The search for the The MacAlpine Expedition. The dairy makes a note about Col. MacAlpine and others, so I would say that this is an account from the search
The Diary of Bill Spence, Pilot
November 12th, 1929 :
Clear and cold. Prepare to leave for Reliance. Kenyon and party arrive from Bathurst Post of H.B.C., and Andy does a satisfactory test. Leave finally at 12:00 and are forced down in Muskox Lake by fog at 2:00 p.m. Spend night on the ice. Very crowded. Six men sleeping in our tent - Col. MacAlpine, Col. Cornwall, R. Pierce, G. Blanchet, E.G. Longley, and myself.
November 13th, 1929 :
Snow and S.E. storm all day. Spend most of day inside tent listening to Pierce's story of the lost expedition. Very crowded again, but sleep well at night. Weather clearing.
November 14th, 1929 :
Clear, calm, and cold. First up in a.m., and prepare for departure. Trouble getting skis loose from snow. In taking off hit heavy drift and part of fuselage of C.Z. breaks. Other Machines all get off, but land again and pick up my party, drop T. Siers, and leave at 12:40 for Reliance.
November 15th, 1929 :
Snow and S.E. storm. Siers and Longley work on machine using frying pan handle to splice broken stub. Build up snow walls and prepare meals for the others. Very dead day. Pen freezes up while writing diary. Hope to have machine serviceable tomorrow.
November 16th, 1929 :
Stormy with N.E. wind. Get up about 10:00 a.m., and Tommy and Longley complete work on machine. Weather clearing later, but still dead. Turns windy with heavy ground drift and clear and cold night. Tommy and I walk to end of lake in evening.
November 17th, 1929 :
Calm and clear, except S.W., where fog is heavy. Have engine heated and ready to start by noon, but no plane appears. Gas supply now too low to reach Reliance. Visit survey mounment in afternoon. Tommy and I walk up the lake. Tommy has a shot at a fox, but misses. To bed 6:00 p.m. N.E. winds blowing. Very cold.
November 18th, 1929 :
Cloudy with north ground drift, Sleep till noon. Bacon and tea only today for breakfast. Wind dropping in p.m. and weather clearing. Tommy and Longley go for walk. I get grub ready for evening meal and write up diary. Very cold in tent. Cold night in prospect, but hope for plane tomorrow.
November 19th, 1929 :
Ground drift with N.W. wind. Dug out water hole in ice. Tommy and Longley go for a short walk. Tommy gets into water on top of ice, but no ill effects. To bed early. Supper in bed for Tommy and Longley, consisting of soup and raisins.
November 20th, 1929 :
Very heavy ground drift. Tommy and Longley stay in bed till 2:30 p.m., later they get water and fill stove with gasoline. Stove going in tent most of day. Wind dying down in evening, and weather clearing. Hope for calm weather tomorrow. Rations pretty low now.
November 22nd, 1929 :
Very lovely day. No wind and almost completely clear. Look anxiously for planes. Very cold in evening, but gas very bad when stove going. Find box of sweet biscuits in Pierce's kit. Have supper of ham and sweet biscuits, sardines and ditto with raisins to finish. Get up at night to shoot at fox, but miss him. Night mild with slight snow fall.
November 23rd, 1929 :
Generally calm and clear except for snow clouds to west. Looking for plane. Tie down C.Z. securely. Tommy hunting. Walk to survey monument in p.m. and leave our names in box there. On returning have a shave and feel much better. Very cold evening. Try to shoot fox with aid of flash light, but cannot get a shot at him.
November 24th, 1929 :
Sun rises at 10:00 a.m. Frosty haze in air, but no distinct clouds. Calm. Machine should get through. Grub very low. Our meal will clean up all but ham, tea, and chocolate. My eyes very bad from gas. Tommy and Longley go hunting and return with one ptarmigan.
November 25th, 1929 :
Cloudy with some snow from S.E. in a.m., but clear in p.m. Tommy and I go hunting. Tommy bags a rabbit and I get one ptarmigan. Have good stew for supper. Last of beans go into the pot. Meat and tea now about our sole diet. Very worried about the other machines. Feel sure they have some serious mishap.
November 26th, 1929 :
Clear and cold with very light S.E. wind. Fox climbs on top of tent while we are at breakfast. Shoot him from the doorway of the tent. Tommy and I start out to hunt, but Tommy's feet too cold, so he turns back. Bag nothing and almost freeze fingers. Have fine fox steak for supper with tea and chocolate bars for dessert. Fox very good eating. All clothing getting wet.
November 27th, 1929 :
Clear and calm. having breakfast of rabbit and ptarmigan steaks when Tommy hears plane, and shoots out of bed and the tent. Andy in S.Q. lands. We break camp heat up and try to take off for Brown's wrecked machine in Aylmer Lake. CZ down in revs and S.Q. develops oil trouble, so pitch camp for the night. Lots of grub but night so cold that rum ration freezes in the bottle.
November 28th, 1929 :
Rise at 5:30 a.m. clear and cold with slight ground drift from the north. Trouble heating up CZ and in taking off crack up fuselage further and are forced to abandon plane on Muskox Lake. Board SQ reach Brown and all take off at 12:40 and after quick trip pass out of Barrens and land at Reliance about 2:00 p.m.
Source: The Stuart Graham Papers
Wed, Jan 11 2012 3:37 PM
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