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Trans Arctic Submarine Expedition

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Wilkins crew before the expedition
Wilkins crew before the expedition
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

Lt. H.W. Ross

Harry Zoelter, Oiler

Sir Hubert Wilkins

John A. Janson, Oiler

LCdr Sloan Danenhower

H. Rothchild, Cook

J. Strohm, Machinist

H. Carl Schnetter, Engineer

Clearance D. Holland, Assistant, Engineer

Frank D. Shaw, Chief Engineer

F.A. Blumberg, Chief Electrician

Raymond E. Meyers, Radioman

Cornleius P. Royster, Electrician

Edward J. Clark, Chief Quartermaster

Sir Hubert Wilkins and his crew before the expedition posing in their new
closely-knit camel's hair clothing prior to leaving the US for the trip to the north pole.

Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

You will notice that the men in the photo above and the photo below are not all the same men.
Some crew left the boat in England and others in Norway and were replaced by others willing to go.
There was much misgivings about the mission by some men after the submarine brokedown
in mid-Atlantic just after the journey started and had to be towed to England for repairs.
There are reports that there may have been some sabotage of the mission by some members.

Wilkins crew after the failed expedition
Wilkins crew after the failed expedition.
Left to right the men are:

(front row)
Frank D. Shaw; H. Carl Schnetter;
Clearance D. Holland; Frank Crilley and Raymond E. Meyers

(back row)
Harry Zoelter; Raymond Drakio; Cornleius Royster;
Vadien Stayrakov; Edward Clark; John A. Janson
The caption with the photo says:

"Home from the perilous dash---in polar bound submarine.
Eleven members of the crew of the Polar-Bound submarine Nautilus.
Arriving on the S.S. American Banker today (Monday) following
the near fatal culmination of their daring dash through the Arctic
Circle. Although the party did not cross the pole, plans are already
progressing for another attempt in a more adequately-equiped
submarine. " (photo taken October 5, 1931)

Photo courtesy of Donald W. DeCoster, TMC(SS) USN-Ret.

Wilkins used various means to finance his expedition under the ice.
Leica cameras in kind used him to boost sales of their camera.

Simon Lake demonstrating the ice drill
How the Nautilus drill will overcome the ice hazard.
This photo taken in Yonkers, NY shows Simon Lake, inventor of the ice drill
demonstrating his drill after it was installed on Nautilus. This was to be an
integral part of the equipment for the sub. The drill was to allow the submarine
to bore a hole up to the surface and allow the crew to draw in fresh air to
breath and run the diesels to charge batteries for under water/ice work and
movement and also it was to allow the crew to exit the sub and climb on to the ice surface.

Wilkins-Ellsworth Trans Arctic Expedition Radiogram blank form.
Photo courtesy of James H. Johnson,

Wilkins-Ellsworth Trans Arctic Expedition Letter envelope with the imprint of Ray Myers, the Chief Radio Operator.
Photo courtesy of James H. Johnson,

Wilkins-Ellsworth Trans Arctic Expedition stationary with the imprint of Ray Myers, the Chief Radio Operator.
Photo courtesy of James H. Johnson,

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