Francis Crozier

1796-1848 [Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier]; b. Avonmore Hse., Banbridge, Co. Down, Sept.; son of Banbridge solicitor to Lord Moira and Marquis of Hastings; entered Royal Navy, June 1810 [aetat 13]; served on HMS Hamadryad et al.; midshipman on HMS Briton, 1805, travelling on voyage of discovery to Pitcairn Island in 1814; mate on Doterel (sloop), 1818, rounding the Cape of Good Hope; served under Capt. Wm. Edward Parry on HMS Fury during two-year voyage to discover North-west Passage (unsuccessful), from May 1821; participated in two other voyages with Parry, 1823-27; voyaged in the Antarctic with Cpt. (later Sir) James Ross, 1839-43; promoted to captain of HMS Terror, 1841;

offered leadership of search for Northwest Passage but deferred to Sir John Franklin, with whose niece Sophie he was in love though his offer of marriage was rejected, and joined his expedition to the Arctic on HMS Terror, departing 22 May 1845; last sighted 26 July, 1845; ice-bound in 1846; in command of expedition at the death of Franklin and thereafter, in June 1847; decided to proceed across the ice to possible safety; landed [at] Fish River, April 1848, thus becoming the first to discover the Northwest Passage - the distinction afterwards won by Sir Robert McClure;

perished on the way across King William Island; fate unknown till his records were found by Francis McClintock [q.v.], 1859; FRS and RAstron. Soc.; rumoured to have been the last man left standing; gave his name to Crozier Island, Cape Crozier (King William Island), and Crozier Crater on the moon; there is a full-size monument and statue at Banbridge’s Church Square, his place of birth. DIB DUB

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Michael Smith, Captain Francis Crozier: Last Man Standing (Cork: Collins Press 2006), 300pp. See also Banbridge website [link].

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Portrait, Francis Rawden Moira Crozier, by unknown; see Anne Crookshank, Irish Portratis Catalogue, Ulster Mus. 1965 (and cf. General Francis Rawdon Chesney, supra).

Namesake: Frank Percy Crozier (1879-1937) [q.v.] - British brigadier and commander of the Auxiliaries in Ireland, 1919-22; later wrote anti-war works based on his experience incl. The Men I Killed (1937), causing Robert Graves to speak of ‘a candour that compels the greatest admiration.’

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