cadet Corps before finally retiring in 1971. He died on 26 June 1998 in London.

Published work A talent for adventure by Noel Andrew Cotton Croft, S.P.A. Ltd, Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire (1991) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Croft] Polar exploration by Noel Andrew Cotton Croft, Adam and Charles Black London (1939) SPRI Library Shelf (2)91(091)[pub.1939] Under the pole star the Oxford University Arctic Expedition, 1935-1936, by Alexander Richard Glen and Noel Andrew Cotton Croft, Methuen Publishers London (1937) SPRI Library Shelf (32)91(08)[1935-36]


The collection is arranged chronologically

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.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Arctic, exploration and development c500 BC to 1915, an encyclopaedia by Clive Holland, Garland Publishing, London (1994) Exploring Polar Frontiers, a historical encyclopaedia by William Mills, San Diego and Oxford, 2003 and He who dares wins by Sir Alexander Richard Glen, Guardian 14 July 1998 SPRI Library Shelf Pam 92[Croft, A.] and 'Colonel Andrew Croft' by Sir Alexander Richard Glen and Beau Riffenburgh in Polar Record volume 35 number 195 October 1999 p358

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