Open main menu

Crozier, Francis Rawdon Moira (DNB00)

CROZIER, FRANCIS RAWDON MOIRA (1796?–1848), captain in the navy, entered the navy in 1810; served in the Hamadryad and Briton with Captain Sir Thomas Staines; in the Meander, guardship in the Thames, and Queen Charlotte, guardship at Portsmouth; passed his examination in 1817, and in 1818 went to the Cape of Good Hope as mate of the Doterel sloop. On his return to England in 1821 he was appointed to the Fury, discovery ship, with Captain William Edward Parry [q. v.] In the Fury and afterwards in the Hecla he accompanied Captain Parry in his three Arctic voyages, 1821–7; his services being rewarded by a lieutenant's commission, bearing date 2 March 1826. From 1831 to 1835 he served in the Stag on the coast of Portugal, and in December 1835 joined the Cove, commanded by Captain James Clark Ross [q. v.], his shipmate in the Fury and the Hecla. The Cove made a summer voyage to Davis Strait and Baffin's Bay in 1836, and on 10 Jan. 1837 Crozier was promoted to be commander. On 11 May 1839 he was appointed to the Terror, in which he accompanied Captain Ross in his voyage to the Antarctic Ocean, from which they both happily returned in September 1843. Crozier had been during his absence advanced to post rank, 16 Aug. 1841, and, after a short stay at home, was again, 8 March 1845, appointed to the Terror for Arctic exploration under the orders of Sir John Franklin [q. v.], who commissioned the Erebus at the same time. The two ships sailed from England on 19 May 1845. On 26 July they were spoken by the Prince of Wales whaler, at the head of Baffin's Bay, waiting for an opportunity to cross the middle ice; and for many years nothing further was heard of them, or known of their fate. It was not till 1859 that the private expedition under the command of Captain (now Admiral Sir Leopold) McClintock found the record which sadly told their story (McClinktock, Fate of Sir John Franklin, 5th ed. 1881, p. 246). After a very prosperous voyage, and the discovery of the long-looked-for north-west passage, the ships were beset on 12 Sept. 1846. By the death of Sir John Franklin on 11 June 1847 the command had devolved on Crozier. On 22 April 1848, the provisions running short, the ships were deserted. The men, officers and crews, numbering in all 105, landed on the 25th in lat. 69° 37′ 42″ N., long. 98° 41′ W., and—it was added in Crozier's writing—‘start to-morrow, 26th, for Back's Fish River.’ They all perished by the way. With a very few exceptions, no trace even of the bones of the dead has been found (ib. p. 312). Stories have indeed been told of white men living among the Eskimos many years afterwards. It is perhaps possible that some of the crews of wrecked whalers may from time to time have so survived; but the supposition that Crozier or any of his companions lived in this way is pronounced by McClintock to be ‘altogether untenable.’

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Sir John Richardson's Polar Regions, 156–202.]

J. K. L.