SS Roosevelt (1905)
SS Roosevelt was an American steamship of the early 20th century. She was designed and constructed for Robert Peary′s polar exploration expeditions, she supported the 1908 expedition in which he claimed to have discovered the North Pole. After her career with Peary, Roosevelt saw commercial use as a tug, she operated as a United States Bureau of Fisheries supply ship and served as a United States Navy patrol vessel during World War I. United States Navy Commander Robert Peary designed Roosevelt for operations in support of his Arctic exploration expeditions, his design attempted to incorporate the best features of previous polar exploration ships with innovations that would give her first-of-their-kind capabilities. Peary designed the ship along the same lines as the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen's schooner Fram, with the capability both to push through large floating ice packs and squeeze through and between ice fields. Roosevelt was a schooner with an ice-strengthened flexible wooden hull sheathed in steel and braced by a unique system of trusses.
The wooden construction of her hull gave it both strength and the flexibility to bend rather than break when ice struck it or pressed against it, her hull planking was assembled through a lamination process that gave her hull greater strength than a single piece of wood could provide. Her hull was 30 inches thick in places and was egg-shaped, a design that would allow her to rise and ride above sea ice that pushed against her below the waterline – popping up out of the ice – rather than be crushed by it, her bow and stern both had 1-inch steel plating. Between the bow and stern plating, a layer of steel 3⁄8 of an inch thick and 6 feet tall extended along the waterline. Previous Arctic exploration ships had relied on sails for their primary propulsion, with engine power secondary, but Roosevelt became the first such ship to reverse that principle, she had a raked stem intended to increase her ramming and cutting power against sea ice, a short length at the waterline and narrow beam to give her increased maneuverability when steering between ice packs.
Her rudder was of a special design that gave her the maximum possible steering capacity while exposing the rudder as little as possible to ice damage. Her design minimized auxiliary structures, both to allow the stowage of sufficient fuel and provisions for lengthy stays in the Arctic and to give her a shallow draft so that she could operate in shallow waters and close to shore. Roosevelt was the first ship built in the Western Hemisphere for Arctic exploration, her construction cost US$150,000 and was funded in part by a US$50,000 gift by George Crocker, the youngest son of banker Charles Crocker. The McKay and Dix Shipyard laid her keel at Bucksport, Maine, on 19 October 1904. Sponsored by Peary's wife, Josephine Peary, who broke a bottle of champagne encased in ice across Roosevelt's bow, the ship was launched on 23 March 1905 and christened SS Roosevelt in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, who had supported Peary and played an instrumental role in arranging for the U. S. Navy to grant Peary a leave of absence.
After fitting out, she was delivered to her owner, the Peary Arctic Club, in July 1905. She drew considerable attention because of her innovative design and at the time of her construction she was considered the strongest wooden vessel built. On 16 July 1905, captained by Robert Bartlett, set out from New York City on what was called the Roosevelt Expedition, sponsored by the Peary Arctic Club, with Peary and his party aboard. Roosevelt withstood a fire, rudder damage, encounters with fog and icebergs and proceeded northward to Cape Sheridan in the north of Ellesmere Island. Made fast to the ice on 5 September 1905, she remained there through the winter of 1905–1906, becoming the second-largest ship to spend a winter in the Arctic. Peary and his party disembarked in January 1906 to head northward across the ice, set a record for Farthest North, reaching a latitude of 87 degrees 6 minutes North before turning back. Roosevelt broke out of the ice on 4 July 1906, prior to the return of the expedition.
