Robert McClure - Modern-day Tribute

Modern-day Tribute

On 29 October 2009 a special service of thanksgiving was held in the chapel at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, to accompany the rededication of the national monument to Sir John Franklin there. The service also included the solemn re-internment of the remains of Lieutenant Henry Thomas Dundas Le Vesconte, the only remains ever repatriated to England, entombed within the monument in 1873. The event brought together members of the international polar community and invited guests included polar travellers, photographers and authors and many descendants of Sir John Franklin and his men and the families of those who went to search for him, including Admiral Sir Francis Leopold McClintock, Rear Admiral Sir John Ross and Vice Admiral Sir Robert McClure among many others. This gala event, directed by the Rev Jeremy Frost and polar historian Dr Huw Lewis-Jones, celebrated the contributions made by the United Kingdom in the charting of the Canadian North and honoured the loss of life in the pursuit of geographical discovery. The Navy was represented by Admiral Nick Wilkinson, prayers were led by the Bishop of Woolwich and among the readings were eloquent tributes from Duncan Wilson, chief executive of the Greenwich Foundation and H.E. James Wright, the Canadian High Commissioner. At a private drinks reception in the Painted Hall which followed this Arctic service, Chief Marine Archaeologist for Parks Canada Robert Grenier spoke of his ongoing search for the missing expedition ships. The following day a group of polar authors went to London's Kensal Green Cemetery to pay their respects to the Arctic explorers buried there. After some difficulty, McClure's gravestone was located. It is hoped that his memorial may be conserved in the future.

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