Entry TypePerson
Epithetnaval officer
Datesc 1812-1848
Gender IdentityMale
HistoryHe joined the navy in 1825, serving on an expedition to survey the River Euphrates early in his career and then as a gunnery lieutenant in the First Opium War (1839-1842). He was originally Sir John Barrow's first choice to lead the 1845 expedition to search for the North West Passage, but his inexperience in Arctic conditions would have been held against him. Sir John Franklin was appointed instead, with Fitzjames appointed as Franklin's second in command on the ship H.M.S. Erebus and responsible for the day-to-day running of the ship; he had been given the responsibility of appointing most of the junior officers. He was still alive in April 1848, when he wrote the additional information in the margins on what is known as the Victory Point note, the last known written record from the expedition itself.
RelationshipsHis parentage is unclear; there are claims that he was the illegitimate son of the diplomat Sir James Gambier, who serevd as British Consul in Rio de Janeiro.
Authorised Form of NameFitzjames; James (c 1812-1848); naval officer

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