Carried 20 nautical miles south, she crashed against an ice foot a few days losing propeller blades, her rudder, her sternpost. On 30 July 1906, Peary and his party returned to her after a six-month absence, on 24 August 1906 Roosevelt broke free and turned southward. By mid-September 1906 she was far enough south to assure her escape from the ice before the winter freeze and in December 1906 she arrived at New York City. On 8 July 1908, again captained by Robert Bartlett, cleared New York Harbor and began a voyage north via Baffin Bay, Smith Sound, Kane Basin, Kennedy Channel, Hall Basin, Robeson Channel into the Arctic Ocean. In early September 1908 she again made fast to the ice at Cape Sheridan to wait out the winter of 1908–1909 as Peary and his party tried for the North Pole. Departing Cape Sheridan in February 1909, P
The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, parts of Alaska, Greenland, Northern Canada, Norway and Sweden. Land within the Arctic region has seasonally varying snow and ice cover, with predominantly treeless permafrost -containing tundra. Arctic seas contain seasonal sea ice in many places; the Arctic region is a unique area among Earth's ecosystems. For example, the cultures in the region and the Arctic indigenous peoples have adapted to its cold and extreme conditions. Life in the Arctic includes organisms living in the ice and phytoplankton, fish and marine mammals, land animals and human societies. Arctic land is bordered by the subarctic; the word Arctic comes from the Greek word ἀρκτικός, "near the Bear, northern" and that from the word ἄρκτος, meaning bear. The name refers either to the constellation Ursa Major, the "Great Bear", prominent in the northern portion of the celestial sphere, or to the constellation Ursa Minor, the "Little Bear", which contains Polaris, the Pole star known as the North Star.
There are a number of definitions of. The area can be defined as north of the Arctic Circle, the approximate southern limit of the midnight sun and the polar night. Another definition of the Arctic is the region where the average temperature for the warmest month is below 10 °C; the Arctic's climate is characterized by cool summers. Its precipitation comes in the form of snow and is low, with most of the area receiving less than 50 cm. High winds stir up snow, creating the illusion of continuous snowfall. Average winter temperatures can go as low as −40 °C, the coldest recorded temperature is −68 °C. Coastal Arctic climates are moderated by oceanic influences, having warmer temperatures and heavier snowfalls than the colder and drier interior areas; the Arctic is affected by current global warming, leading to Arctic sea ice shrinkage, diminished ice in the Greenland ice sheet, Arctic methane release as the permafrost thaws. Due to the poleward migration of the planet's isotherms, the Arctic region is shrinking.
The most alarming result of this is Arctic sea ice shrinkage. There is a large variance in predictions of Arctic sea ice loss, with models showing near-complete to complete loss in September from 2040 to some time well beyond 2100. About half of the analyzed models show near-complete to complete sea ice loss in September by the year 2100. Arctic life is characterized by adaptation to short growing seasons with long periods of sunlight, to cold, snow-covered winter conditions. Arctic vegetation is composed of plants such as dwarf shrubs, herbs and mosses, which all grow close to the ground, forming tundra. An example of a dwarf shrub is the Bearberry; as one moves northward, the amount of warmth available for plant growth decreases considerably. In the northernmost areas, plants are at their metabolic limits, small differences in the total amount of summer warmth make large differences in the amount of energy available for maintenance and reproduction. Colder summer temperatures cause the size, abundance and variety of plants to decrease.
Trees cannot grow in the Arctic, but in its warmest parts, shrubs are common and can reach 2 m in height. In the coldest parts of the Arctic, much of the ground is bare. Herbivores on the tundra include the Arctic hare, lemming and caribou, they are preyed on by the snowy owl, Arctic fox, Grizzly bear, Arctic wolf. The polar bear is a predator, though it prefers to hunt for marine life from the ice. There are many birds and marine species endemic to the colder regions. Other terrestrial animals include wolverines, Dall sheep and Arctic ground squirrels. Marine mammals include seals and several species of cetacean—baleen whales and narwhals, killer whales, belugas. An excellent and famous example of a ring species exists and has been described around the Arctic Circle in the form of the Larus gulls; the Arctic includes sizable natural resources to which modern technology and the economic opening up of Russia have given significant new opportunities. The interest of the tourism industry is on the increase.
