University of Saskatchewan


"Their natural ingenuity, good judgement, practical skill, and willingness to perform hard work would have made any program successful."

- G.G. Shepherd,
"The Legacy of Auroral Observations at Chesterfield Inlet"



"Our Polar Year ended with the waning of summer, 1933. We voyaged south on the Hudson's Bay schooner, Fort Severn, arriving at Churchill about the 16th of September."

- Frank Davies

Expedition boxes ready to be
taken aboard the Fort Severn,
13 September 1933.

Views from aboard the Fort Severn.

Views from aboard the Fort Severn.

Views from aboard the Fort Severn.

"Johnnie Rae and Stuart McVeigh had to sleep in the hold because there were not enough bunks in the cabin…Rae and McVeigh tried to look cheerful coming out of the hold: they'd been sharing it with a whole bunch of other passengers (and their dogs) picked up along the way, and the fact that they smiled broadly was a credit to them both."

- Frank Davies

Rea and McVeigh aboard the
HBC schooner, Fort Severn.

Stuart McVeigh joined the staff of Canadian Celanese Ltd. in Drummondville, Quebec, in 1934. He married Dorothy Bews in January 1935; and died suddenly in April, 1935.


John Rae also died at an early age some years later, survived by his wife and several children.


Frank Davies returned to the Carnegie Institute, where he remained until 1939. Following World War II Davies joined the Defence Research Board in Ottawa. He retired as Director-General of the Defence Research Telecommunication Establishment in 1969, and died in 1981.

Frank Davies.

Balfour Currie returned to the University of Saskatchewan where he remained throughout his career, serving variously as Head of the Department of Physics, Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, and Vice-president (Research). He died in 1981.

Balfour W. Currie.

"The scientists at Chesterfield Inlet…were a group of very dedicated, disciplined, inventive, and hardy people…At the end of the polar year, the International Polar Commission found the work of this group so valuable that it asked Canada to continue to maintain the Chesterfield Inlet station.

Some of the future giants of Canadian science received thorough practical education during the Second International Polar Year…Although not all the data from the Second International Polar Year could be analyzed because of the interruption of the world war, it has been estimated that the information gathered was worth 'hundreds of millions of dollars' world-wide for telecommunications alone."

- The Polar Years -
Voyage From the Ends of the Earth into Space

Members of the Expedition.

"The real legacy of Chesterfield Inlet is not a string of discoveries, but rather the number of upper atmospheric and space scientists, who trained at the University of Saskatchewan and now are working throughout Canada and other parts of the world. It was only because of Currie's success at Chesterfield Inlet, and in gleaning the results afterwards, that the University of Saskatchewan was able to embark on upper atmospheric physics at such an opportune time, in the early fifties. Currie's contribution enabled Canada to participate actively in space science in the latter part of the 1950-60 decade. That is the real legacy of Chesterfield Inlet and Balfour Currie."

- G.G. Shepherd,

The Legacy of Auroral Observations at Chesterfield Inlet


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