Album, "In memory of the Amundsen-Ellsworth polar flight 1925"
In connection with Nansen-Amundsen Year 2011 the Preus Museum offers the photo album:

"In memory of the Amundsen-Ellsworth polar flight 1925"

Frederick A. Cook and Robert Peary are, in fact, thought to have been at the North Pole earlier, and with the airship Norge, Amundsen, Ellsworth, and Nobile flew over the pole the next year. Nevertheless the polar flight in the early summer of 1925 remains the most spectacular.

To summarize the story briefly, Amundsen set out on his polar flight in 1925 with economic support from Lincoln Ellsworth, the son of a millionaire. The two Dornier-Wal flying boats were made in Italy. The crew of ship N24 was pilot Leif Dietrichson, navigator Lincoln Ellsworth, and mechanic Leif Omdal; in N25 were pilot Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen, navigator Roald Amundsen, and mechanic Feucht.

The planes started from Kings Bay in Ny-Ålesund (New Ålesund) 21 May 1925 and made an emergency landing at 87.43 degrees north. In the course of the following three weeks the men fought the battle of their lives. With primitive equipment they cleared tons of ice to make a runway for N25, after N24 had been destroyed during the emergency landing. Therefore their only possibility was that all of them had to save themselves by returning in the one plane.

On June 15 they succeeded miraculously in taking off. About the flight back to civilization Amundsen wrote in the book "Gjennom luften til 88 grader nord": "And now started the flight which will take its place amongst the most supreme in flights history. An 850 kilometers flight with death as the nearest neighbour. One must remember that we had thrown practically everything away from us. Even though we managed by a miracle to get away with our lives, after a forced landing, still our days were numbered." (Amundsen, “Our Polar Flight” –New York, Dodd, Mead and co, 1925, p. 81).

Until late on June 17 the world had lived in uncertainty about what had happened to the expedition. N25 had with great fortune managed to reach the north side of Svalbard, where by further good fortune it could land in the open harbor and was found by the fishing boat "Sjøliv." The crew, which at first was unable to recognize the men now so heavily bearded and thin, brought them proudly back to civilization. From Svalbard the triumphant journey went back to the capital via the coal steamer "Selmer." In the naval city of Horten the expedition participants again boarded N25 and flew in a procession with naval flying boats along the Oslo fjord to a reception from a jubilant capital.

The pages of the album are without captions or texts. Thus during cataloging one sees the need for details of the background story, especially in the case of this album: its pages lack logical sequencing of the chronology of events.

The two pictures on the album's first page are an example. They are of Amundsen and Ellsworth, each in front of his Dornier-Wal plane just before take-off May 21. The pictures on the following pages then jump back in time and show the readying on the Norwegian coast of the escort ships "Hobby" and "Farm." On a page near the end of the album one encounters this non-chronological sequencing again. Among the pictures of the return of the N25 to Ny-Ålesund there is a photo of the two Dornier-Wal planes in flight when they took off from there more than three weeks earlier. Without knowing better one would believe it was the N25 in the air with another plane after the return.

Finally mention may be made of the picture of the dead polar bear with a dog. The photo is placed with the motifs from the air journey to the North Pole, but the polar bear was shot by the crew of the escort ship "Hobby" while it patrolled the Norwegian coast searching for the planes. The ship's dog Sally was the one on top of the polar bear.

List of sources: Roald Amundsen et al., "Gjennom luften til 88 grader nord" (Gyldendal, 1925—available in English as "Through the Air to 88 Degrees" or as “Our Polar Flight” ); Olav Gynnild, "Den hvite ørnen – himmelseileren Roald Amundsen" (available in English as "The White Eagle: Roald Amundsen, Sailor of the Skies"); Tor Bomann-Larsen: "Roald Amundsen" (Cappelens Forlag a.s. 1997—available in English under the same title). Film: "Roald Amundsen-Lincoln Ellsworth flyveekspedisjon [air expedition] 1925". Nansen-Amundsen-året [Nansen-Amundsen Year] 2011, Norsk Polarinstitutt: www.nansenamundsen.no/no/ressursbase/filmer.html.
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