1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Beechey, Frederick William
BEECHEY, FREDERICK WILLIAM (1796–1856), English naval officer and geographer, son of Sir William Beechey, R.A., was born in London on the 17th of February 1796. In 1806 he entered the navy, and saw active service during the wars with France and America. In 1818 he served under Lieutenant (afterwards Sir) John Franklin in Buchan’s Arctic expedition, of which at a later period he published a narrative; and in the following year he accompanied Lieutenant W. E. Parry in the “Hecla.” In 1821 he took part in the survey of the Mediterranean coast of Africa under the direction of Captain, afterwards Admiral, William Henry Smyth. He and his brother Henry William Beechey, made an overland survey of this coast, and published a full account of their work in 1828 under the title of Proceedings of the Expedition to Explore the Northern Coast of Africa from Tripoly Eastward in 1821–1822. In 1825 Beechey was appointed to command the “Blossom,” which was intended to explore Bering Strait, in concert with Franklin and Parry operating from the east. He passed the strait and penetrated as far as 71° 23′ 31″ N., and 156° 21′ 30″ W., reaching a point only 146 m. west of that reached by Franklin’s expedition from the Mackenzie river. The whole voyage lasted more than three years; and in the course of it Beechey discovered several islands in the Pacific, and an excellent harbour near Cape Prince of Wales. In 1831 there appeared his Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Bering’s Strait to Co-operate with the Polar Expeditions, 1825–1828. In 1835 and the following year Captain Beechey was employed on the coast survey of South America, and from 1837 to 1847 carried on the same work along the Irish coasts. He was appointed in 1850 to preside over the Marine Department of the Board of Trade. In 1854 he was made rear-admiral, and in the following year was elected president of the Royal Geographical Society. He died on the 29th of November 1856.