Sir Richard Collinson

Sir Richard Collinson (1811 – 1883) naval officer and explorer, was born on 7th November 1811 at Gateshead, County Durham where his father, the Reverend John Collinson was rector.

He entered the navy in 1823 and in 1828 served in a surveying voyage around South America.  During the first opium war in 1842, he was employed as surveyor and pilot, after which he was promoted to the rank of commander and was tasked with surveying the coast of China.

In 1849 Collinson was appointed to command an expedition on the HMS Enterprise to search for the missing Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, travelling via the Bering Strait.  Of the many who had searched for Franklin, Collinson came closest to the place where the expedition had ended, and added considerably to geographical knowledge of the Arctic as a result.  He was awarded a gold medal by the Royal Geographical Society and was made an admiral (retired) in 1875.

In 1857 he settled at Ealing, Middlesex, with his mother and sisters and remained there for the rest of his life.  He died on 12th September 1883 at his home and was buried at nearby Perivale, where a monument to his memory was erected by subscription.