Tuesday, August 2, 2011

JACOB RUPPERT loads Admiral Byrd Expedition

Back in the Day

Drawing from the Pilot’s expansive archive, Virginian-Pilot news researchers Maureen P. Watts and Jakon Hays look back at our local history. We'll post old photos, stories, advertisements, historical front pages and popular columns unearthed from yesterday’s papers; giving readers a glimpse of this region we call Hampton Roads. Feel free to leave comments or remembrances.

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Antarctic expedition began in Norfolk

THERE WAS GREAT EXCITEMENT and activity at Lamberts Point piers on Oct. 16, 1933.
The freighter Jacob Ruppert was here to take on supplies for the second Richard E. Byrd Antarctic Expedition.
The cargo loaded onboard included an automobile, 4,000 tons of coal, 20,000 cases of beer, two Guernsey milk cows and 160 vocal Eskimo sled dogs.
The ship later moved around to Norfolk’s naval base and took on the expedition’s three airplanes: A giant Curtis Wright Condor, a Pilgrim and a Fokker.
The previous evening, CBS had put on a nationwide broadcast from the base at a farewell party for Adm. Byrd. Attendees included Byrd’s wife, his mother and brothers, Virginia Gov. John G. Pollard, singer Kate Smith and a representative from the National Geographic Society.
Byrd was forced to miss the party when he came down with pharyngitis – a sore throat. He instead addressed a worldwide audience from a hastily rigged broadcasting system in his room at the Monticello Hotel.
After extending his stay for a few days to recover from his illness, Byrd and his crew got underway from Norfolk. The explorers would stop for more supplies in Panama and New Zealand before reaching their Antarctic destination.
One of Byrd’s planes being loaded onto the Jacob Ruppert at the Norfolk naval base.

A car is hoisted aboard the Jacob Ruppert

An Eskimo sled dog – one of the 160 aboard the ship.

One of the two cows that will make the trip to Antarctica.

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