DA: Terry, we know you as the “Postman” but what do you exactly do?
TL: I travel south to Antarctica primarily to issue the new stamps for the British Antarctic Territory. These are not necessarily collector’s stamps but the stamps they use down there. But they could be very valuable in  years. Also, normally their mail gets carried by the JCR from Stanley post office whether I am onboard or not, but I didn’t bring any this time. On this trip, I am also taking mail out of Rothera.
DA: Where do you come from originally?
TL: Emsworth, in the UK.
DA: How long have you been the British Antarctic Territory Postal Clark?
TL: Over 10 years now. Once every 2 years I have to make this trip on the JCR. My first trip was on the Shackleton. When I am not on a ship, I work at a one of the schools in the UK, part time. I am not yet retired, I have 4 more years before retiring.
DA: Do you get seasick?
TL: I got seasick once. Then I got used to it. How long I am onboard depends on the ship’s itenerary. It can be little as 6 weeks or 3 months. So usually I get over it fast.
DA: We took stamps to Rothera. Are there clarks like you that travel to other bases?
TL: There’s one other I know of. We issued the stamps at Rothera, but they are sent to other bases as well. The ships or airplanes carry them, along with the rest of their the mail.
DA: On this trip you are carrying an important set of stamps, are you not?
TL: Yes, we have the centennial stamp collection for the 100th anniversary of Scott’s expedition to the south pole, 1910-1912. That is 2 sets of 8 stamps. They are made from photographs of Ponting , who was the photographer on Scott’s expedition.
DA: Is your family back at home?
TL: My wife is in Emsworth. I have twins; Graham works for a cable company selling all kinds of cable. Rachel works for the Ministry of Defense.
DA: What do you do on your free time?
TL: I collect stamps, I like to read Polar books. I take lots of photos and videos, and slides on my trips. My first time traveling to Antarctica was 2000, so I have a lot of them. Since that time, I’ve seen some modifications to Signy base, also quite a drastic reduction in snow around South Georgia Island. This worries me.
DA: What has been the most memorable out of your trips since 2000?
TL:The wildlife on all trips have been amazing. Coming thru the Lemaire channel in 2006, we saw some penguins on an ice floe with 3-4 killer whales around. They weren’t spyhopping — they had already located the where the penguins were. They were trying to rock the ice floe over to eat them! Also at Signy, one of the rubber boats(small boats the JCR has) was being chased by a leopard seal!

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1 Comment on Terry Lay – British Antarctic Territory Postal Clerk

  1. Dorothy says:

    Postal Clerk? Amazing!

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