James Clark Ross

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Sir

James Clark Ross

James Clark Ross (cropped).jpg
Born(1800-04-15)15 April 1800
Finsbury Square, London. England, United Kingdom
Died3 April 1862(1862-04-03) (aged 61)
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire , England, United Kingdom
Buried
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  Royal Navy
Service years1812–1862
Rank Captain
Expeditions Ross expedition (1839–1843)
Awards
Spouse(s)
Ann Coulman
(m. 1843)
Relations Sir John Ross  (uncle)

Sir James Clark Ross FRS FLS FRAS (15 April 1800 – 3 April 1862) was a British Royal Navy officer and polar explorer known for his explorations of the Arctic, participating in two expeditions led by his uncle Sir John Ross, and four led by Sir William Parry, and, in particular, for his own Antarctic expedition from 1839 to 1843.

Contents

Biography

Arctic exploration

Ross was born in London, the nephew of Sir John Ross, under whom he entered the Royal Navy in 1812, accompanying him on Sir John's first Arctic voyage in search of a Northwest Passage in 1818. Between 1819 and 1827, Ross took part in four Arctic expeditions under Sir William Parry, and in 1829 to 1833, again served under his uncle on Sir John's second Arctic voyage. It was during this trip that a small party led by James Ross (including Thomas Abernethy) located the position of the North Magnetic Pole on 1 June 1831, on the Boothia Peninsula in the far north of Canada. It was on this trip, too, that Ross charted the Beaufort Islands, later renamed Clarence Islands by his uncle. [1] [2]

In 1834, Ross was promoted to captain. In December 1835, he offered his services to the Admiralty to resupply 11  whaling ships which had become trapped in Baffin Bay. They accepted his offer, and he set sail in HMS Cove in January 1836. The crossing was difficult, and by the time he had reached the last known position of the whalers in June, all but one had managed to return home. Ross found no trace of this last vessel, William Torr, which was probably crushed in the ice in December 1835. [3] He returned to Hull in September 1836 with all his crew in good health.

From 1835–1839, except for his voyage with Cove, he conducted a magnetic survey of Great Britain with Sir Edward Sabine.[ citation needed ]

Antarctic exploration

Ross expedition in the Antarctic, 1847, by John Carmichael HMS Erebus and Terror in the Antarctic by John Wilson Carmichael.jpg
Ross expedition in the Antarctic, 1847, by John Carmichael

Between 1839 and 1843, Ross commanded HMS Erebus on his own Antarctic expedition and charted much of the continent's coastline. Captain Francis Crozier was second-in-command of the expedition, commanding HMS Terror. Support for the expedition had been arranged by Francis Beaufort, hydrographer of the Navy and a member of several scientific societies. On the expedition was Joseph Dalton Hooker, who had been invited along as assistant ship's surgeon. Erebus and Terror were bomb vessels—an unusual type of warship named after the mortar bombs they were designed to fire and constructed with extremely strong hulls, to withstand the recoil of the heavy weapons. The ships were selected for the Antarctic mission as being able to resist thick ice, as proved true in practice. [4] [5]

In 1841, James Ross discovered the Ross Sea, Victoria Land, and the volcanoes Mount Erebus and Mount Terror, which were named for the expedition's vessels. They sailed for 250 nautical miles (460 km) along the edge of the low, flat-topped ice shelf they called variously the Barrier or the Great Ice Barrier, later named the Ross Ice Shelf in his honour. The following year, he attempted to penetrate south at about 55° W, and explored the eastern side of what is now known as James Ross Island, discovering and naming Snow Hill Island and Seymour Island.

