Sir Edward Belcher
Sir Edward Belcher, (27 February 1799 – 18 March 1877) was a British naval officer and explorer born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was in 1852 that he commanded a government expedition that sailed from England and scoured the Arctic for two years to find traces of a previous expedition led by Sir John Franklin. Belcher and his men made exhaustive searches to the north, east, and west, but found no evidence revealing the exact location of the lost Franklin expedition.
Belcher's was known as a harsh commander who inspired hatred in his officers and his inability to render himself popular with his subordinates was peculiarly unfortunate on an Arctic voyage where he was not wholly suited to command vessels among ice. These factors ultimately contributed to the failure of his mission. Upon his return to Great Britain he was court martialed for abandoning 4 out of the 5 ships in his fleet, one of which was the HMS Resolute.
However, based on the intelligence he gathered on his mission, Sir Edward was able to conclude that Sir John Franklin’s fate would be found in the southern parts of the Arctic. This assessment proved correct as proof of the Franklin expedition’s unfortunate deaths was later discovered by subsequent expeditions.
In addition to helping determine the whereabouts of Sir John Franklin and his men, Sir Edward Belcher’s expedition discovered numerous significant Arctic geographical locations. Among these were Barrow Bay, Northumberland Sound, Exmouth Island, North Cornwall, Princess Royal Island, North Kent Island, Prince Edward’s Cape, Prince Albert’s Island, Buckingham Island, Victoria Archipelago, and Cape Disraeli. The Belcher Channel -- located below Cornwall Island -- was named for Sir Edward Belcher, as were the Belcher Islands -- a group of large islands in the southern part of Hudson Bay. There is also a "Belcher Point" situated on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic.