William Edward Parry

William Edward Parry

: "For the later admiral (1893-1972), see Edward Parry; for the New Zealand politician see William Parry (New Zealand)"

explorer; "an evangelical [Christian] and an ardent advocate of moral reform in the navy." [Miller, p. 76]

Parry was born in Bath, the son of Dr. Caleb Hillier Parry and Sarah Rigby. He was educated at King Edward's School, Bath. At the age of thirteen he joined the flag-ship of Admiral Cornwallis in the Channel fleet as a first-class volunteer, in 1806 became a midshipman, and in 1810 received promotion to the rank of lieutenant in the frigate "Alexander", which spent the next three years in the protection of the Spitsbergen whale fishery. He took advantage of this opportunity for the study and practice of astronomical observations in northern latitudes, and afterwards published the results of his studies in a small volume on "Nautical Astronomy by Night" (1816). From 1813-1817 he served on the North American station.

In 1818 he received command of the brig "Alexander" in the Arctic expedition under Captain (afterwards Sir) John Ross. This expedition returned to England without having made any new discoveries but Parry, confident, as he expressed it, "that attempts at Polar discovery had been hitherto relinquished just at a time when there was the greatest chance of succeeding", in the following year obtained the chief command of a new Arctic expedition; consisting of the two ships HMS "Griper" and HMS "Hecla".

This expedition returned to England in November, 1820 after a voyage of almost unprecedented Arctic success, having accomplished more than half the journey from Greenland to Bering Strait, the completion of which solved the ancient problem of a Northwest Passage. A narrative of the expedition, entitled "Journal of a Voyage to discover a North-west Passage", appeared in 1821.

Upon his return Lieutenant Parry received promotion to the rank of commander. In May 1821 he set sail with the HMS "Fury" and HMS "Hecla" on a second expedition to discover a Northwest Passage, but had to return to England in October 1823 without achieving his purpose. During his absence he had in November 1821 been promoted to post rank, and shortly after his return he was appointed acting hydrographer to the navy. His "Journal of a Second Voyage, &c.", appeared in 1824.

With the same ships Parry undertook a third expedition on the same quest in 1824, but again unsuccessfully, and following the wreck of the "Fury", he returned home in October 1825 with a double ship's company. He published an account of this voyage in 1826.

Parry also pioneered the use of canning techniques for food preservation on his Arctic voyages. However, his techniques were not infallible: in 1939 viable spores of certain heat-resistant bacteria were found in canned roast veal that had traveled with Parry to the Arctic Circle in 1824.

In the following year Parry obtained the sanction of the Admiralty for an attempt on the North Pole from the northern shores of Spitsbergen, and his extreme point of 82° 45’ N. lat. remained for 49 years the highest latitude attained. He published an account of this journey under the title of "Narrative of the Attempt to reach the North Pole, &c." (1827). In April 1829 he was knighted.

On 23 October, 1826 Parry married Isabella Louisa Stanley daughter of John Stanley, 1st Baron Stanley of Alderley and Lady Maria Josepha Holroyde.

Parry served as Commissioner of the Australian Agricultural Company based at Tahlee on the northern shore of Port Stephens New South Wales, Australia from 1829 to 1834.

Parry was subsequently selected for the post of comptroller of the newly-created department of steam machinery of the Navy, and held this office until his retirement from active service in 1846, when he was appointed captain-superintendent of Haslar Hospital. He reorganised the Packet Service (overseas mail), which had been transferred from the Post Office to the Admiralty in January 1837. Steamship companies were contracted to carry the mail, instead of naval vessels, on a regular schedule [ODNB article by J. K. Laughton, ‘Parry, Sir (William) Edward (1790–1855)’, rev. A. K. Parry, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2006 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/21443] , accessed 31 October 2007.] .

He attained the rank of rear-admiral in 1852, and in the following year became a governor of Greenwich Hospital, and retained this post until his death.

Sir Edward Parry’s character was influenced by his unwavering belief in Jesus Christ, and besides the journals of his different voyages he also wrote a "Lecture to Seamen, and Thoughts on the Parental Character of God".

See "Memoirs of Rear-Admiral Sir W. E. Parry", by his son, Rev. Edward Parry (3rd edition, 1857).

Parry crater on the Moon was named after him, like was Parry County, New South Wales, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada, and the optical phenomenon Parry arc, documented by him during the 1819-1821 expedition.

External links

*gutenberg author| id=William+Edward+Parry | name=William Edward Parry
* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=4123 Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online]
* [http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/mtq?doc=91098 Volume I of Parry's "Voyages"]
* [http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/mtq?doc=91097 Volume II of Parry's "Voyages"]
* [http://www.oldworldauctions.com/detail.asp?owa_id=2145225166 Map detailing the 1819-1820 expedition]



*Parry, Edward. "Memoirs of Rear-Admiral Sir W. Edward Parry, Kt., Late Lieut.-Governor of Greenwich Hospital." New York: Protestant Episcopal Society for the Promotion of Evangelical Knowlege, 1858. [http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=bF0mAAAAMAAJ&dq=Sir+William+Edward+Parry&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=EG1m0hf0Gs&sig=UuRKMKh9S0mZb05VslM97EvWH94&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=9&ct=result#PPA181,M1 googlebooks] Retrieved September 27, 2008
* Lyon, G. F. "A Brief Narrative of an Unsuccessful Attempt to Reach Repulse Bay, Through Sir Thomas Rowe's "Welcome," in His Majesty's Ship Griper, in the Year MDCCCXXIV." London: J. Murray, 1825. [http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=xZMBAAAAYAAJ&dq=griper&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=IL08zLZP_L&sig=sLv9evJlcaCVEz5_kEOBYskf_mw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result googlebooks] Retrieved September 27, 2008
*Coleman, E. C. "The Royal Navy in Polar Exploration: From Frobisher to Ross. Revealing history." Gloucestershire: Tempus, 2006. ISBN 0-7524-3660-0
*Miller, Amy. "Dressed to Kill: British Naval Uniform, Masculinity and Contemporary Fashions 1748-1857" National Maritime Museum, 2007

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