41. Kennedy, William (1814-1890) 

A Short Narrative of the Second Voyage of the Prince Albert, in Search of Sir John Franklin.  London: W.H. Dalton, 1853.


Building a snow house, from William Kennedy, The second voyage of the Prince Albert, 1853.


Looking for help after being stranded at Cape Seppings on Somerset Island, from William Kennedy, The Second Voyage of the Prince Albert, 1853.

This voyage of the Prince Albert was a private affair, financed by Lady Franklin and commanded by Kennedy, an ex-Hudson’s Bay Company trader, with the help of Joseph Bellot, an officer in the French navy.  Perhaps because of the unorthodox make-up of the expedition, it was innovative on several fronts. 

Kennedy, after one sleepless night with sixteen men in a tent meant for eight, began making snow houses in the Inuit style, the first arctic explorer to do so.  He also made use of dogs to pull some of the sledges. They managed to make a 95-day sledge journey, covering over 1200 hundred miles, completing a circuit of upper Somerset Island and Prince of Wales Island.

It was a more impressive journey than the more famous venture of McClintock the year before (see item 40), who was aided by supply depots set out the previous autumn.

When they first arrived at Somerset Island, Kennedy had taken a small boat and landed at Cape Seppings near Port Leopold, where James Clark Ross had spent the winter of 1848-49, and had cached some supplies.  As Kennedy landed, Bellot and the Prince Albert were carried down the inlet by the icepack, and poor Kennedy and his men were stranded there for almost a month.  They survived, thanks to Ross’s stash of survival gear and provisions.

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