The Royal Navy, Ruler of the Seas

Discovery of a Northwest Passage

The tragic fate of Franklin and his men had not been in vain. In 1852 one of the many expeditions that had gone searching for them, that of Commodore Robert McClure on the HMS Investigator, reached Banks Island through the Bering Strait. McClure abandoned his ship there and went eastward on foot all the way to Melville Island, where he met another search ship that had arrived via the Atlantic. He returned to England on board the latter. A Northwest Passage had finally been found! But the "passage" was not navigable and from a strategic naval and military standpoint had no value. 116 But the Arctic Ocean played a significant role in defending the Canadian Prairies.