Scope and Contents
With correspondence and notes of Ralph Barker, author of 'The Blockade Busters', 1974-80.
Mainly in English, with some items in Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and French.
- 1939 - 1982
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Biographical / Historical
As an undergraduate he was recruited to organize and be secretary of the Oxford University Spitsbergen Expedition, 1921, and subsequently led the Merton College Arctic Expedition, 1923, and the Oxford University Arctic Expedition, 1924. He pioneered the use of the seaplane for Arctic survey work. He was employed by the Hudson Bay Company, 1926-30, and United Steel Companies Ltd, 1930-9, where he was responsible for establishing an extensive export network. He travelled widely in the course of his work and developed a particular empathy for Iran.
In 1939 he was recruited by Iron and Steel Control, Ministry of Supply, as their representative in Sweden to purchase steel, machine tools and ball-bearings essential to the British armament industries. Following the German invasion of Denmark and Norway, which cut Sweden off to the west, he masterminded two operations to run supplies past the blockade: Operation Rubble, January 1941, and Operation Performance, March 1942. He was working under the guise of Assistant Commercial Attaché to the British legation in Stockholm but was expelled from Sweden nonetheless. He returned as a Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve to oversee Operation Bridford, 1943. Invalided out following a heart attack, he was involved in Operation Moonshine to run arms via Sweden to the Danish resistance, 1944-5.
After the war, he returned to United Steel Companies Ltd and also led a British trade and industrial mission to Ghana, 1959.
He died on 27 September 1972.
He was knighted, 1941, and appointed DSO, 1944. He was awarded the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for his Arctic exploration, 1957.
His publications include: "With Seaplane and Sledge in the Arctic" (1925) and "The Eskimo Book of Knowledge" (1931).
11 archive box(es)
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Immediate Source of Acquisition
- 2005-03-08 09:55:48+00:00
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