1943 - Third British Invasion to Argentine Antarctica

Under development of the 2nd World War, the British Crown planed a new invasion of Argentine Antarctica, which was planned and carried out under the name of Operation Tabarín.

There were several reasons for this operation;

 In 1937, before the start of the WWII, a German plane dropped markers with German flags through the Queen Maud Land in an attempt to create a territorial claim.

In 1943, British sailors HMS "Carnarvon Castle", retired Argentine flags of the Deception Island.

There was also concern at the Foreign Office on the direction of the U.S. post-war activity in the region.

So, one reason was to establish solid British claims on several uninhabited islands and parts of Antarctica, strengthened by the sympathy of Argentina to Germany.

The British also had the need to deny opportunities to the German enemy, who was known for using remote islands as points and as refuges for ships, submarines and supply ships.

In addition, in 1941, there had been concern that Japan might try to seize the Malvinas Islands, either as a base or to pass on to Argentina, or gaining political advantage for the Axis and denying its use to the British.

Decepcion Island in the South Shetland Islands, claimed by the United Kingdom (as well as Chile and Argentina), had a sheltered harbor with an old Norwegian whaling station.

In 1941 the English gunship Transport HMS "Queen of Bermuda" took care to destroy deposits of coal and oil tanks to prevent their potential use by Germans.

Also the operation may have been partly an exercise in disinformation, nominally to detect the suspected German naval replenishment activity - information that was, in fact, obtained from deciphering the Enigma Machine.

Concealed among the many causes of the war, the look of postwar England was made ​​by its intention to deny the Argentina all strategic locations in Antarctica feasible to develop as permanent Antarctic bases (Winter).

New Invasion of the Argentinean Antarctica "Operation Tabarín"

Commanded by British Lieutenant Commander James Marr , the invasion force comprised of Minesweeper HMS "William Scoresby", the frigate HMS "Fitzroy" and Destroyer HMS "EAGLE" sailed from the Malvinas Islands on Saturday January 29, 1944.


The captain Marr had accompanied the British explorer Ernest Shackleton on his Antarctic expeditions in años1920.

During the operation, several bases were installed during February. Near the abandoned Norwegian whaling station on Decepcion Island (February 3), where the British flag was hoisted to replace existing Argentine flags and Port Lockroy (February 11) on the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Another base was installed at Esperanza Bay (Hope Bay) on February 13, 1945, after a failed attempt to unload supplies on 7 February 1944.

British territorial claims were further reinforced by the issuance of postage stamps on these bases.

The decision to launch Operation Tabarin was apparently not a political decision of the prime minister Winston Churchill, who was abroad, and a memorandum sent by him, following the news on the bases in the press, also indicates that he was not apparently aware of the operation.

In the memorandum, expressed concern that the move harms relations with the United States in preparation for Operation Overlord (the Normandy invasion).

A replica of the Foreign Office indicates that the operation was launched not because the United States would not recognize British claims to the territory, but to support British territorial claims against the incursions of Argentina and Chile.

Development of Invasion in the post-war

Following the end of the war, in 1945 the basis of Operation Tabarin were passed to civilians in the Malvinas Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS), renowned as subsequentemente British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

With the Antarctic Treaty possession of the South Shetland Islands has already been decided. British claims, Argentine and Chilean on the islands, without being abandoned, had been set aside to allow the continuation of scientific research.

United States and Russia had reserved their right to make territorial claims.

Four vacant British bases have been declared historic sites and monuments under the Antarctic Treaty system.

These are:

Base A - Port Lockroy 64 ° 49'S 63 ° 31'W. Gaudier Island, close to Wiencke Island, Antarctic Peninsula. Historical importance as the basis of Operation Tabarin and scientific research in 1943.

Base F - Argentine Islands 65 ° 15'S 64 ° 16'W. Winter Island, west _ the Argentine Islands. Historical interest, one of the first British bases.

Base Y - Horseshoe Island 67 ° 49'S 67 ° 18'W. Marguerite Bay. West Antarctic Peninsula.

Base E - Stonington Island 68 ° 11'S 67 ° 00'W. North Stonington Island, Marguerite Bay, western Antarctic Peninsula. Importance from early stages of exploration and surveying service in the 1960s and 1970s.