Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

They Could, and They Did

"It was cool having Harry there because he was very much part of the team. He seemed to specialize in building the latrines and he built these incredibly elaborate ones. He did one with castellated sides, a flagpole and a loo roll holder, and you're sitting there thinking, 'This is a real royal flush'. He must have spent about 40 minutes making it."
Dominic West, celebrity patron, expedition raising funds for charity Walking With the Wounded

Reading of other Arctic and Antarctic expeditions of which this was one of the latter, often there would be one person who would stand out for their willingness and ability to build latrine pits to be used by the members of the expedition. In the instance of this particular trek/expedition it fell to Prince Harry of the British royal line who was part of the British team -- challenging a Commonwealth and an U.S. team to be the first to reach the South Pole -- to build his team's latrines.

This would not have been an appointed task, but rather a voluntary one, and it is to his credit that the young scion took with great alacrity to the task. Finding it no doubt, most amusing. Particularly given his aristocratic rank, the profile of the 'homes' that he was raised within, and emulating them in comic miniature as functioning and quite necessary latrines.

"When we got to the Pole a couple of the guys striped naked and ran round the Pole", said West. "It was a sunny day with no wind, so it was safe to do that." And for Sgt. Duncan Slater, of the RAF Regiment, who'd had both legs amputated in 2009 after serving in Afghanistan: "I used my legs (prosthetics) as a primitive ice bucket and wedged the champagne bottle in there and passed them around."

It was undoubtedly a difficult trek for all concerned; horribly difficult but at the same time team spirit was obviously well in order and it turned into an exhilarating experience, particularly in fond retrospect. Temperatures down to minus-50 Centigrade, "horrendous" storms prevailed, and the teams forged on. Because of the deteriorating weather the three teams agreed to join forces to aid one another in their progress.

"The conditions were a lot tougher than we could have expected. The wind and the storms proved horrendous. However, video doesn't lie and Team UK did win. We did. Those are the facts. To the Australian contingent, if you're watching -- sorry.
"On a serious note, inspiring others is one of the cornerstones of this charity, to demonstrate to those who have experienced life-changing injuries that everything is still possible."
Prince Harry, House of Windsor

Prince Harry was toasted for having demonstrated the lighthearted cheek to entertain the expedition by telling "filthy" jokes, familiar perhaps in the atmosphere of the military, but which caused Dominic West to note of he Prince's performance telling "eye-wateringly rude jokes, which for a non-soldier like me was quite shocking."

That, among other issues, certainly the trials and tribulations they faced physically, will be among the fondest memories of all those who took part in the expedition which ended when they reached the Pole on December 13 after hauling along their equipment sleds 200 kilometres on skis.

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