seaman, an outstanding arctic explorer.
Born in Wexworth in the family of a sailor. His
father died in the battle of Abukir before the birth of his son. The
boy’s guardian was General Meserer, a friend of his deceased father.
At the age of 12 McClure was sent to a military school in
boy did not like the barrack life, and he and three friends ran away
to France. The guardian brought him home and, taking into account the
wishes of the child, determined him in the fleet. After
several years of service in the American and Indian waters, McClure
expressed a desire to join the Arctic expedition of Captain J.
his return, having received the rank of lieutenant, he served at the
Quebec ship repair yard, carried out missions during the Canadian
Uprising, commanded the ship in Havana, served in the coast guard.
In 1848 it was decided to send the expedition of James
Ross in search of J.
Franklin, and McClure at his request was appointed senior
lieutenant to the ship of the expedition "Enterprise (Enterprise)". Ross
Island, Barrow Strait and the northern part of the Prince Regent
Strait, not finding any traces of the missing.
The following year, the search for Franklin was continued on a
larger scale. From
the west four ships went under the general command of G.
Austin, from the
side of the Bering Strait - two ships: the “Enterprise” under the
command of Captain R.
Collinson and the
“Investigator” under the command of Mac-Clour. Formally,
McClure was subordinate to Collinson, but in fact, each of them
acted independently. In
addition to searching for Franklin, there was the task of opening
the Northwest Passage.
Small ships with a displacement of only 400 tons each, on January
20, 1850 left London on a long journey through Cape Horn to the
Bering Strait. They
split almost immediately, since the Explorer had the worst move, and
met only once in April in the Strait of Magellan. In
July, the Investigator reached Honolulu, where McClure found out
that Collinson was already here. McClure,
having given the team some rest, went on and, having chosen a
shorter route, arrived at the Bering Strait two weeks earlier than
latter, having made several unsuccessful attempts to pass to the
north, went to spend the winter in Honolulu.
McClure, having entered the Bering Strait, could not directly
reach the Banksu or Melville Islands. He
rounded the north-west end of America and went between the ice and
the coast to the east, reached Cape
Parry and moved north
to it, then to the north-east. His
attempt was a success, and three days later he saw the green
mountains of an unknown land. Soon
some more land appeared in the east, and the ship entered a narrow
strait between them. It
turned out to be a strait
between the islands of Banks and Victoria, which he later named
in honor of the Prince of Wales. There
was hope for the opening of the Northwest Passage. McClure
wrote in his diary: “... Does this channel lead to the Barrow
will he, therefore, turn out to be the Northwest Passage, which has
been sought for so long? Really
such an insignificant creature as I succeed in what has been denied
to the most capable and wisest people for so many centuries”. However,
due to the ice it was not possible to get far.
September 12, the ship was frozen in the ice, and the first
wintering began. On
October 21 McClure headed by six people on a sleigh went to test
his guess. October
26 the sailors discovered that the
Prince of Wales Strait connects with the Strait of Melville, and,
consequently, with the Strait of Barrow, opened in 1820 by W.
Parry, who came from the west from the Baffin Sea. This
fact meant that the Northwest Passage exists. With
the onset of spring, the toboggan units began searching for the
missing expedition, completing multi-day trails in different
View of Melville Island from Banks Island
The coming summer of 1851 did not open the passage through the
Prince of Wales Strait. Then
McClure decided to return and go around Banks Island from the west. This
maneuver was a success, but on September 24 the
"Explorer" was frozen
into the ice again and had to spend the winter on the northern coast of
Banks Island in Mercy Bay. During the winter, polar explorers
succeeded in replenishing food stocks with hunting for deer and
in search of Franklin explored Melville
Island, but found nothing. On
the island at the point of wintering Parry in 1819 - 1820. McClure
left a note that later played a decisive role in the fate of his
The summer of 1852 did not bring the ship of liberation. At
the same place, the third wintering began, the state of the team had
deteriorated significantly by that time. The
lack of nutrition began to affect, the first signs of scurvy
appeared, the disease began to progress rapidly. McClure
decided to leave the 26 strongest and strongest people for the
fourth wintering, and send the rest part east to the northeastern
Somerset, where there was a food store, and partly to the mouth
of the Mackenzie River. It
should be said that both routes were approximately the same
thousand-kilometer in length, and it is unlikely that weakened
people would be able to overcome them.