The Arctic contains some of the last and most extensive continuous wilderness areas in the world, its significance in preserving biodiversity and genotypes is considerable. The increasing presence of humans fragments vital habitats; the Arctic is susceptible to the abrasion of groundcover and to the disturbance of the rare breeding grounds of the animals that are characteristic to the region. The Arctic holds 1/5 of the Earth's water supply. During the Cretaceous time period, the Arctic still had seasonal snows, though only a light dusting and not enough to permanently hinder plant growth. Animals such as the Chasmosaurus, Hypacrosaurus and Edmontosaurus may have all migrated north to take advantage of the summer growing season, migrated south to warmer climes when the winter ca
John Ross (Royal Navy officer)
Sir John Ross was a British Royal Navy officer and Polar explorer. He was the uncle of Sir James Clark Ross, who explored the Arctic with him, led expeditions to Antarctica. John Ross was born in Balsarroch, West Galloway, Scotland, on 24 June 1777, the son of the Reverend Andrew Ross of Balsarroch, Minister of Inch in Wigtownshire, Elizabeth Corsane, daughter of Robert Corsane, the Provost of Dumfries, his family home was at Stranraer. In 1786, aged only nine, Ross joined the Royal Navy as a first-class volunteer and was assigned to HMS Pearl, it soon sailed to the Mediterranean Sea, where it remained until 1789. He served aboard HMS Impregnable for several months before a transfer to the merchant marine for eight years. In September 1799 he was recalled to the Navy and appointed midshipman on HMS Weazel, which shortly joined in the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland. Short periods of service on HMS Clyde and HMS Diligence followed, during which he acted as a lieutenant. From 1803, he served on various vessels.
This included a period on HMS Grampus and HMS Victory, the flagship of the commander of the Baltic fleet, Rear Admiral James Saumarez. During his service, Ross was wounded several times, the most severe of these being in 1806 when boarding a Spanish vessel. In late 1808, Ross was seconded to the Swedish Navy. In 1812, he was promoted to commander. In 1818, Ross received the command of an Arctic expedition organised by the British Admiralty, the first of a new series of attempts to solve the question of a Northwest Passage; this entailed sailing to the Bering Strait. He was to note the currents, the state of ice and magnetism and to collect specimens he found on the way; the expedition left London in April, with Ross commanding HMS Isabella and accompanied by HMS Alexander under Lieutenant William Edward Parry. He sailed counter-clockwise around Baffin Bay repeating the observations made by William Baffin two hundred years before. In August, he entered Lancaster Sound at the north end of Baffin Island.
He sailed a number of miles west but went no further, for he was misled by a mirage which appeared to show mountains at the end of the strait. He named the apparent mountains "Croker Mountains", in honour of John Wilson Croker first secretary of the Admiralty, he returned to England despite the protests of several of his officers, including Parry and Edward Sabine who thought he should have more examined the "mountains". The account of his voyage published a year brought to light their disagreement, the ensuing controversy over the existence of Croker Mountains ruined his reputation; this expedition failed to discover much, new. Its main effect was to open a route for whale ships to the northern Baffin Bay and provoke Parry to re-explore Lancaster Sound and find a major portion of the Northwest Passage. Ross attained the rank of captain on his return to Scotland and about this time built the house North West Castle, in Stranraer, south-west Scotland. In 1829, his lieutenant on the previous expedition, returned to the Arctic and sailed 600 miles west beyond the "Croker Hills", thereby discovering the Parry Channel—the main axis of the Northwest Passage.
To redeem his reputation Ross proposed to use a shallow-draft steamship to break through the ice. The Admiralty was not interested, but he was able to convince the gin-magnate Felix Booth to finance a second expedition, his ship was Victory, a side-wheel steamer with paddles that could be lifted away from the ice and an experimental high-pressure boiler built by John Ericsson.(The engine caused trouble and during the first winter, it was dumped on the shore. It carried four officers: John Ross, James Clark Ross, William Thom, surgeon George McDiarmid and 19 men; the goal was Prince Regent Inlet at the west end of Baffin Island where Parry had lost his ship in 1825. Ross left the Thames on 23 May 1829. Baffin Bay was unusually ice-free and on 6 August, he passed the point where he had turned back 10 years before. On 11 August he turned south into Prince Regent Inlet, on 13 August reached Fury Beach where Parry had abandoned his ship; the hulk was gone but there were heaps of stores on the beach, some of which he took.
Continuing south he became the first European in the Gulf of Boothia, but by the end of September, he was blocked by ice 200 miles south of Fury Beach. He took winter quarters at Felix Harbour at the eastern tip of the Boothia Peninsula. In January 1830 a group of Netsilik Inuit provided food and information. For one of them, the ship's carpenter made a wooden leg. In the spring of 1830, James Clark Ross made several trips west into the interior. On 9 April, he reached the west side of the Boothia Peninsula and in May crossed over ice to the northwest shore of King William Island, assuming it was part of the mainland, it was mid-September. The crew sawed through the shore ice and warped the ship into open water, but it was soon caught in the ice. October was spent warping and sawing the ship into Sheriff Bay where they spent their second winter only 3 miles from Felix Harbour. No Inuit arrived until the following April 1831. James Clark Ross crossed the Boothia Peninsula and on 1 June 1831, became the first European to reach the North Magnetic Pole.
