Captain Francis Crozier: Last Man Standing?
Francis Crozier was a major figure in the epic quests of nineteenth-century Polar exploration - navigating the North West Passage, reaching the North Pole and mapping Antartica. His remarkable story embraces six daring voyages to the world's most hostile regions and extraordinary feats of endurance, tragedy, and failed romance. The groundbreaking expeditions with legendary explorers like Parry, Ross and Franklin lifted the veil from the frozen wastes and were crucial to the exploits of Amundsen, Scott, and Shackleton. Crozier's personal tragedy was an unhappy love affair with Franklin's niece which drove him back to the ice one last time as second-in-command on Franklin's North West Pasage expedition in 1845. All 129 men vanished on the ice. Crozier took command when the ships were crushed and the expedition was on the brink of disaster. For several years Crozier led a couragous battle trying to lead his men to safety. According to legend, Crozier was the last to die- the last man standing. But Crozier never received recognition for his great feats and became another of exploration's Irish unsung heroes. With illustrations, maps, and photos.
ice’, he noted. Fury and Hecla Strait had no intention of revealing its secrets and, after thirteen frustrating months at the entrance to what Parry believed was the North West Passage, the expedition was abandoned. It was not until 1948, some 125 years after the visit by Fury and Hecla, that a modern icebreaker managed to complete the first navigation of Fury and Hecla Strait. Fury and Hecla turned for home on 12 August, reaching the Shetland Islands on 10 October 1823, where the explorers
of the sea as she was invariably struck down by awful seasickness when making voyages. Aside from the polite manners and quiet reserve of Hobart’s Government House, there was another reason why Sophy was not attracted to Crozier. Sophy Cracroft was a snob who regarded the untutored Crozier as ‘a horrid radical and an indifferent speller’. Regardless of his steadfastness and amiable charm, Crozier was not a big enough catch for Sophy and there were plenty of other men beating a path to the doors
heroic age of Antarctic exploration with men like Scott and Shackleton. Ross Island was also the place where Ross decided to honour Crozier, his able deputy. A striking headland at the eastern end of the island, a little over 10 miles (16 kilometres) from the foot of Mount Terror, was named Cape Crozier. Ross dedicated the site with great affection, writing: [It was named] after my friend and colleague, to whose zeal and cordial co-operation is mainly to be ascribed, under God’s blessing, the
penetrate the icy waters for another two weeks, often taking a severe battering from large hunks of floating ice and frequent violent storms. By the end of January, the outline of Paulet Island could still be seen on the horizon, confirming that the ships had made barely any progress. They were not freed from the ice until 4 February, far too late in the season to contemplate seeking a new passage to the south. Erebus and Terror came to a halt at around 65° south, with Crozier and Ross bemoaning
and we all feel happy in the idea that we shall be quite in time to avail ourselves of any openings westward of Barrow Strait. The men wrote their final letters and handed them over to Lieutenant Griffiths on Barretto Junior. Confidence was so high that families and friends were advised to send their next letters to the port of Petropavlovsk on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. Griffiths also took with him three petty officers and a marine, who were invalided home, leaving 129 men on board Erebus