Ross reported that Admiralty Sound appeared to him to have been blocked by glaciers at its southern end. [6] Ross's ships arrived back in England on 4 September 1843. He was awarded the Grande Médaille d'Or des Explorations in 1843, knighted in 1844, and elected to the Royal Society in 1848. [7]

Search for Franklin's lost expedition

"E.I. 1849": Enterprise and Investigator, inscribed by a crew member of the Ross expedition on Somerset Island E&I 1849 Somerset Island.jpg
"E.I. 1849": Enterprise and Investigator, inscribed by a crew member of the Ross expedition on Somerset Island

In 1848, Ross was sent on one of three expeditions to find Sir John Franklin. The others were the Rae–Richardson Arctic expedition and the expedition aboard HMS Plover and HMS Herald through the Bering Strait. He was given command of HMS Enterprise, accompanied by HMS Investigator, [8] Because of heavy ice in Baffin Bay he only reached the northeast tip of Somerset Island where he was frozen in at Port Leopold. In the spring he and Francis McClintock explored the west coast of the island by sledge. He recognized Peel Sound but thought it too ice-choked for Franklin to have used it. In fact Franklin had used it in 1846 when the extent of sea ice had been atypically low. The next summer he tried to reach Wellington Channel but was blocked by ice and returned to England.[ citation needed ]

Personal life

He was married to Lady Ann Coulman. [9] He died at Aylesbury in 1862, five years after his wife. A blue plaque marks Ross's home in Eliot Place, Blackheath, London. [10] His closest friend was Francis Crozier, with whom he sailed many times.

He also lived in the ancient House of the Abbots of St. Albans in Buckinghamshire. He is buried with his wife in the local churchyard of St. James the Great, Aston Abbotts. In the gardens of the Abbey there is a lake with two islands, named after the ships Terror and Erebus. [11]

In fiction

Ross, played by British actor Richard Sutton, is a secondary character in the 2018 AMC television series The Terror, portrayed in a fictionalized version of his 1848 search for Franklin's lost expedition, as well as in the 2007 Dan Simmons novel on which the series is based. Ross is also mentioned continuously by Jules Verne in his novel The Adventures of Captain Hatteras .[ citation needed ]

Tributes

See also

Related Research Articles

John Ross (Royal Navy officer)

Sir John Ross was a Scottish Royal Navy officer and polar explorer. He was the uncle of Sir James Clark Ross, who explored the Arctic with him, and later led expeditions to Antarctica.

John Franklin British Royal Navy officer and Arctic explorer

Sir John Franklin was a British Royal Navy officer and Arctic explorer. After serving in wars against Napoleonic France and the United States, he led two expeditions into the Canadian Arctic, in 1819 and 1825, and served as Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land from 1839 to 1843. During his third and final expedition to force the Northwest Passage in 1845, Franklin's ships became icebound off King William Island in what is now Nunavut, where he died in June 1847. The icebound ships were abandoned ten months later and the entire crew died, from causes such as starvation, hypothermia, and scurvy.

Joseph Dalton Hooker British botanist, lichenologist, and surgeon (1817–1911)

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker was a British botanist and explorer in the 19th century. He was a founder of geographical botany and Charles Darwin's closest friend. For twenty years he served as director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, succeeding his father, William Jackson Hooker, and was awarded the highest honours of British science.

Five ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Erebus after Erebus, the dark region of Hades in Greek Mythology.

HMS <i>Erebus</i> (1826)

HMS Erebus is a Hecla-class bomb vessel constructed by the Royal Navy in Pembroke dockyard, Wales, in 1826. The vessel was the second in the Royal Navy named after Erebus, the dark region of Hades in Greek mythology.

Leopold McClintock

Sir Francis Leopold McClintock was an Irish explorer in the British Royal Navy, known for his discoveries in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. He confirmed explorer John Rae's controversial report gathered from Inuit sources on the fate of Franklin's lost expedition, the ill-fated Royal Navy undertaking commanded by Sir John Franklin in 1845 to be the first to traverse the Northwest Passage.

<i>Hecla</i>-class bomb vessel

The Hecla class was a class of bomb vessels of the Royal Navy of the early 19th century. They were designed for use as bomb or mortar ships and were very heavily built. Eight ships were launched; all were converted for use as exploration or survey ships. Four ships of the class are known for the role they played in Arctic and Antarctic exploration.

