Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/839

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Lieut. Mecham, and travelled over 665 miles in 69 days. In 1854 he started in the intense cold of March, and went over 586 miles in 56 days. On the return of this Arctic Ex- pedition he served in H.M.S. Olat- ton during the last year of the Crimean war; afterwards in H.M.S. Conqueror on the Mediterranean station. On the commencement of the present system of training for navsd cadets, he served as Lieu- tenant in charge of cadets under the late Captain Bobert Harris, in H.M. sAiipB Illustrious and Britannia. In 1854 he was promoted to the rank of Commander, being attached also to the training-ship Boscawen. In 1866-67 we find him employed at the Antipodes in command of the Salamander in surveying the eastern and north-eastern coasts of Aus- tralia and Torres Straits. In 1869 he was sent in H.M.S. Shearvxiter to survey and report upon the Gulf of Suez. From 1872 down to the end of 1874 Captain Nares was in conmiand of H.M.S. Challenger, employed in making extensive soundings on the coast of China, in the Eastern and South Pacific Oceans, and in other partd of the world. He was then oMered home, and appointed to the command of the Arctic Expedition. The two ships composing the expedition, H.M.S. Alert and H.M.S. Discovery, commanded respectively by Cap- tains Nares and Stephenson, left England in May, 1875, with the hope of reaching the North Pole. Tie expedition reached the mouth of Lady Franklin Bay on Aug. 27. Here Captain Nares left the Dis' covery to take up her quarters for the winter, while the Alert con- tinued her course along the west- em shore of Eobeson Channel. This course she held imtil, on Sept

3pt. the

1, the Alert herself attained the highest latitude, and was made fast to some grounded berg^ of ice, within 100 yards of a tolerably level beach, in lat. 82° 27' and long. 61 22'. Lieut. Bawson, of the Dis-

covery, with his sledge-crew of eight men, had accompanied the advance ship with the object of returning to the Discovery during the autumn with news of the Alert's progress. This journey, however, he was never able to accomplish, the snow being too deep, and tiie ice too treacherous and too frequently in motion to render sledge -travelling possible for a distance of 70 or ^ miles at so late a period of the year. The Discovery therefore knew nothing of her consort's position until the ensuing spring. On Oct. 12 the sun finally disappeared, leaving the Alert in total or partial darkness for 142 days, and the Discovery for almost the same period. After the retiim of daylight sledge expedi- tions were arranged. A jMrty, numbering in the aggregate 53 per- sons, led by Commander Markham and Lieut. Parr, made a most gallant attempt to reach the Pole. They were absent 72 days from the ship, and on May 12 succeeded in plaiiting the British flag in lat. 83- lO' 26" N. From this position there was no appearance of land to the northward, but, curiously enough, the depth of water was found ix> be only 72 fathoms. The men suffered intensely from the extreme cold, many were attacked by scurvy, and it was with great difficulty that the sledging party made their way back to the ship. Captain Nares now resolved to re- turn home, as, with the whole resources of the expedition he could not hope to advance more than about 50 miles beyond the positions already attained. The expedition arrived at Valentia, Oct. 27, 1876. In reward for his services Captain Nares was appointed a E.C.B. (Dec 1). He was afterwards again placed in command of the Alert, which sailed from Portsmouth Sept. 24, 1878, for a two years* survey of the South Pacific. He is the au&or of " The Naval Cadet's Guide, or Seaman's Companion; containing Complete Illustrations of all the