Harry Darlington 3rd
U.S. Naval Reserve
At 19 years of age, Harry Darlington III was the youngest
member of the expedition.† He had been
educated at private schools in the United States
and in France.† Darlington attended Princeton University,
but left prior to
earning a degree.† His
previous employment was with the American Express Company.††† He was the son of Mrs. George Angus
Garrett, Washington, D.C.
His father died when Harry was a child.
Darlington represented the United
States in two- and four-man bobsledding world
championships in Cortina, Italy, and St.
Moritz, Switzerland.† He was a licensed private pilot, lived in Europe for two years, bicycled through six countries, and
spoke French fluently.†† During the
summer of 1939, Darlington accompanied Sir Wilfred Grenfell on a humanitarian
mission to Labrador.††
As general duty personnel, Darlington
became a radio operator on sledge journeys, most notably the Weddell Coast
Sledging Party, led by geologist Paul Knowles.
An interesting and true story about Darlington was the fact
that he smuggled twenty-two bottles of whiskey (cognac, rye, and rum) to Antarctica.† At the
first opportunity, he buried it in the snow.
Darlington apparently believed he could
keep the supply a secret on an island measuring 2500 feet by 1000 feet that was
inhabited by twenty-six men, some of whom were exceedingly thirsty.†† During the winter night several men suspicioned that Darlington
had buried whiskey because they noticed his trips outside with a gee pole that
he used to poke into the ice.† It was
believed that he was checking to make sure his secret whiskey was safe.† After a period of time a couple of men
removed fourteen of the bottles and hid them in three separate caches.† More men began hunting for the wandering
whiskey, one small group found it, and reburied it in a new location.† Darlington
was furious that his whiskey had been stolen, the original thieves were
incensed that the whiskey they had stolen had been stolen from them, and the
small group that had final possession of it got very drunk.†
Prior to departing from Boston
on the USMS North Star, Darlington had joined the U.S. Naval Reserves.† In August 1940, he sent a radio message to
Admiral Byrd in Washington
expressing his desire to become a deck officer in the Navy.† Byrdís reply indicated that Darlingtonís
lack of naval experience and his lack of two years of college would prevent him
from earning a commission in the USNR.
However, upon his return from Antarctica, Darlington
was immediately ordered to active duty in the USNR and was sent to sea.† Darlington
soon decided he wanted to become a commissioned naval aviator, but without the
required two years of college, he did not qualify.† Admiral Byrd intervened and Darlington
was accepted into the flight program.† He
received his wings in Pensacola in 1943, was
assigned to patrol duty in the South Atlantic, later receiving orders to England to fly
combat missions in support of the RAF.
After World War II, Finn Ronne recruited Darlington
to serve as chief pilot on the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition.† Ronneís wife and
Jennie Darlington accompanied the expedition.††††
Darlington died from a stroke in 1996 in Virginia.
Antarctic Service Medal Gold
Contributions:† Darlington served as the radioman for the
Weddell Sea Sledging Party
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