Edward Augustus Inglefield

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Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield

Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield by Stephen Pearce.jpg
Born(1820-03-27)27 March 1820
Cheltenham, England
Died4 September 1894(1894-09-04) (aged 74)
South Kensington, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
Service years1832–1885
WarsCrimean War
Spouse(s)Eliza Fanny Johnston

Admiral Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield KCB FRS FRGS (27 March 1820 – 4 September 1894) was a Royal Navy officer who led one of the searches for the missing Arctic explorer John Franklin during the 1850s. In doing so, his expedition charted previously unexplored areas along the northern Canadian coastline, including Baffin Bay, Smith Sound and Lancaster Sound.

He was also the inventor of the marine hydraulic steering gear and the anchor design that bears his name. HMS Inglefield bears his name, as do the Inglefield Land region and the Inglefield Gulf of Greenland.


Augustus Inglefield was born on 27 March 1820, he was the son of Rear Admiral Samuel Inglefield.[1]

First voyage to the Arctic[edit]

Inglefield in 1854
Isabel searching for the Franklin expedition

Inglefield set out from Britain on his search in July 1852, commanding Lady Franklin's private steamer Isabel, seven years after Franklin had left on his ill-fated search for the fabled Northwest Passage. Once Inglefield had reached the Arctic, a search and survey of Greenland's west coast was made; Ellesmere Island was resighted and named in honour of the president of the Royal Geographical Society.

Smith Sound was penetrated further than any known records; Jones Sound was also searched; and a landing was made at Beechey Island in Lancaster Sound. No sign, however, of Franklin's expedition was found. Finally, before the onset of winter forced Inglefield to turn homewards, the expedition searched and charted much of Baffin Island's eastern coast.

Despite finding no traces of the Franklin expedition, Inglefield was fêted on his return for the surveying his expedition had achieved; the Royal Geographical Society awarded him its 1853 Patron's Medal "for his enterprising survey of the coasts of Baffin Bay, Smith Sound and Lancaster Sound."

Subsequent Arctic voyages[edit]

Inglefield made two further voyages to the Arctic in HMS Phoenix, to supply the search for the Franklin expedition overseen by Sir Edward Belcher. He returned from the first of these in 1853, bringing with him the first officer to have traversed the Northwest Passage, Samuel Gurney Cresswell of HMS Investigator. The Investigator had also been sent to join the search for the Franklin expedition, but starting from the western side of northern Canada.

Arriving back in the Arctic the following year, 1854, Inglefield found Belcher's ships abandoned, save one to which the crews had retreated. Most of these men returned with Inglefield to Britain.

Later life[edit]

Soon after his return from the Arctic, Inglefield was sent to join the Crimean War in the Black Sea as captain of HMS Firebrand, where he took part in the siege of Sevastopol. After the Crimean War, he captained a number of ships and continued to rise through the ranks. In 1869 he was made a rear admiral and three years later was appointed Admiral Superintendent of Malta Dockyard. Promotions to vice admiral and then admiral followed, between which he was knighted. In 1878 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Portrait of Inglefield, by John Collier (1897)

On 30 April 1857, Inglefield married Eliza Fanny Johnston (1836–1890), the daughter of Edward Johnston, Esq. of Allerton Hall, Liverpool. Together, they were the parents of four sons and one daughter:[3][1]

  • Henry Beaufort Willmot Inglefield (1859–1926), who married Mary Lucia MacHugh, Lady Holker in 1894.[4][5] She was the widow of Sir John Holker (1828–1882).[6] After her death, he married Alexandra Amy Geraldine Butler (d. 1931), the widow of William George Gould (d. 1911)
  • Edward Fitzmaurice Inglefield (1861–1945), a Royal Navy officer (eventually rear admiral), inventor of the Inglefield clip and Secretary to Lloyd's of London.
  • Albany Otway Inglefield (1872–1873)
  • Ernest Hallowell Inglefield (d. 1879)
  • Sybill Inglefield (d. 1870)

Inglefield retired in 1885. Thereafter he devoted much of his time to painting and his watercolours of Arctic landscapes were exhibited at several art galleries in London, he died, aged seventy-four, in 1894.

He is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.[7]

See also[edit]

  • O'Byrne, William Richard (1849). "Inglefield, Edward Augustus" . A Naval Biographical Dictionary . John Murray – via Wikisource.


  1. ^ a b "thePeerage.com". Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  2. ^ William Loney RN
  3. ^ Foster, Joseph (1881). The Baronetage and Knightage | Volume 2 of The Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage of the British Empire for 1881. Nichols and Sons. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  4. ^ Royal Blue Book: Fashionable Directory and Parliamentary Guide. London: Kelly's Directories Limited. January 1899. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  5. ^ The Law Journal, Vol. 30. 14 December 1895. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  6. ^ Dod, Charles Roger; Dod, Robert Phipps (1904). Dod's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland, Including All the Titled Classes. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Notable People At Kensal Green". Friends of Kensal Green. Retrieved 25 May 2019.


  • Inglefield, E.A. (1853).A summer search for Sir John Franklin; with a peep into the polar basin. London: Thomas-Harrison.
  • Coleman, E.C. (2006). The Royal Navy in Polar Exploration from Franklin to Scott. Tempus Publishing.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Astley Key
Admiral Superintendent, Malta Dockyard
Succeeded by
Edward Rice
Preceded by
Sir Astley Key
Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station
Succeeded by
Sir Francis McClintock