Captain Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier FRS FRAS (17 September 1796 – c. 1848) was an Anglo-Irish officer of the Royal Navy and polar explorer who participated in six expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. In May 1845, he commanded HMS Terror on Franklin's expedition to discover the Northwest Passage, together with HMS Erebus and under overall command of Sir John Franklin. They were never heard from again and the entire expedition perished, a total of 129 men.
Captain Crozier in an 1845 daguerreotype
|Born||17 September 1796|
|Died||c. 1848 (aged 51–52)|
near King William Island
|Commands held||HMS Terror|
Francis Crozier was born in Banbridge, County Down, in what was then the Kingdom of Ireland (today part of Northern Ireland). He was the eleventh of thirteen children, and the fifth son of attorney-at-law George Crozier, who named him after his friend Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 2nd Earl of Moira. 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.
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 visited Pitcairn Island in 1814, where he met the last surviving mutineers from HMS Bounty. In 1817, he received his certificate as mate; in 1818, he served on HMS Doterel during a trip to the Cape of Good Hope.
Crozier joined Captain William Edward Parry's second Arctic expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage in 1821. He served on HMS Hecla, accompanied by Parry's HMS Fury. He returned to the North with Parry a second time in 1824. The journey resulted in the sinking of Fury off Somerset Island. Crozier was promoted to lieutenant in 1826, and a year later he once more joined Parry in attempt to reach the North Pole; ultimately a futile endeavour.
During his voyages, Crozier became a close friend and confidante of the explorer James Clark Ross. He was elected to become 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 the Liberal Wars, the country's civil war. Crozier joined James Clark Ross as second-in-command of HMS Cove in 1835, to assist in the search for 12 lost British whaling ships in the Arctic. Crozier was appointed to the rank of commander in 1837.
In 1839, Crozier again joined Sir James Clark Ross on the Ross expedition, 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 was appointed to the rank of captain in 1841. 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.
In 1845, Crozier joined Rear-Admiral Sir John Franklin as captain of the Terror on the Franklin expedition to traverse the last unnavigated section of the Northwest Passage. 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 the Erebus, the other ship on the expedition, was discovered on King William Island during an expedition led by Sir Francis 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 Great Fish River on the Canadian mainland.
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. 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.
In 2014, the Victoria Strait Expedition found two items on Hat Island, in the Queen Maud Gulf, near 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. The expedition located one of Franklin's two ships, preserved in good condition. The wreck lies at the bottom of the eastern portion of Queen Maud Gulf, west of O'Reilly Island. The wreck has been confirmed to be that of the Erebus. In 2016, a ship matching Terror's description was located in Terror Bay, off the southern coast of King William Island.
In January 2008, Crozier's hometown Banbridge 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 a hundred descendants of Crozier and other officers of the Franklin's lost expedition and those who searched for it, along with the chairman of Banbridge Council, and several Arctic historians, including Michael Smith and Russell Potter.
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 in 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.
Geographical features named after Crozier include:
- Cape Crozier on the eastern side of Ross Island, Antarctica
- Cape Crozier on the western flank of King William Island, in the Canadian Arctic
- Cape Crozier at the western entrance of the Bay of Mercy on Banks Island, in the Canadian Arctic
- Crozier Strait which lies between Cornwallis and Bathurst Islands, in the Canadian Arctic
- Crozier River, near Fury and Hecla Strait in the Canadian Arctic
- Crozier Point on Spitsbergen, in the Arctic north of Norway
- Crozier Channel, to the north of Banks Island in the Canadian Arctic
- Crozier Island in the Kennedy Channel, between Greenland and Ellesmere Island
- The lunar crater Crozier, located at 13.5° S, 50.8° E on the Moon's near side
Francis Crozier appears as a character and the primary narrator of the 2007 best-selling novel The Terror by Dan Simmons, a fictionalized account of Franklin's lost expedition, as well as the 2018 television adaptation, where he is portrayed by Jared Harris.
Both the novel and the television adaptation depict Crozier as the sole survivor of the expedition and joining an Inuit tribe instead of seeking to return to his homeland.
- Smith, Michael (2006). Captain Francis Crozier – Last Man Standing. Collins Press. ISBN 1905172095.
- Smith, Michael (2010). Great Endeavour – Ireland's Antarctic Explorers. Collins Press. ISBN 9781848890237.
- Paine, Lincoln P. (2000). Ships of Discovery and Exploration. Houghton Mifflin. pp. 139–140. ISBN 0395984157.
- Ross, James Ross (1847). A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions, During the Years 1839–43. 2. London: John Murray.
- "List of Fellows of the Royal Society 1660 – 2007" (PDF). The Royal Society. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
- Savours, Ann (1999). The Search for the North West Passage. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 291–293. ISBN 0312223722.
- Woodman, David C. (1992). Unravelling the Franklin Mystery: Inuit Testimony. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 317. ISBN 0773509364. 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.
- "Victoria Strait Expedition". pc.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 4 October 2015.
- "Franklin expedition ship pieces believed discovered in Arctic". CBC. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
- "British ship lost in the arctic 170 years ago found". Daily Motion. 9 September 2014.
- "Lost Franklin expedition ship found in the Arctic". CBC. 2014-09-09. Retrieved 2014-09-09.
- Chase, Steven (9 September 2014). "Finding of Franklin ship fuels Harper's new nationalism". The Globe and Mail. Ottawa. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- "HMS Eribus". pc.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
- Watson, Paul. "Ship found in Arctic 168 years after doomed Northwest Passage attempt". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
- "Polar First Proves Great Ice-breaker", Banbridge Courier, 23 January 2008.
- Online review of recent Service of Thanksgiving
- Online blog of Service of Thanksgiving
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 2, 2016). "AMC Orders 'The Terror' Anthology Drama Series From Scott Free". Deadline. Retrieved September 13, 2016.