Fortunately, the rescue was near. McClure's
note on Melville Island was found by G.
there, a member of E.
expedition that came from the east. As
soon as it was daylight, Kellett sent a sledge squad headed by
Pym, who came to McClure on April 6, to Mercy Bay, nine days
before his people left for certain death. The
next day, McClure, at the head of nine men, went with Pym to
Kellett, spending 70 miles on a journey of twelve days. Soon
another group came up, part of which Kellett sent to the main base
of the Belcher expedition,
Beachy Island. As
a result, the Explorer team was divided into three parts: at
Kellett, in the Gulf of Mercy on the ship, where the captain
returned, and on Bitchie Island. Lieutenant
Creswell, who was part of the latter group, returned to England in
1853 on the ship of Lieutenant E.
who conducted an expedition organized on the money
of Franklin's wife
and Inglefield both brought to England the joyful news of the
opening of the Northwest Passage.
Pim and McClure meeting
McClure was concerned about the fate of the vessel and was going
to do everything possible to save him, but the examination of the
health of the team, conducted by the doctor Kellett, excluded the
fourth wintering. By
order of the senior officer Kellett, the ship was abandoned, and the
remaining part of the crew of McClur moved to Kellett’s ships, where
she spent her fourth wintering ground. On
August 26, 1854 by order of the expedition leader Belcher, all of
his ships, with the exception of the "Northern Star", were
the end of September all the people returned to England.
The abandonment of serviceable ships in the Arctic caused great
displeasure in the Admiralty, and the leaders, Belcher, Kellett and
McClure were brought to justice.McClure and Kellett were easily
justified, just like the people who carried out the order. The
court not only acquitted McClure, but also noted that “McClure, the
officers and the “Explorer”team deserve the greatest praise for
their zeal ...”. Returning
the sword to McClure, the chairman said: “The court of the opinion
that your leadership, subjected to the most difficult trials, was in
all respects highly commendable and worthy ...”.
Belcheru also managed to justify himself.
In the summer of 2014 the "Researcher" was found. During
the expedition, which began on July 22, Canadian scientists scanned
the bottom of the Bay of Mercy (Mersey) with the help of a
sonar-sonar radar, and soon discovered a characteristic image of the
The vessel is under water on an even keel at a
depth of 11 meters, its upper deck is eight meters under water. "It
is in surprisingly good condition," says Marc-Henri Bernier, head of
the Parks Canada Underwater Archeology Service. Very
cold water helped keep it all".
Scientists do not plan to lift the ship to the surface. They
intend to explore it with the help of underwater robots. Archaeologists
also discovered three graves of expedition members who died of
scurvy in April 1853, as well as fragments of a boat and the remains
of a stockpile of supplies.
McClure and his people were the first to pass by sea or on sea
ice from the Pacific to the Atlantic and it was them who
the discoveries of the Northwest Passage. A bonus of £ 10,000 due to
them was paid, and McClure still received the nobility. The
selected committee of the House of Commons noted that "the heroic
deeds of McClure and his comrades, although they were not committed
on the battlefield, by their courage can be equated to military
and French geographical societies awarded him gold medals.
There were people trying to belittle the triumph of the
discoverers by saying that the pioneers of the Northwest Passage
could have been participants in the Franklin expedition.
Awarded the Order
of the Bath.
In subsequent years, McClure commanded the ship "Esk", played an
important role in the Anglo-Chinese war, participated in the seizure
of Canton. He
became a rear admiral in 1867 and a vice admiral in 1873. In the
same year he died suddenly in London. Buried
Kensal Green Cemetery.
the northern coast of Canada.
the north of the Banks Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
the island of Pandora east of the Prince of Wales Island in the
Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
the islands of Melville and Banks in the Canadian Arctic
Archipelago. Opened by
the expedition R. McClure in 1851.