George Back

Admiral Sir George Back was a British Royal Navy officer, explorer of the Canadian Arctic, naturalist and artist. He was born in Stockport.

HMS <i>Terror</i> (1813)

HMS Terror was a specialized warship and a newly developed bomb vessel constructed for the Royal Navy in 1813. She participated in several battles of the War of 1812, including the Battle of Baltimore with the bombardment of Fort McHenry. She was converted into a polar exploration ship two decades later, and participated in George Back's Arctic expedition of 1836–1837, the successful Ross expedition to the Antarctic of 1839 to 1843, and Sir John Franklin's ill-fated attempt to force the Northwest Passage in 1845, during which she was lost with all hands along with HMS Erebus.

Francis Crozier

Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier was an Irish officer of the Royal Navy and polar explorer who participated in six expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. In May 1845, he was second-in-command to Sir John Franklin and captain of HMS Terror during the Franklin expedition to discover the Northwest Passage, which ended with the loss of all 129 crewmen.

Cockburn Island (Antarctica) Island of Antarctica

Cockburn Island is an oval island 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) long, consisting of a high plateau with steep slopes surmounted on the northwest side by a pyramidal peak 450 m (1,476 ft) high, lying in the north-east entrance to Admiralty Sound, south of the north-east end of the Antarctic Peninsula. It was discovered by a British expedition (1839-43) led by Captain James Clark Ross, who named it for Admiral Sir George Cockburn, then serving as First Naval Lord.

Franklins lost expedition British expedition of Arctic exploration

Franklin's lost expedition was a British voyage of Arctic exploration led by Captain Sir John Franklin that departed from England in 1845 aboard two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and was assigned to traverse the last unnavigated sections of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. The expedition met with disaster after both ships and their crews, a total of 129 officers and men, became icebound in Victoria Strait near King William Island, in what is today the Canadian territory of Nunavut. After being icebound for more than a year, Erebus and Terror were abandoned in April 1848, by which point Franklin and nearly two dozen others had died. The survivors, now led by Franklin's deputy Francis Crozier and Erebus' captain James Fitzjames, set out for the Canadian mainland and disappeared.

Farthest South A record held for most Southerly latitude reached, before the South Pole itself was reached.

Farthest South refers to the most southerly latitude reached by explorers before the conquest of the South Pole in 1911. Significant steps on the road to the pole were the discovery of lands south of Cape Horn in 1619, Captain James Cook's crossing of the Antarctic Circle in 1773, and the earliest confirmed sightings of the Antarctic mainland in 1820. From the late 19th century onward, the quest for Farthest South latitudes became in effect a race to reach the pole, which culminated in Roald Amundsen's success in December 1911.

Captain Henry Parkyns Hoppner was an officer of the Royal Navy, Arctic explorer, and draughtsman/artist. His career included two ill-fated voyages culminating in the loss of HMS Alceste in 1816 and HMS Fury in 1825.

HMS <i>Investigator</i> (1848)

HMS Investigator was a merchant ship purchased in 1848 to search for Sir John Franklin's ill-fated Northwest Passage expedition. She made two voyages to the Arctic and had to be abandoned in 1853, after becoming trapped in the ice.

<i>Flora Antarctica</i>

The Flora Antarctica or formally and correctly The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ships Erebus and Terror in the years 1839–1843, under the Command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, is a description of the many plants discovered on the Ross expedition, which visited islands off the coast of the Antarctic continent, with a summary of the expedition itself, written by Joseph Dalton Hooker and published in parts between 1844 and 1859 by Reeve Brothers in London. Hooker sailed on HMS Erebus as assistant surgeon.

Ross expedition

The Ross expedition was a voyage of scientific exploration of the Antarctic in 1839 to 1843, led by James Clark Ross, with two unusually strong warships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. It explored what is now called the Ross Sea and discovered the Ross Ice Shelf. On the expedition, Ross discovered the Transantarctic Mountains and the volcanoes Erebus and Terror, named after his ships. The young botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker made his name on the expedition.

