Markham, Albert Hastings, Sir, 1841-1918

Albert Hastings Markham was born on 11 November 1841 at Bagneres-de-Bigorre, France. After being educated at home and at Eastman's Royal Naval Academy, Southsea, he entered the Royal Navy in 1856, serving in China, the Mediterranean and Australia. He was promoted lieutenant in 1862 and commander in 1872. While on leave in 1873, he sailed to the Davis Strait region in the whaler Arctic on the British whaling and reconnaissance expedition (leader William Adams), in order to study ice conditions with a view to further polar exploration.

On his return, while serving as commander in HMS Sultan, he was appointed to command HMS Alert on the British Arctic Expedition, 1875-1876 (leader George Strong Nares). This expedition was sent by the Admiralty to attempt to reach the North Pole by way of Smith Sound, and to explore the coasts of Greenland and adjacent lands. Markham was selected to lead the Polar sledging party, which set out in April 1876, man-hauling heavy sledges over sea ice. Struggling north under great hardship, the party achieved a record latitude of 83°20 minutes 26 seconds North on 12 May. For his services during this expedition, Markham was promoted captain.


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