In August, the ship only got four miles before being trapped in Victoria Harbour. By January 1832 it was clear. Ross's plan was to drag the ship's boa
Albert Hastings Markham
Admiral Sir Albert Hastings Markham was a French- born, British explorer and officer in the Royal Navy. In 1903 he was invested as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, he died in London, England at the age of 76. He is remembered for designing the flag of New Zealand. Albert Markham was the fifth son of Captain John Markham, who had retired from the navy because of ill health with the rank of lieutenant. John Markham's grandfather, William Markham, had been Archbishop of York. Albert was born in Bagnères-de-Bigorre in the Hautes-Pyrénées department of France, where the family lived before moving to a farm on Guernsey. At age thirteen Albert was sent to London to live with his aunt, the wife of his uncle David Markham, at 4 Onslow Square. Neighbours included novelist William Thackeray, he was educated at Eastman's Royal Naval Academy. Markham's father was short of money for his education and had for some time tried to find a naval officer willing to sponsor Albert for admission to the navy.
He only succeeded in doing so after Albert had passed the normal entry age of fourteen, but by good luck the admiralty at that time had decided to experiment with accepting older cadets. His aunt's son Clements Markham, eleven years older than Albert, had joined the navy before leaving to become a geographer and explorer, he exerted a considerable influence on his career. When away from Clements and his wife Minna, who for much of his life he regarded as his only family, Albert was moody and defensive, he had a strong sense of duty as a naval officer, which compelled him to serve with a strict adherence to rules and established practices, strong religious convictions. He did not smoke, allowing that a gentleman might have an occasional cigar, but believing that cigarettes were for effeminate weaklings and that a black pipe ruined mind and body, he disapproved of those who did. He found it difficult to socialise with other officers, he disliked the peacetime navy, with its endless social engagements and ritual displays.
Markham's family emigrated to the United States and John Markham bought a farm at La Crosse in Wisconsin. Albert visited them twice and he was unimpressed, he found the trains slow, the hotels disreputable, travelling companions murderous. He was impressed by the wild grandeur and wildlife of the Mississippi Valley and was invited to hunt with General Mackenzie in Indian territory. Throughout his life he enjoyed hunting all manner of beasts; the only killing at which he showed disgust was the drawn-out deaths of whales, which he saw on Arctic voyages. He married Theodora Gervers in 1894, with. Markham had no great conviction for a naval career, but accepted the constraints it placed upon him in return for the opportunities it presented to further his other interests, he followed the advice he had been given to join and stick with the navy, although he suffered from seasickness and disliked the customary cruelty of service punishments. However, his austere upbringing had better suited him to the rigours of navy life than had his cousin's.
Markham joined the Royal Navy in 1856 at the age of 15 and spent the first eight years of his career on the China Station, travelling out in HMS Camilla and serving on Niger, HMS Retribution, Imperieuse, HMS Coromandel and HMS Centaur. His brother John was in Hong Kong, where he was suffering food poisoning from arsenic added to flour by local Chinese. Chinese pirates were the chief preoccupation of the navy as they would make raids on the harbour. On one occasion aged fifteen Markham led a party of two marines against a pirate junk; the pirates abandoned ship and those captured were taken ashore and beheaded. On another occasion he commanded a lorcha armed with a 12-pounder howitzer against a pirate ship holding two British captives. After a three-hour fight he boarded the ship with five men while outnumbered and took eleven prisoners; the British prisoners were found to have been crucified, so the pirates were executed. He became acquainted with a British Consulate official who encouraged an interest in ornithology and shooting snipe.
In 1862, Markham received a promotion to lieutenant. In 1864, he returned to Britain where he took naval exams and stayed with Clements and his wife Minna, at what was to be his only permanent home in England for 30 years. In November he was appointed to the last three-decker constructed for the Royal Navy, Victoria, in the Mediterranean. Life sailing in the Levant was less dangerous, only required the arrival of a British ship to settle a dispute. There was plenty of time for leave and Markham visited Turkey, the Holy Land and the Aegean islands. Appointment to the fleet patrolling the eastern end of the Mediterranean was considered by many as less desirable than the western patrol which visited France and Italy, but the historical sites in the east suited Markham's interests, he kept a journal describing the places he visited. One of his greatest delights was to meet Minna and Clements ashore and to accompany them on archaeological expedition in the region. In 1868, Markham was appointed first lieutenant of Blanche on the Australia Station where he helped suppress "blackbirding", the illegal trading of slaves between Queensland and the South Sea Islands.