The Flora Novae-Zelandiae is a description of the plants discovered in New Zealand during the Ross expedition written by Joseph Dalton Hooker and published by Reeve Brothers in London between 1853 and 1855. Hooker sailed on HMS Erebus as assistant surgeon. It was the third in a series of four Floras in the Flora Antarctica, the others being the Flora of Lord Auckland and Campbell's Islands (1843–45), the Flora of Fuegia, the Falkland Islands, etc (1845–47), and the Flora Tasmaniae (1853–59). They were "splendidly" illustrated by Walter Hood Fitch.

The Flora Tasmaniae is a description of the plants discovered in Tasmania during the Ross expedition written by Joseph Dalton Hooker and published by Reeve Brothers in London between 1855 and 1860. Hooker sailed on HMS Erebus as assistant surgeon. Written in two volumes, it was the last in a series of four Floras in the Flora Antarctica, the others being the Flora of Lord Auckland and Campbell's Islands (1843–45), the Flora of Fuegia, the Falkland Islands, etc (1845-47), and the Flora Novae-Zelandiae (1851–53). They were "splendidly" illustrated by Walter Hood Fitch.

Thomas Abernethy (explorer) Scottish seafarer and polar explorer (1803–1860)

Thomas Abernethy was a Scottish seafarer, gunner in the Royal Navy, and polar explorer. Because he was neither an officer nor a gentleman, he was little mentioned in the books written by the leaders of the expeditions he went on, but was praised in what was written. In 1857, he was awarded the Arctic Medal for his service as an able seaman on the 1824–25 voyage of HMS Hecla, the first of his five expeditions for which participants were eligible for the award. He was in parties that, for their time, reached the furthest north, the furthest south (twice), and the nearest to the South Magnetic Pole. In 1831, along with James Clark Ross's team of six, Abernethy was in the first party ever to reach the North Magnetic Pole.

References

Footnotes

  1. Bossi, Maurizio; Vieusseux, G.P. (1984). Notizie di viaggi lontani: l'esplorazione extraeuropea nei periodici del primo Ottocento, 1815–1845. Naples: Guida. ISBN   8870423999.
  2. Woodman, David C. (1991). Unravelling the Franklin disaster: Inuit testimony. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN   9780773509368.
  3. Jones, A.G.E. (1950). "The Voyage of H.M.S. Cove, Captain James Clark Ross, 1835–36". Polar Record . 5 (40): 543–556. doi:10.1017/S0032247400045150 . Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  4. "James Clark Ross (1800–1862)". Glasgow Digital Library. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  5. Ward, P. (2001). "Antarctic expedition, 1839–1843, James Clark Ross".
  6. Ross, James (1847). A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions, During the Years 1839–43. 2. London: John Murray.
  7. Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 749.
  8. Mowat, Farley (1973). Ordeal by ice: the search for the Northwest Passage. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd. p. 250. OCLC   1391959.
  9. "Coulman Island". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey.
  10. "Sir James Clark Ross 1800–1862 polar explorer lived here". Open Plaques. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  11. "History: Sir James Clark Ross". Aston Abbotts. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  12. Riffenburgh, Beau (2007). Encyclopedia of the Antarctic. Taylor & Francis. p. 815. ISBN   9780415970242.
  13. 1 2 Ross, Maurice James (1994). Polar Pioneers: John Ross and James Clark Ross. McGill-Queen's Press. ISBN   9780773512344.
  14. "RRS James Clark Ross". British Antarctic Survey . Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  15. "North Magnetic Pole Discovered 1 June 1831". History Channel. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  16. Rushton, Annabel (9 February 2014). "Who's this Ross character then?". RSPB. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  17. 1) [Bertrand, Kenneth John, et al, ed.] The Geographical Names of Antarctica. Special Publication No. 86. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Board on Geographical Names, May 1947. 2) [Bertrand, Kenneth J. and Fred G. Alberts]. Gazetteer No. 14. Geographic Names of Antarctica. Washington: US Government Printing Office, January 1956.

Bibliography