Arctic submarine venture

Here’s an article from the November 15 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a planned polar submarine expedition.

Sir Hubert Wilkins (1888-1958) was born in Australia, the youngest of 13 children. During World War I, he served as a combat photographer and assumed command of a group of American soldiers who had lost their officers. After the war, he spent two years documenting the bird life of Northern Australia. He and a co-pilot explored the drift ice of Alaska in an airplane and then flew from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Spitzbergen, Norway in 1928. This earned Wilkins his knighthood.

In 1931, Wilkins took the submarine Nautilus on an expedition to the North Pole. The submarine was plagued by mechanical problems, but he was able to prove that submarines could navigate under polar ice.

Apparently, Wilkins was not able to assemble the necessary funding for further exploration of the North Pole. During 1937, he was enlisted to assist in the search for a Russian pilot who had been lost over the Arctic Ocean.

Wilkins appeared as a guest on What’s My Line? on March 16 1958. He died suddenly in a hotel room later that year. His ashes were taken to the North Pole aboard the submarine USS Skate in 1959.

The American Philosophical Society website and the Dartmouth College Library have more information on Wilkins and his Nautilus expedition, YouTube has footage of him visiting Canada in 1937.

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