This included time spent as an acting commander on Rosario. The issue was not straightforward, because the Queensland government was ambivalent towards the trade, which provided workers for its plantations; some of the native workers were pleased to be trave
Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition
Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 was an effort to reach the North Pole in which all three expedition members perished. S. A. Andrée, the first Swedish balloonist, proposed a voyage by hydrogen balloon from Svalbard to either Russia or Canada, to pass, with luck, straight over the North Pole on the way; the scheme was received with patriotic enthusiasm in Sweden, a northern nation that had fallen behind in the race for the North Pole. Andrée ignored many early signs of the dangers associated with his balloon plan. Being able to steer the balloon to some extent was essential for a safe journey, but there was much evidence that the drag-rope steering technique Andrée had invented was ineffective. Yet he staked the fate of the expedition on drag ropes. Worse, the polar balloon Örnen was delivered directly to Svalbard from its manufacturer in Paris without being tested; when measurements showed it to be leaking more than expected, Andrée refused to acknowledge the alarming implications. Most modern students of the expedition see Andrée's optimism, faith in the power of technology, disregard for the forces of nature as the main factors in the series of events that led to his death and those of his two companions Nils Strindberg and Knut Frænkel.
After Andrée, Frænkel lifted off from Svalbard in July 1897, the balloon lost hydrogen and crashed on the pack ice after only two days. The explorers faced a grueling trek back south across the drifting icescape. Inadequately clothed and prepared, shocked by the difficulty of the terrain, they did not make it to safety; as the Arctic winter closed in on them in October, the group ended up exhausted on the deserted Kvitøya in Svalbard and died there. For 33 years the fate of the Andrée expedition remained one of the unsolved riddles of the Arctic; the chance discovery in 1930 of the expedition's last camp created a media sensation in Sweden, where the dead men had been mourned and idolized. Andrée's motives have since been re-evaluated, along with assessing the role of the polar areas as the proving-ground of masculinity and patriotism. An early example is Per Olof Sundman's fictionalized bestseller novel of 1967, The Flight of the Eagle, which portrays Andrée as weak and cynical, at the mercy of his sponsors and the media.
The verdict on Andrée by modern writers for sacrificing the lives of his two younger companions varies in harshness, depending on whether he is seen as the manipulator or the victim of Swedish nationalist fervor around the turn of the 20th century. The second half of the 19th century has been called the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration; the inhospitable and dangerous Arctic and Antarctic regions appealed powerfully to the imagination of the age, not as lands with their own ecologies and cultures, but as challenges to be conquered by technological ingenuity and manly daring. Salomon August Andrée shared these enthusiasms, proposed a plan for letting the wind propel a hydrogen balloon from Svalbard across the Arctic Sea to the Bering Strait, to fetch up in Alaska, Canada, or Russia, passing near or right over the North Pole on the way. Andrée was an engineer at the patent office in Stockholm, with a passion for ballooning, he bought his own balloon, the Svea, in 1893 and made nine journeys with it, starting from Gothenburg or Stockholm and traveling a combined distance of 1,500 kilometres.
In the prevailing westerly winds, the Svea flights had a strong tendency to carry him uncontrollably out to the Baltic Sea and drag his basket perilously along the surface of the water or slam it into one of the many rocky islets in the Stockholm archipelago. On one occasion he was blown clear across the Baltic to Finland, his longest trip was due east from Gothenburg, across the breadth of Sweden and out over the Baltic to Gotland. Though he saw a lighthouse and heard breakers off Öland, he remained convinced that he was traveling over land and seeing lakes. During a couple of Svea flights, Andrée tested and tried out the drag-rope steering technique which he had developed and wanted to use on his projected North Pole expedition. Drag ropes, which hang from the balloon basket and drag part of their length on the ground, are designed to counteract the tendency of lighter-than-air craft to travel at the same speed as the wind, a situation that makes steering by sails impossible; the friction of the ropes was intended to slow the balloon to the point where the sails would have an effect.
