Crozier Monument Banbridge
OS 27 Grid Ref 127462 Monument to Captain Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier in Church Square The Crozier Monument is in Church Square in Banbridge, to the north-east of the bridge over the river Bann It consists of a square base with two carved and two inscribed tablets and four flying buttresses surmounted by polar bears Above this is a pillared octagonal lantern and above that is a statue of Captain Crozier in dress uniform The monument was designed by W J Barre of Newry, who designed the Ulster Hall and Albert Memorial in Belfast, and was unveiled in 1862 The statue and relief tablets are by the sculptor J R Kirk of Dublin who also designed the monument in the parish church (qv) J R Kirk was born in Cork in 1821, fifth child and eldest son of Thomas Kirk, sculptor He made statues of many noted Irishmen, including Arthur, third Marquess of Downshire, on the column at Hillsborough (see Clarke: Gravestone Inscriptions, County Down, (1979), Vol 18, p 96-7; Strickland: A Dictionary of Irish Artists (1913))[cont]. CROZIER [CONT] The tablets are as follows:- Front: "To perpetuate the remembrance of talent, enterprise and worth as combined in the character and evidenced in the life of Captain Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier, RN, FRS, this monument has been erected by friends who, as they valued him in life, regret him in death He was second in command with Captain Sir John Franklin, RN, FRS, and Captain of HM ship Terror in the Polar Expedition which left England on the 22nd May 1845" [cont]. CROZIER [CONT] REAR "Although there remained no survivors of the expedition, enough has been ascertained to shew that to it is justly due the honor of the discovery of the long sought for North-West Passage and that Captain Crozier, having survived his chief, perished with the remainder of the party after he had bravely led them to the Coast of America He was born at Banbridge the [blank] September 1796 but of the place or time of his death no man knoweth unto this day" [cont]. CROZIER [CONT] Left and right: Reliefs of ships among icebergs, below each of which is the name "Crozier" Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier was born in Banbridge in September 1796 son of George Crozier who lived in the distinguished house in Church Square which is now preserved He entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman in June 1810 and served successively on HM S Hamadryad, Briton, Meander, Queen Charlotte and Dottrell While in the Briton, under the command of Sir Thomas Staines, he visited Pitcairn Island when the discovery was made that the island was peopled by the descendants of the mutineers of HMS Bounty In 1821 he was appointed to HMS Fury and accompanied Sir W E Parry in three of his four voyages to the Antarctic Following this he was promoted to lieutenant in 1826 and was employed as first lieutenant of the Stag frigate on the coasts of Spain and Portugal until 1835 Captain Crozier next volunteered to sail with Sir James Clark Ross in HMS Cove when despatched in the depth of winter to the assistance of whaling ships frozen up in the Davis Strait On his return from this expedition he was promoted to the rank of commander His next was in HMS Terror, again to the Antarctic, under Sir James Clark Ross This was a valuable scientific voyage of two years and is fully detailed in the published narrative of the voyages of H M S Erebus and Terror Shortly after his return from the Antarctic, Captain Crozier was asked to lead an expedition in search of the North-West Passage and to make further scientific observations in the area He declined to act as leader but agreed to be second-in-command to his friend Sir John Franklin, and sailed from the Thames as captain of HM S Terror on 22 May 1845 in company with Sir John Franklin's Erebus Sir John Franklin died in June 1841 and Captain Crozier took command Subsequently the party had to abandon ship and he conducted the survivors to the coast of America and thence to the Great Fish River He was thus the first to prove a continuous water communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and can be justly described as the discoverer of the North-West Passage The party had ample reserves of food and, in the expectation of their survival, many subsequent expeditions were sent in search of news The last and most successful of these was that of the Fox which found a message of April 1848 in a cairn It described Franklin's death and it must be concluded that Crozier and his companions died some time later in 1848 See D N B, XIII, 248; Linn: A History of Banbridge (1935).