McLintock, Francis Leopold

McLintock, Sir Francis Leopold (1819-1907)
Naval Officer and Arctic Explorer

Sir Francis Leopold McLintock, a naval officer and Arctic explorer, was born on 8 July 18819 in Dundalk, County Louth. He entered the Royal Navy in 1831 and in 1848 joined Sir James Clark Ross’s expedition to the Arctic in search of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition of 1845. In November 1849, McLintock began the design of a comprehensive sledging system based on man-haulage rather than dog power that revolutionised polar exploration at that time. He later urged the greater use of dogs, following Inuit practice.

McLintock in 1859 found evidence that showed conclusively that Franklin and his men had perished on King William Island. McLintock received a knighthood in 1860 for his achievement in revealing Franklin’s fate. He made his last visit to the Arctic in July-November 1860, when he investigated a route for a submarine telegraph cable from Scotland to Labrador via Greenland.

McLintock was promoted rear-admiral in 1871, vice-admiral in 1877 and finally admiral on July 1884, a day before he retired. He helped organise Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic expedition of 1901-4. His finest achievements were his contribution to the solving of the Franklin mystery and his development of a sledging method that led to the rapid exploration of many of Canada’s Arctic island. A number of geographical features in Canada have been named after him. He died in London on 17 November 1907.


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