Edward Bingham collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS), 1947.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward William Bingham was born on 2 January 1901 at Dungannon, County Tyrone. He studied medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating in 1926, and was commissioned in the Royal Navy. Shortly afterwards, he volunteered as medical officer for the British Arctic Air Route Expedition, 1930-1931 (leader Henry George Watkins), participating in sledging journeys to survey and chart parts of the east coast of Greenland. In 1932, Bingham was appointed to HMS Challenger, a ship conducting Hydrographic surveys off the coast of Labrador, where he over-wintered and became more familiar with dog driving.

As medical officer on the British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-1937 (leader John Rymill), Bingham participated in a major sledging journey across Graham Land with Rymill, finally confirming Graham Land to be a peninsula rather than an archipelago as suggested by the aviators Sir Hubert Wilkins and Lincoln Ellsworth.

Between 1945 and 1947, he led the newly-formed Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS), established to continue and expand the work of the British naval expedition, 1943-1944, also known as Operation Tabarin. As leader of the survey, he passed on sledging and camping techniques to a new generation of British polar explorers for which he was awarded an OBE in 1947. From 1948 to 1952, he was principal medical officer of the Royal Naval Air Station at Eglinton, advancing to captain in 1951. After serving as fleet medical officer in HMS Vanguard, he was appointed principal medical officer at the Royal Naval Air Station at Lee-on-Solent, retiring from the Navy in 1957. He died on 1 September 1993.


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.

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a number of photographs, film and other illustrative material in the Picture Library, some of which covers FIDS. 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 'Surgeon Captain Edward W. Bingham' by Alfred Stephenson and Eric William Kevin Walton in The Polar Record volume 30 number 172 January 1994 p68-70 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