Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier
Born16 August 1796 (1796-08-16)
Banbridge, Ireland
DiedDisappeared, 26 April 1848 (aged 52)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Navy
Years of service1810–48
RankCaptain, Royal Navy

Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier (17(?) September 1796 – disappeared, 26 April 1848) was an Anglo-Irish naval officer who participated in six exploratory expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. Не was born in Ireland at Banbridge, County Down and was named after his father's friend Francis Rawdon, the 2nd Earl of Moira.

Early life

Francis Crozier was born at Avonmore House, Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland. He was the eleventh of thirteen children, and the fifth son of attorney-at-law George Crozier, Esq. Crozier attended school locally in Banbridge, with his brothers William and Thomas, and lived with his family in Avonmore House which his father had built in 1792, in the centre of Banbridge.[1]

Naval service

At the age of 13, Crozier volunteered for the Royal Navy and joined HMS Hamadryad in June 1810. In 1812 he served on HMS Briton and in 1814 visited Pitcairn Island, where he met the last surviving mutineers from HMS Bounty. In 1817 he received his certificate as mate and in 1818 he served on the sloop Dotterel during a trip to the Cape of Good Hope. In 1821 Crozier volunteered to join Captain William Edward Parry's second expedition (1821–23) to find the Northwest Passage in the vessels HMS Fury and her sister ship HMS Hecla. He returned to the Arctic with Parry in 1824, which resulted in the loss of Fury off Somerset Island. Crozier was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1826 and in 1827 joined Parry's failed attempt to reach the North Pole. During his voyages Crozier became a close friend and confidante of the explorer James Clark Ross. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1827 after conducting valuable astronomical and magnetic studies on his three expeditions with Parry. He was appointed to the frigate HMS Stag in 1831 and served off the coast of Portugal during that country's civil war. Crozier joined James Clark Ross as second-in-command of Cove in 1835 to help search for 12 British whaling ships lost in the Arctic. Crozier was appointed to the rank of commander in 1837.[1][2]

Antarctic exploration

HMS Erebus and HMS Terror in the Antarctic, by John Wilson Carmichael, 1847

Further information: Ross expedition

In 1839, Crozier again joined James Clark Ross, as second-in-command of a four-year voyage to explore the Antarctic continent in the ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Crozier commanded Terror, and in 1841 was appointed to the rank of captain. Erebus and Terror returned in 1843, having made the most significant penetration of the Antarctic pack ice and discovered large parts of the continent – including the Ross Sea and Ross Island, Mount Erebus and the Ross Ice Shelf.[3][4]

Crozier was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1843 in recognition of his outstanding work on magnetism.[5]

Northwest Passage expedition

Main article: Franklin's lost expedition

In 1845, Crozier joined Sir John Franklin on the Northwest Passage expedition, as captain of HMS Terror. After Franklin's death in June 1847, he took command of the expedition, and his fate and those of the other expedition members remained a mystery until 1859, when a note from him and James Fitzjames, captain of Erebus, the other ship on the expedition, was discovered on King William Island during an expedition led by Captain F. L. McClintock. Dated 25 April 1848, the note said the ships, stuck in ice, had been abandoned. Nine officers, including John Franklin, and 15 crewmen had died, and the survivors were setting out on 26 April for Back's Fish River on the Canadian mainland.[6] There were later, unverified Inuit reports that between 1852 and 1858 Crozier and one other expedition member were seen in the Baker Lake area, about 400 km (250 mi) to the south, where in 1948 Farley Mowat found "a very ancient cairn, not of normal Eskimo construction" inside of which were shreds of a hardwood box with dovetail joints.[7] McClintock and later searchers found relics, graves, and human remains of the Franklin crew on Beechey Island, King William Island, and the northern coast of the Canadian mainland, but no survivors.



