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HERBERT W. LEECH, Manager Mining Operations Listings

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1 HERBERT W. LEECH, Manager Mining Operations 1919 ARCHIVE OF TWO [2] ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT NOTEBOOK AND DIARY OF ARCTIC EXPLORATION AND MARBLE MINING IN THE FAR NORTH OF NORWAY WITH THE THREAT OF BOLSHEVISM LOOMING BY THE MANAGER FOR THE NORTHERN EXPLORATION COMPANY
SPITZBERGEN GREEN HARBOUR NORWAY 1919 Manuscript Very Good 
On offer is an exceptional archive of two [2] significant, historical handwritten note book and diary of Herbert W. Leech, Manager of the Marble Dept of The Northern Exploration Company (NEC) in 1919. It is very interesting reading of the troubles this operation had as the books entirely describe through letters, notations and diary entries all the work and grief his operations suffered. Herbert Leech, the Manager, reports in the letter copies to his superior Mr. W. Holmboe in Tromso, from the MINA I, Spitzbergen, Recherche Bay or Green and King's Harbors. It appears right from the start that Leech was in a sad way as he reports of the ship being unsatisfactory, breakdowns continual, delays everywhere and always problems with the staff or contractors [carpenters especially it seems] and he complained of near open mutiny with staff, some calling in sick for no reason, others barely maintaining a guise as it appears this summer venture was ill-advised or doomed for other reasons. He writes the details of his needs and progress during the expedition including the never ending problems with the ship and his men as well as requests for supplies and spare parts for the engine etc. There are letters telling of the men refusing to work after disagreements over contracts and the continued intoxication of the steward. There are some details of their geological discoveries and the conditions they had to endure. There is a list of expenses incurred on the journey to Tromso, Norway and other expense lists including wages of the men etc. The daily diary kept for approximately 3 months of the expedition during July to September in 1919 include details of the mineral deposits they had found in each area with estimated mining output and estimates of the cost of plant and buildings required to open a mine. The area they are surveying is around Spitsbergen including Green Harbour and Kings Bay. There are also geographical, geological and technical notes throughout too. The NEC, [the famous explorer Shackleton was a large shareowner and involved in operations], was a British firm firmly established in Norway's Northern and Arctic mining and exploration activities. These books are placed in a very important time as WWI had just ended and the rise of Bolshevism are pertinent as part of the historical backdrop. This is an entirely unique grouping and intimate glimpse into early 20th century arctic exploration and a rare look into their lives as historic explorers. The script is mainly in pencil and reasonably clear to read. HISTORICAL CITINGS: A: Shackleton now became involved in an undercover enterprise. A company, the Northern Exploration Company, was preparing an expedition to Spitsbergen. Shackleton was asked to be the leader. Ostensibly, the company was going to mine mineral claims owned since 1910 by the company. Since 1910 the Germans had a meteorological station at Ebeltofthaven in West Spitsbergen, which was only withdrawn at the start of the war. Spitsbergen was a delicate issue as it was administered by Norway, a neutral country. With the backing of the British Government, the Northern Exploration Company could establish a British presence on the islands. To prove it's commitment, the government provided the expedition with an armed merchant ship, the ELLA. Frank Wild, now commissioned as a temporary lieutenant in northern Russia, was selected by Shackleton as his assistant. By the middle of August, Shackleton was in northern Norway, at Troms°, on his way to Spitsbergen; it was the first time he had crossed the Arctic Circle. It was in Troms° that Shackleton suddenly became ill. He "changed colour very badly", as McIlroy put it. He suspected a heart attack. Shackleton refused to undress so McIlroy could listen to his heart. This was the first hint that Shackleton might be suffering from heart disease. Shackleton had to turn back, arriving in London in early September. Meanwhile, the leadership of the expedition was placed under Frank Wild. The northern Russia campaign, said General Ironside, "was a side show of the Great War". Soldiers could hardly be spared from the front lines so troops were scraped from the bottom of the barrel to be sent to Russia. At this point, no one was going to worry about the condition of Shackleton's heart. Early in October Shackleton sailed for Murmansk. As Shackleton wrote, it was a "job after my own heart...winter sledging with a fight at the end". As he crossed the Barents Sea, he wrote to Janet Stancomb-Wills, "All is sheer beauty and keen delight. The very first...snow-squalls bring home to us the memories of our old South Lands. There is a freshness in the air, a briskness in the breeze that renews one's youth". "This day 3 years (ago) the 'Endurance' was crushed in the ice," Shackleton wrote to his younger son Edward, on October 26, "and we all were...sleeping on, rather moving about on, the moving