Captain Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier
|Place of Birth:
||Avonmore House, Church Square, Banbridge
|Place of Rest:
|Claim to Fame:
||Famous mariner who reportedly was the first to discover the North-West Passage
|Link to the Area:
Captain Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier, the famous mariner who many say was the first to discover the North-West Passage, was born in Avonmore House in the Church Square area of Banbridge in 1776. He was the fifth son of George Crozier who was a highly respected solicitor in Banbridge and also a legal advisor to the 3rd Earl of Moira and 2nd Marquess of Hastings.
Captain Crozier entered the navy as a first class volunteer on board the 'Hamadryad' on 12 June 1810 and served on a number of other ships. Eventually he joined Captain Edward Parry as a midshipman on the 'Fury' for an Arctic voyage in search of the North-West Passage, a route joining the Pacific to the Atlantic. The ship sailed on 8 May 1821 and the voyage, which was unsuccessful, lasted two and a half years.
After several other expeditions Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier learnt that he was to be promoted to Captain. Not long after being appointed a captain, Crozier was offered overall command of a further expedition in search of the North-West Passage but declined opting for second in command under Sir John Franklin. They departed on 22 May 1845 and all seemed to be going well as they reached Greenland on 4 July. They were then spotted again on the 26 July and that was the last sighting. Nothing was heard of them for many years.
Search parties were dispatched in the years to follow and they found evidence and accounts from the Esqimaux tribe on how a group of white men had been seen dragging sledges. Four months after this first encounter the tribe came across their dead bodies.
The first navigation on the North-West Passage was undertaken successfully by Sir Robert McClure, a Wexford man in 1852. However, Sir Clement Markham who was a great authority on the Polar regions said at the time, "The North-West Passage was discovered by Crozier and the party that pushed on to the mouth of the Fish River in May 1848."