Francis Crozier monument in Banbridge

In January 2008, Crozier's home town of Banbridge, Northern Ireland hosted a memorial event, which included a service of remembrance and thanksgiving at the Church of the Holy Trinity, which was attended by more than 100 descendants of Crozier and other officers of the Franklin expedition and those who searched for it, along with the chairman of the Banbridge Council, and several Arctic historians, including Michael Smith and Russell Potter.[8]

Francis Crozier memorial inside Seapatrick Church, Banbridge

A memorial to the memory of Sir John Franklin and his men, including Crozier, was erected by order of Parliament in 1858 in the Painted Hall of the Greenwich Hospital, London. It was moved to the Chapel of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, in 1937, and was re-erected in the entrance of the former college in late 2009. At the service of thanksgiving on 29 October 2009, polar travellers and descendants of Sir John Franklin, Captain Crozier and their men celebrated their contributions.[9][10]

Geographical features

Geographical features named after Crozier include:

Discovery of the ships

In 2014, the "Victoria Strait Expedition" found two items on Hat Island, in the Queen Maud Gulf, near Nunavut's King William Island: part of a boat-launching davit bearing the stamps of two Royal Navy broad arrows; and a wooden object, possibly a plug for a deck hawse, the iron pipe through which the ship's chain cable would descend into the chain locker below.[11][12] It then located one of Franklin's two ships, preserved in good condition.[13][14] The wreck lies at the bottom of the eastern portion of Queen Maud Gulf, west of O'Reilly Island.[15] The wreck has been confirmed to be that of HMS Erebus, the expedition's flagship.[16] In 2016, a ship matching Terror's description was located in Terror Bay, off the southern coast of King William Island.[17]

In the media

In the comic book Alpha Flight, Crozier became the villain Pestilence. Crozier is the main protagonist of Dan Simmons' 2007 novel The Terror. He is one of the narrators of Dominique Fortier's 2008 novel "Du bon usage des étoiles", a finalist for the 2009 Governor General's Awards.[18]

See also


  1. ^ a b Smith, Michael (2006). Captain Francis Crozier – Last Man Standing?. Collins Press. ISBN 1-905172-09-5.
  2. ^ Smith, Michael (2010). Great Endeavour – Ireland's Antarctic Explorers. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1-848-89023-7.
  3. ^ Paine, Lincoln P. (2000). Ships of Discovery and Exploration. Houghton Mifflin. pp. 139–140. ISBN 0-395-98415-7.
  4. ^ Ross, James Ross (1847). A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions, During the Years 1839–43. Vol. 2. London: John Murray.
  5. ^ "List of Fellows of the Royal Society 1660 – 2007" (PDF). The Royal Society. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  6. ^ Savours, Ann (1999). The Search for the North West Passage. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 291–93. ISBN 0-312-22372-2.
  7. ^ Woodman, David C. (1992). Unravelling the Franklin Mystery: Inuit Testimony. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 317. ISBN 0-7735-0936-4. Note: Woodman was unable to track down the origin of these Inuit reports, and the builder and origins of the cairn found by Mowat are unknown.
  8. ^ "Polar First Proves Great Ice-breaker", Banbridge Courier, 23 January 2008, pages 1–2.
  9. ^ Online review of recent Service of Thanksgiving
  10. ^ Online blog of Service of Thanksgiving
  11. ^ "Victoria Strait Expedition". Archived from the original on 4 October 2015. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  12. ^ "Franklin expedition ship pieces believed discovered in Arctic". CBC. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  13. ^ "British ship lost in the arctic 170 years sgo found". Daily Motion. 9 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Lost Franklin expedition ship found in the Arctic". CBC. 9 September 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  15. ^ Chase, Steven (9 September 2014). "Finding of Franklin ship fuels Harper's new nationalism". The Globe and Mail. Ottawa. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  16. ^ "HMS Eribus". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  17. ^ Watson, Paul. "Ship found in Arctic 168 years after doomed Northwest Passage attempt". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  18. ^ Fortier, Dominique (2008). Du bon usage des étoiles. Québec: Éditions Alto. ISBN 978-2-923550-15-2. Archived from the original on 20 September 2011. ((cite book)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)