John Grierson collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the United States Navy Antarctic Expedition, (Operation Deep Freeze), 1966.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Grierson was born in 1909. He was educated at Charterhouse where he took his first flying lessons before entering RAF Cranwell in 1929. In 1930, he was posted to India, making a record solo return flight to England the following year in a Gypsy Moth. In 1934, Grierson succeeded on his third attempt in making the first solo flight over the Greenland ice sheet to Ottawa in a Fox Moth seaplane. In 1939, he joined Hawker Siddeley where he served as the test pilot chiefly concerned with the flight development of Frank Whittle's jet engine in the Gloster E28 aircraft, later to become the Meteor.

In 1946, with two Walrus seaplanes, he joined a Salvesen whaling factory ship to explore the use of aerial survey in the Antarctic. Between 1950 and 1962, Grierson was employed by the de Havilland Aircraft Company, later revisiting the Arctic and Antarctic with the US Air Force. Retiring to Guernsey in 1964, he died on 21 May 1977. He was the author of several books.

Published work Heroes of the polar skies by John Grierson, Heinemann London (1967) SPRI Library Shelf 656.7(091) Sir Hubert Wilkins, enigma of exploration by John Grierson, Robert Hale London (1960) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Wilkins, G.H.] Air whaler by John Grierson, Sampson Low, Marston & Co. London (1949) SPRI Library Shelf 639.245.1:(7) Challenge to the poles; highlights of Arctic and Antarctic aviation by John Grierson, G.T. Foulis & Col. Ltd. London (1964) SPRI Library Shelf 656.7(091) High failure:= solo along the Arctic air route by John Grierson, William Hodge London (1936) SPRI Library Shelf (3)91(08)[1933-1934 Grierson]


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 Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) and 'John Grierson' by W F Hampton in Polar Record volume 18 number 117 September 1977 p629-630

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.

Related Material

The Institute's Picture Library holds several collections containing photographs and negatives for various years of Operation Deep Freeze, a search of Polar Pictures will provide more information.