Andrée reported, believed, that with drag rope/sails steering he had succeeded in deviating about ten degrees either way from the wind direction. This notion is rejected by modern balloonists. Use of drag ropes—prone to snapping, falling off, or becoming entangled with each other or the ground, in addition to being ineffective—is not considered by any modern expert to be a useful steering technique; the Arctic ambitions of Sweden were still unrealized in the late 19th century, while neighboring and politically subordinate Norway was a world power in Arctic exploration through such pioneers as Fridtjof Nansen. The Swedish political and scientific elite were eager to see Sweden take that lead among the Scandinavian countries which seemed her due, Andrée, a persuasive speaker and fundraiser, found it easy to gain support for his ideas. At a lecture in 1895 for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Andrée thrilled the audience of geographers and meteorologists.
Jason was a Norwegian whaling vessel laid down in 1881 by Rødsverven in Sandefjord, the same shipyard which built Ernest Shackleton's ship Endurance. The ship, financed by Christen Christensen, an entrepreneur from Sandefjord, was noted for her participation in an 1892-1893 Antarctic expedition led by Carl Anton Larsen; the vessel reached 68°10'S, set a new record for distance travelled south along the eastern Antarctic Peninsula. The ship's first mate during the expedition was Søren Andersen of Sandefjord. Jason was rechristened Stella Polare. In 1888, Fridtjof Nansen captained Jason to Greenland in order to attempt the first documented crossing of the island. From 1892 to 1894, the ship was used on scientific whaling expeditions to the Antarctic, funded by A/S Oceana; the purpose of these expeditions were to map the presence of seals in the area. During this mission, Jason achieved a record of going the longest south in the area, reaching 68°10'S. Jason Peninsula Jason Harbour 54°12′S 36°35′W South Georgia Jason Island 54°11′S 36°29.5′W South Georgia Jason Peak 54°11.5′S 36°37′W South Georgia Cape Framnes Christensen Island: 65°5'S, 58°40'W Foyn's Land Larsen Ice Shelf Mount Jason: 65°44'S, 60°45'W Norway Sound Robertson Island: 65°10′S 59°37′W Seal Islands Veier Head: 66°26'S, 60°45'W In 1898 the Italian prince and explorer Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi wanted to do polar expeditions.
He travelled to Norway and consulted the famous polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen that had sailed the furthest north with the Colin Archer built polar ship Fram in 1893-96. In 1899 Amedo renamed her Stella Polare and took her to Colin Archer's shipyard; the interior was stripped out and beams and knees strengthened the ship. At the same time, Colin Archer fitted out Southern Cross for polar expeditions and the two ships lay side by side at the yard in Larvik. Amedeo gathered an expeditionary crew of Italian and Norwegian civilians and sailed from Christiana on 12 June of that year. By the 30th, they had reached Russia to load sled dogs onto the ship. Leaving Russia, they headed for Franz Josef Land, they landed in Teplitz Bay in Rudolf Island, with a hope to establish a winter camp for the expedition. From here, they established a string of camps designed to supply each other with food and men. During the expedition, Amedeo lost two fingers to frostbite, had to hand command of the voyage over to Captain Umberto Cagni.