ice with no home to go to. I have been to many places since then, now it is the other end of the world". Shackleton had just landed at Murmansk. A fortnight later, on November 11, the Armistice was signed. The war with Germany was over. However, war in northern Russia was not yet at an end; the Allied forces were now fighting the Bolsheviks instead. The north Russia force had attracted various polar explorers: Macklin, Worsley and Hussey from the ENDURANCE EXPEDITION; Stenhouse, from the AURORA branch of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition; Victor Campbell, the leader of Scott's Northern Party; Dr. Edward Atkinson, from the Scott camp and Dr. Eric Marshall from the NIMROD EXPEDITION. Shackleton's official job description was "Staff officer in charge of Arctic equipment". In all actuality, he was a glorified storekeeper. He had done most of his work in London and the outfits he now provided were doubtful; his own expeditions had been struggles against poorly designed equipment and clothing. The American troops in the region discarded the Shackleton clothing and boots and reverted to their own. Shackleton was now kept at headquarters in Murmansk with little to do. Shackleton wrote to Emily, "I have not been too fit lately. I am tired darling a bit and just want a little rest away from the world and you". The strain of a divided self was showing itself in Shackleton. "I am strictly on the water wagon now", he wrote to Emily at the end of January, 1919. He got thoroughly drunk on Christmas Day and, in his own words, "after a thought I have cut it right out it does me no good and I can tell my imagination is vivid enough without alcohol it makes me extravagant in ideas and I lose balance...I did not upset my superiors everyone was awash only it seems to take different people different ways. If I had not some strength of will I would make a first class drunkard". Shackletons' affairs were in a poor state; money was in short supply. Emily was fending for herself while Cecily was at Roedean and Ray, the eldest boy, was at Harrow. Shackleton hoped to cover the school fees from selling shares of his stock in the Northern Exploration Company, but the transaction never happened. By the end of March, 1919, Shackleton was back in London and demobilized after five months in the field. He was regarded well enough by The Times that an interview was requested. In that interview, Shackleton stated that nearly half a million people "threw in their lot with us...against the Bolshevist menace. It is thus not merely a question of saving our own troops, but a moral obligation to civilization...No domestic or political consideration should be allowed to interfere with steps being taken immediately to prevent anything in the nature of a reverse to our arms in these regions...In Murmansk, as elsewhere, the peasant is not a Bolshevist...but without armed support he is helpless...do not let us be too late...the British people do not yet realize what Bolshevism means...it is...becoming far worse than German militarism". CITING B) The Northern Exploration Company (NEC), which annexed large expanses of land in Svalbard, is engraved into Svalbard history. NEC's land annexations were concentrated where the most profitable mineral deposits were thought to be found. The company was founded in 1910 and was most active in the years around World War I. The background for the activity was the numerous occupations carried out by Ernest Mansfield in Svalbard prior to 1910. NEC bought his land occupations in 1911 and started the construction of Ny-London and the promising marble quarry at Blomstrandhalv°ya in Kongsfjorden. NEC owned and operated many mines and prospects in Svalbard, most of which were to exploit coal. Other mineral deposits were also prospected, such as zinc, asbestos, iron and marble. Optimism prevailed, despite frequent loss of capital in prospects that never materialized. They were big landowners, but produced close to nothing. This was the era of Neo-Industrialism and in Svalbard there was a Klondike-like atmosphere in which everyone was affected by the fervour for mineral deposits. Investment capital was readily accessible. The optimism and vitality of the NEC has left many cultural remains. The NEC annexation signs can be found in all the areas they were active, with text in three languages to make sure everyone understood this was NEC's land. Transporting equipment to Svalbard was long, trying and expensive and the work seasons were short and hectic. The value of the buildings and equipment itself was often less than the cost of disassembly and transport back to the mainland. Installations were therefore often left on site and can today be seen as a witness to dreams for quick profit in enterprises that were discontinued after only a few years of trial operations To summarize: An historic first hand primary account and telling of the 1919 Summer season for the Northern Exploration Company through the manager's diary and letters including: 1) a book of letter-copy letters to head office, some suppliers with tucked in notes, receipts [60+ pages]; then 2) a book of financial dealings [30+ pages] and lastly and most importantly his diary [65+ pages]. This is a 7 x 5 inch, flip style notebook and has some scattered technical, geographic, technical notes. OVERALL VG. 
Price: 9855.99 USD
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