01 August 2010

HMS Investigator & Captain Robert McClure

According to the BBC News, Canadian marine archaeologists have located the wreck of HMS Investigator, a ship dispatched from Britain in the mid-19th century to find what had happened to the ill-fated Franklin expedition, itself launched to chart a route through the North West Passage, north of Canada and its Arctic islands. A little-known fact is that HMS Investigator was captained by the intrepid Irishman, Captain Robert McClure, an Arctic explorer of some note. In addition to being the first to transit the North West Passage, his team were also the first expedition to circumnavigate the Americas, albeit with the assistance of HMS Resolute (poor HMS Investigator was abandoned to sink to where it now lies).

As for HMS Resolute, the rescue ship, it went on to have its own intriguing history in smoothing relations between Britain and the United States, and part of is timbers form President Obama's writing desk in the Oval Office of the White House.

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