Horatio Thomas Austin


Horatio Austin

Sir Horatio Thomas Austin by Stephen Pearce.jpg
Austin in 1860
Birth nameHoratio Thomas Austin
Born(1800-03-10)10 March 1800
England, United Kingdom
Died16 November 1865(1865-11-16) (aged 65)
London, United Kingdom
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch Royal Navy
Service years1813–1864
WarsEgyptian–Ottoman War
Spouse(s)Ann Eliza

Sir Horatio Thomas Austin KCB (10 March 1800 – 16 November 1865) was a British Royal Navy officer and explorer.


Austin was born in England on 18 March 1800, the son of an official in the Chatham Dockyard.[1] In 1828, HMS Chanticleer was dispatched on a scientific expedition in the Pacific Ocean under the command of Captain Henry Foster, with Austin as his first lieutenant. Foster explored the South Atlantic, and especially the South Shetland Islands.

Foster drowned in 1831, in the Chagres River in Panama. After Foster's loss, the ship's command fell to Austin. On the expedition, the ship circumnavigated along the Southern Hemisphere and visited the River Plate, Isla de los Estados and South Georgia, before returning to Falmouth in 1830. During the early 1840s he commanded the steam paddle wheel frigate Cyclops.

Following the 1849 failure of Sir James Clark Ross's attempt to locate Franklin's lost expedition, Austin led an expedition in 1850 that also attempted to find the missing explorers. George F. McDougall was second master on board HMS Resolute.[2][3][4][5]

Although the expedition located only traces of Franklin's presence, Austin is credited with organising successful sledging expeditions along the coasts of several North American Arctic islands, including the island of Bathurst, Byam Martin, Melville, and Prince of Wales.

Between October 1850 and March 1851, members of the Resolute crew under Austin published at least five editions of a handwritten newspaper, The Illustrated Arctic News, during the wintering of the Resolute in what they identified as Barrow Strait.[6] Upon the return of the Resolute to home port in England, the manuscript paper was printed in London in 1852.[7] Austin became admiral superintendent at Malta Dockyard in 1863, and died in November 1865.[1]

Austin was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1840,[8] and was promoted to Knight Commander (KCB) in March 1865[9] just months before his death.


  1. ^ a b "Horatio Thomas Austin". Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  2. ^ Bray, E. (1992). A Frenchman in search of Franklin: de Bray's Arctic journal, 1852–1854. University of Toronto Press. pp. 48–50. ISBN 0802028136.
  3. ^ "Capt Horatio T. Austin". Portsmouth, Hampshire: Hampshire Telegraph and Naval Chronicle. p. 4. Retrieved 22 May 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Naval Intelligence, Woolwich, 19 February 1850". The Morning Post. London. 20 February 1850. p. 6. Retrieved 22 May 2020. Rear Admiral Fitzhardinge Berkeley, C.B., and Captain Sir Baldwin Walker, K.C.B., arrived at Woolwich Dockyard at twelve o'clock today, and were accompanied by Commodore Henry Eden, with Lieutenant Robertson, Mr. Lang, master shipwright, Mr. Humphreys, chief engineer, and Mr. Chatfield and Mr. Peake, assistants to the master shipwright, to the Eider steam vessel now in the east dock, i preparing tnr Captain Austin's searching expedition to the arctic regions. ...The Arctic Expedition. It is now decided that the Baboo and Ptarmigan sailing vessel's will be commanded by captains, and the Eider and Free-trader screw propeller team vessels by lieutenants.
  5. ^ "The Arctic Expedition, 1850". Truro, Cornwall: The Royal Cornwall Gazette, Falmouth Packet, and General Advertiser. 1 March 1850. p. 2. Retrieved 22 May 2020. The Arctic Expedition. The Admiralty have purchased the Baboo and Ptarmigan sailing vessels, and the Eider and Free Trade screw propeller steam vessels for this expedition. The two former are to be commanded by Capt. Austin and Capt. Ommanney, and the two steamers by lieutenants.
  6. ^ "The Illustrated Arctic News,"
  7. ^ Roy Alden Atwood (1997). "Shipboard News: Nineteenth Century Handwritten Periodicals at Sea." Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (80th, Chicago, Illinois, 30 July – 3 August 1997) Addendum I.
  8. ^ "No. 19931". The London Gazette. 18 December 1840. p. 3015.
  9. ^ "No. 22952". The London Gazette. 28 March 1865. p. 1731.


  • Atwood, R.A. (1997). "Shipboard News: Nineteenth Century Handwritten Periodicals at Sea." Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (80th, Chicago, Illinois, 30 July – 3 August 1997) Addendum I; see also "The Illustrated Arctic News" in The Handwritten Newspapers Project
  • Coleman, E.C. (2006). The Royal Navy in Polar Exploration from Franklin to Scott. Tempus.
  • Osborn, S.; McDougall, G.F. ed. (1852). Facsimile of the Illustrated Arctic News, Published on Board H.M.S. Resolute. London: Ackerman.

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Media files used on this page

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Sir Horatio Thomas Austin by Stephen Pearce.jpg

Sir Horatio Thomas Austin, by Stephen Pearce (died 1904). See source website for additional information.

This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG.