North Ice To North Flag: The Historic Tudor From The British North Greenland Expedition Found In A Kitchen Drawer

Major Desmond Homard’s Tudor Oyster Prince from the British North Greenland Expedition.

In 1952, the men of the BNGE, a blend of British enrolled military and regular citizen researchers, were dropped off on the shore of Greenland to canine sled inland toward the North Ice camp area in already neglected Dronning Louise Land at 77 degrees north scope. The vast majority of the campaign gear, including huge followed vehicles known as “Weasels,” were air-dropped inland by Royal Air Force four-motor freight planes. During one of the freight drops, which were done from the low height of only 50 feet, one of the planes got trapped in a white-out and made a constrained paunch landing, abandoning the group, including three harmed men, inside the destroyed fuselage for two days before a salvage could be made. 

The Tudor North Flag is roused by the British North Greenland Expedition.

The BNGE went on for a very long time, through two long Arctic winters, with its goals being to perform topographical, meteorological, climatological, and physiological investigations. Overall, eight hours is the measure of every day rest needed by the body, in addition to other things. Also, some spearheading mountaineering risings were made on already unclimbed tops in the Barth Mountains. Data accumulated on the campaign added to the advancement of chilly climate military and endeavor attire. Furthermore, wristwatches.

The British North Greenland Expedition was a joint military-regular citizen mission.

The Tudor Oyster Prince was presented the exact year that the BNGE started, 1952. Rolex and Tudor head Hans Wilsdorf was quick to have the new watches, which were intended for toughness, tried out, however he additionally knew the force of advancement. All things considered, it was he who, route back in 1926, sent Rolex’s new Oyster case across the English Channel around the neck of swimmer Mercedes Gleitze. Tudor provided every one of the men of the BNGE with another Oyster Prince, with the solicitation that they give criticism on the watches’ presentation, both episodic and exact. The men kept logbooks of their watches’ precision against day by day time signals broadcast by the BBC. These logbooks were given to Tudor after the campaign. During the long periods of the endeavor, Tudor additionally utilized it to extraordinary impact in its promoting, promoting its sturdiness under cruel conditions, with advertisements named, “The Tudor Oyster Prince improvises in Greenland.”

Each Oyster Price was to be tried, with the circumstance information logged by each wearer.

The Oyster Prince ref. 7909 was a little, unassuming watch with no date, bolt hands, and a white dial with the Tudor rose logo at 12 o’clock and applied markers. The 34mm treated steel Oyster case was, in the same way as other Rolexes of the day, worked for utility with minimal fancy prosper, with genuinely thick penetrated hauls and a screw-down crown. Inside was a self-winding FEF type 390, which was changed by Tudor from a Fabrique d’Ebauches de Fleurier development clear. The men of the BNGE wore the watches on extra-long calfskin ties for use over the sleeves of their chilly climate attire. The watches, notwithstanding being utilized to time the ordinary assignments of days on campaign, were likewise utilized for route by the Weasel drivers, who might compare the time on their watch to the shadows on their “sun compasses,” since customary compass route was compromised by the nearness to the magnetic North Pole.

A Weasel vehicle alongside one of the RAF supply planes.

One of the men on the undertaking, Captain J.D. Walker of the Royal Engineers, kept in touch with Tudor when he got back to England, to give criticism on his watch:

Dear Sirs,

Having as of late got back to England following thirteen months with the British North Greenland Expedition, I should jump at the chance to communicate my outrageous esteem for the Rolex Tudor Oyster Prince which I wore on my wrist all through my visit with the Expedition.

My obligations required many changed exercises, from stores bumping and cottage working to driving

“Weasels” and canine sledging on the icecap. Temperatures changed from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to – 50 degrees, and on numerous events during the defrost period the watch was unavoidably submerged in water.

Despite these preliminaries, infrequent time signals broadcast from England demonstrated that my Rolex Tudor Prince watch was keeping a surprising exactness. On no event did it need to be twisted by hand. When on the ice-cap away from Base for half a month at an at once, of endless incentive to have on my wrist a watch whose precision could be relied on at all times.

Broadcast signals from the BBC were utilized to confirm the exactness of the Oyster Prince watches.

Another undertaking part who was given an Oyster Prince, was (at that point) Staff Sergeant Desmond “Roy” Homard, a technician via preparing, who had experience keeping up and fixing followed vehicles from his work in post-war Allied Occupied Austria at the Steyr Daimler Puch manufacturing plant. Homard reacted to a promotion enrolling men for the British North Greenland Expedition and his mastery was an ideal fit for dealing with the followed Weasels that would be a vital piece of the endeavor. Homard joined the BNGE in 1953 for its subsequent year, leaving his significant other of three years, Enid, behind in the U.K.

Homard’s work as a specialist implied he was liable for keeping the Weasels running in the difficult states of the Greenland ice cap. “The vehicle work was truly horrible, on the grounds that you’d need to take your gloves off to fix them, in this outrageous cold,” Homard said. “Going around was hard enough a result of chasms, however my work was taking care of vehicles – attempting to change tracks, intruder wheels, drive wheels, springs, motor, gearbox. Doing this external all the time was a horrendous business.”

By the time Homard got back to the U.K., he more likely than not had a desire for cold spots, since he before long endorsed on for a significantly more aspiring undertaking, the intersection of the Antarctic mainland as a feature of the 1956 Trans-Antarctic Expedition drove by renowned polar pioneer Dr. Vivian Fuchs. During this southern visit, Homard turned out to be just the second British dynamic enrolled man to arrive at the South Pole, the other having been Lawrence “Titus” Oates of Captain Scott’s doomed campaign. For his endeavors, Homard was granted the Polar Medal for his work in Greenland, and a fasten introduced by the Queen for his Antarctic campaign. That is just fine, yet what was the fate of Homard’s Tudor watch?

Moving across the Greenland ice cap was unsafe and actually difficult.

When he left for the Antarctic undertaking in 1956, Homard gave up his Oyster Prince, which Enid immediately asserted for her own wrist. Be that as it may, when he got back, she was done wearing it and Homard overlooked it. A long time passed and Enid Homard kicked the bucket, yet not some time before she did, she referenced the watch.

“She said, ‘you realize that Tudor watch you had… ‘ – she’d out of nowhere considered it for reasons unknown,” said Homard. “I said it was a self-winding watch Tudor had given me for the British North Greenland Expedition. In any case, we changed the subject and she didn’t make reference to it once more, and I don’t have a clue why she brought it up. I figured she more likely than not lost it or given it away.”

Homard discovered his watch many years after the fact – in the rear of a cabinet, no less.

Later, Homard recalled the Tudor and searched high and low for it, discovering its unique box in his work area cabinet, yet not the watch. He surrendered for some time, however in 2014 he again flipped around his home until, in the rear of a kitchen cabinet among other bric-a-brac, he discovered it. The watch actually bore the scars and scratches of its intense deployment on Homard’s wrist. He gave it to Tudor, which presently guards the watch in its authentic assortment, where it turned into the profound motivation for the North Flag, a rough watch planned with adventuring in mind.

Major Desmond “Roy” Homard passed on in May 2015, just a brief time after Baselworld, where the North Flag made its debut.

Photos of the Tudor Oyster Prince by Jack Forster. Extra authentic images given by Tudor Watch.