The British Arctic Expedition, 1875-76

The British Arctic Expedition sailed from Portsmouth on 29 May 1875. It left amid considerable public enthusiasm and with a telegram from the Queen. A contemporary journal had this to say: As we hope, so we believe that they will end their northward advance only at the northernmost meeting of the meridians; that they will return in safety to receive well-won applause and reward for their achievements; and that they will have very much to tell of the circum-polar region, as well as of their hoisting the Union Jack upon the Pole, (The Navy, 1875). The tone of the same journal was very different when reporting the return of the expedition in 1876, one year earlier than expected. One of the milder statements in a highly derogatory article read: Verily the expedition of 18756 has but little of which to boast. It went out like a rocket, and has come back like the stick. The validity of such a judgement needs careful examination against the aims and logistics of the expedition, the attitudes of the officers and men, and, most importantly, the actual achievementsand shortcomingsof the voyage.


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Authors: Hattersley-Smith, G.

1 January, 1976
Polar Record / 18
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