November 24, 2008

Monday, 24 November 1908


F. Hjalmar Johansen, ca.1897. [1]

Applications to join Amundsen's expedition began to come in. One was from Hjalmar Johansen, a name that was already familiar to Amundsen.

"I have studied your plan," wrote Johansen, "with the greatest interest, which I in some ways am already familiar with as I took part in the first Fram expedition with Nansen." Having spent the previous winter in Spitsbergen, he said, "[I] realised that I am still not altogether unqualified for such work," giving an account of his experience and ending, "in other respects I refer you to Professor Nansen." [1]

Johansen had joined Nansen's Arctic expedition in 1893, and being an expert dog driver accompanied Nansen on his dash for the Pole, reaching the celebrated Farthest North of 86° 13.6' N before retreating to Franz Josef Land, but after his return to Norway, Johansen had fallen on hard times, exacerbated by alcoholism and a poor business sense. Nansen had helped his old comrade to find work on various expeditions in the Arctic, and now pressed Amundsen to take him.


[1] "Holder foredrag om polfarer Hjalmar Johansen",
[2] Hjalmar Johansen, letter to Roald Amundsen, 24 November, 1908, quoted by Tor Bomann-Larsen in Roald Amundsen (Stroud, Gloucestershire : Sutton, c2006, c1995), p.70.

No comments:

Post a Comment