Contributed by Jorgen Junge Busch
The photo is taken by Jorgen Junge Busch end of June 1951 in front of the Danish weatherstation (outside the photo to the right) 'Fish' is about to give my alfa-dog his lt.col. cap on. The photo was taken prior to my assignment with U.S.A.F.
P.S. I consequently use the same spelling of Hassels nickname 'Fisk'
instead of 'Fish', because 'Fisk' is Swedish, as he always used to spell the name.
Jorgen Junge Busch
DK 4300 Holbaek
March 07. 2010
In 1951 I was headhunted by lt. col. 'Fisk' Hassel and col. Bernt Balchen in Thule Greenland. 'Fisk' Hassel was base co. on the coming Thule Air Base, and 'Fisk' told me parts of his life-story.
'Fisk' told me about the flight together with Cramer from USA to Sønder Strømfjord (now Kangerslussuaq). ('Shorty' Cramers later tried to do the same flight, but landed in The North Sea, between England and Denmark, where his wallet was dragged from the bottom by a trawler).
The story I was told, was a little different from what I can read in Ralph Coopers home page.
The story as told me by 'Fisk': In 1924 Fisk and Bernt Balchen met the Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen in Washington (or New York) after Knud Rasmussen, Kavigarssuaq and Arnarulunguaq had finished their dog sledge journey from the eastcoast of Canada to Nome in Alaska. Knud Rasmussen told the two young fliers about possibilities of landing in Greenland, and named the almost plain land in Søder Strømfjord as a good spot for landing and refueling. When 'Fisk' and 'Shorty' came in through the fjord, they saw that fog covered the inner part of the fjord. Therefore ('Fisk) told me) he had to find a place up on the icecap to crash-land the plane, and walk out to the waiting boat. Coming onboard the boat 'Fisk' met an old friend - Peter Freuchen, and together with him, he sailed to Copenhagen, as there was no flight or ship bound for U.S.A.
In Copenhagen Knud Rasmussen met 'Fisk' and Peter Freuchen at 'Grønlands Handels Plads. Onboard the ship they had a good (and wet) lunch. From there they wanted to continue the celebration at Hotel D'Angleterre. 'Fisk' was a swedish-american, and at that time traffic in Sweden was as in England, therefore 'Fisk' insisted upon driving on bicycles in the left side of the road.
'Fisk' was a good base-co. In August 1951 I was on a small dog-sledge expedition in on the icecap. We should plan a route from Thule Air Base to the coming nuclear powered station in there.
'Fisk' came with a C47 (Goony Bird) in over the icecap to 'visit' us, and to drop a hot meal of spare ribs with potatoes and gravy. He also dropped me a note, telling that he was fired as base-co, because officers wanted to have their own club, which 'Fisk' could not approve as long as the base was not finally installed.
In 1953 'Fisk' visited me in Copenhagen. At that time 'Fisk' was stationed in the U.K.
In the near future I intend to write an article about Knud Rasmussens ideas of using aircrafts in the Greenland infrastructure. As written above, I do believe 'Fisk' was the first to make a trans Atlantic flight using Greenland as a step-stone. With the knowledge from what Knud Rasmussen told 'Fisk' and Bernt Balchen, Bernt Balchen could pinpoint places in Greenland where US could place bases as BW1, BW8 and Thule Air Base where an almost natural airstrip were made by 'mother nature'.
Please let me know if the above 'story' is new to You or 'a bum stir'.
P.S. 'Fisk' also told some good stories from his time during World War 2 in Goose Bay, Canada and US Air Base, BW1, in southern Greenland.