On 25 April 1900, Cagni planted the Italian flag at 86°34'N, claiming the title of "Farthest North." Amedo's uncle was murdered and the widow made a silver replica of Stella Polare at a cost of 12.000 lire and placed it at the virgin Marias wonder working picture in the cathedral of Torino, Italy. In July 1909 the Stella Polare was given as training ship for an association in Rome, she was taken under tow from the arsenal in Spezia and anchored at Ripa Grande in river Tiber, a little upstream of the Aventinerhights. There she caught fire. Larsen, C. A. "The Voyage of the "Jason" to the Antarctic Regions." The Geographical Journal, Vol. 4, No. 4. Pp. 333–344
Farley McGill Mowat, was a Canadian writer and environmentalist. His works were translated into 52 languages, he sold more than 17 million books, he achieved fame with the publication of his books on the Canadian north, such as People of the Deer and Never Cry Wolf. The latter, an account of his experiences with wolves in the Arctic, was made into a film of the same name released in 1983. For his body of work as a writer he won the annual Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature in 1970. Mowat's advocacy for environmental causes earned him praise, but his admission, after some of his books' claims had been debunked, that he "never let the facts get in the way of the truth" earned harsh criticism: "few readers remain neutral". Descriptions of Mowat refer to his "commitment to ideals" and "poetic descriptions and vivid images" as well as his strong antipathies, which provoke "ridicule, lampoons and, at times, evangelical condemnation". Mowat was born May 12, 1921 in Belleville and grew up in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
His great-great-uncle was Ontario premier Sir Oliver Mowat, his father, Angus Mowat, was a librarian who fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. His mother was Helen Lilian Thomson, daughter of Henry Andrew Hoffman Thomson & Georgina Phillips Farley Thomson of Trenton, Ontario. Mowat started writing, in his words "mostly verse", when his family lived in Windsor from 1930 to 1933. In the 1930s, the Mowat family moved to Saskatoon, where as a teenager Mowat wrote about birds in a column for the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. During this time he wrote his own nature newsletter, Nature Lore. In the 1930s Mowat never completed a degree, he took his first collecting expedition in the summer of 1939 to Saskatoon with fellow zoology student Frank Banfield collecting data regarding mammals and Mowat focusing on birds. They sold their collections to the Royal Ontario Museum to finance their trip. Before enlisting Banfield published his field notes in the Canadian Field-Naturalist. Mowat published his when he returned from World War II.
During World War II, Mowat joined the Canadian Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Second Battalion, The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, affectionately known as the Hasty Ps. He went overseas as a reinforcement officer for that regiment, joining the Canadian Army in the United Kingdom, he saw brief active service when the 3rd Infantry Brigade was shipped to Brest, France, in June, 1940, but was withdrawn. On July 10, 1943, he was a subaltern in command of a rifle platoon and participated in the initial landings of Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily. Mowat served throughout the campaign as a platoon commander and moved to Italy in September 1943, seeing further combat until December 1943. During the Moro River Campaign, part of the Italian Campaign, he suffered from battle stress, heightened after an incident on Christmas Day outside of Ortona, Italy when he was left weeping at the feet of an unconscious friend, Lieutenant Allan Park, who had an enemy bullet in his head.
He accepted a job as Intelligence Officer at battalion headquarters moving to Brigade Headquarters. He stayed in Italy with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division for most of the war, was promoted to the rank of captain. Mowat moved with the division to northwest Europe in early 1945. There, he worked as an intelligence agent in the Netherlands and went through enemy lines to start unofficial negotiations about food drops with General Blaskowitz; the food drops, under the codename Operation Manna, saved thousands of Dutch lives. Mowat formed the 1st Canadian Army Museum Collection Team, according to his book My Father's Son, arranged for the transport to Canada of several tons of German military equipment, including a V2 rocket and several armoured vehicles; some of these vehicles are on display today at Canadian Forces Base Borden's tank museum, as well as the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Mowat was discharged in 1945, at the conclusion of World War II, as a captain and was considered for promotion to major.
However, he declined the offer as it would have required his volunteering to stay in the military until "no longer needed", which Mowat assumed meant duty with the Canadian Army Occupation Force. He was entitled to the following medals as a result of his service: the 1939–1945 Star, the Italy Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and the War Medal 1939–1945. In 1947 Mowat was hired as field technician for the legendary American naturalist, Francis Harper in his study of the barren-ground caribou in the Nueltin Lake area—now Nunavut's Kivalliq Region, resulting in the publication of Harper's book entitled Caribou of Keewatin. Two young Inuit were with them, including then-fifteen-year-old Inuk Luke Anoteelik and his sister Rita, who were the sole survivors of starvation in an Inuit village. Luke Anowtalik went on to become well known for his distinctive carvings of antler and bone that are now in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada.
Due to a clash of personalities, Mowat undertook his own explorations. "Harper extracted a promise that neither would mention the other in their respective future writing, a promise extracted from Mowat by field companions for their lifetimes."In the late 1940s Mowat was hired by Frank Banfield – Chief Mammalogist of the newly formed Canadian Wildlife Service – as field assistant in Banfield's ambitious multi-year investigation of the barren-ground Caribou, which resulted in Banfield's influential 1951 publication entitled "The Barren-ground Caribou." Mowat, pa