8. Lyon, George Francis (1795-1832)   

The Private Journal of Captain G .F. Lyon during the Recent Voyage of Discovery under Captain Parry.  London: John Murray, 1824.

George Lyon was commander of the Hecla on Parry’s second voyage through Repulse bay and he wrote his own account of the adventure, to supplement Parry’s official narrative.  Here we get out first view of an Inuit igloo village.

Lyon was surprised at how airy and bright the snow huts were, so that one could easily read by the light coming through the translucent walls.  Until, that is, they eventually were covered with smoke. Lyon was also one of the first British officers to observe closely the Inuit use of dogs for sledging, although the British would continue to use man-hauled sledges for decades before anyone would adopt the native technique.

Lyon’s sketch of the Hecla, frozen into Frozen Straits, is not quite as dramatic as Beechey’s sketch of the Hecla and Griper locked into Winter Harbor in 1819 (see item 4), but it does show what it was like to weather a winter in the arctic. The British had by this time learned to surround their frozen-in ships with snow and ice-blocks, which served as effective insulation.


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