Biography

Douglas Charles Clavering was born at Holyrood House, Edinburgh, on September 8, 1794, the eldest son of Brigadier-General Henry Clavering and Lady Augusta Cambell, daughter of the fifth Duke of Argyll. Entering naval service at an early age, he served as midshipman on the frigate HMS Shannon during the famous engagement with the American frigate Chesapeake off Boston, Massachusetts, in June 1813, when he was 18 years old. His courageous conduct was mentioned in dispatches from Captain Philip Broke. He later served as lieutenant on the sloop HMS Spey in the Mediterranean, and in 1821 was appointed commander of HMS Pheasant, then off the west coast of Africa. There he met with then-Captain Edward Sabine. During a voyage together across the southern Atlantic, Clavering and Sabine conducted observations on the pendulum at Sierra Leone, the island of St Thomas, Ascension Island, Bahia and Maranham (Brazil), Trinidad, Jamaica, and New York (United States). Precise observations were also made on the direction and velocity of the equatorial current. Clavering's Arctic voyage took place in 1823. Soon after returning, Douglas Clavering was assumed lost at sea, aged 32, during the summer of 1827 when his ship, HMS Redwing, bound from Sierra Leone was sunk. Wreckage was found but all hands were missing. He bequeathed his name to Clavering 0ya, the island off the coast of East Greenland, partly encircled by 0le R0mer Land and Wollaston Foreland, where he had named the eastern extremity Cape Mary.

Ian D. Hodkinson

See also Hudson, Henry; Hudson's Bay Company; Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresbysund); Sabine, Edward; Scoresby, William

Further Reading

Clavering, Douglas Charles, "Journal of a Voyage to Spitzbergen and the East Coast of Greenland, in His Majesty's Ship Griper. By Douglas Charles Clavering, Esq. F.R.S., Commander. Communicated by James Smith, Esquire of Jordanhill, F.R.S.E. With a Chart of the Discoveries of Captains Clavering and Scoresby." The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, 1830, 1-30 + map

-, Unpublished Collections of Letters and Documents

Relating to the Voyages of HMS Redwing and HMS Spey (Ref. TD1/1106), the Provisioning of HMS Griper (Ref. TD1/1108) and the Voyage of HMS Griper to Spitsbergen (Ref. TD1/1107), Scotland: Glasgow City Archive Mitchell Library Sabine, Edward, An Account of Experiments to Determine the Figure of the Earth, by Means of the Pendulum Vibrating Seconds in Different Latitudes, Printed at the Expense of the Board of Longitude, London: Murray, 1825

-, "On the measurement of an arc of the meridian at

Spitsbergen." Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature and Art, 21 (1826): 101-108

Smith, Archibald, A Descriptive Essay on Captain D.C. Clavering's Voyage to Greenland, Unpublished Handwritten Manuscript, Family Papers of Archibald Smith (Ref. TD1/1109), Scotland: Glasgow City Archive, Mitchell Library

Smith, Julia Llewellyn, "Did Epic Explorer, Cast Adrift, Sail 3,000 Miles to Norway?." Electronic Telegraph, Issue 954, Sunday, January 4, 1998

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