Henry Larsen (explorer)

Henry Asbjorn Larsen ( born September 30, 1899 in Hvaler, Norway, † October 29, 1964 in Vancouver, Canada) was a police officer and navigator in the Arctic. His major achievements include several early crossings of the Northwest Passage.


Larsen completed his military service time in the Norwegian Navy, hired later on as a seaman on merchant ships and insisted on the sailor school the exam to Maat. After a few years on Norwegian ships, including a job as chief officer on a transatlantic steamer, he emigrated to Canada in 1924 and took British citizenship in 1927 there. On the way to Vancouver, he read that the Danish dealer Christian Klengenberg was looking for a mate, applied and was immediately adjusted to the traveling in the Canadian Western Arctic ancient trading schooner " Old Maid of Seattle " on which he mitmachte two trips. In April 1928 Larsen joined as " Constable " of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ( RCMP ), as these experienced volunteers sought for service in the Arctic. He graduated from the Canadian Police College. In April 1929, he was " Corporal ", half a year after " Sergeant ". In 1935, Henry Asbjorn Larsen, a member of the Federation of the Freemasons, his box the Mount Newton Lodge No.. 89, is in British Columbia.

In the following two decades, he was often used as a master of the same year identified in the RCMP schooner St. Roch in service for maritime patrols. At the beginning of the first Arctic voyage of the ship Larsen still served as a mate, but was almost as soon as the ship had reached the Arctic, appointed captain. The first twelve years until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 led Larsen and his team 12 summer and 7 winter long patrols and supply drives for the scattered items of the RCMP in the western Canadian Arctic through. The design of the ship was designed to spend frozen in ice and entire winter. In the winter time the St. Roch served as a floating outpost of the RCMP patrolled by the police officers from the Department by dogsled. The ship made ​​at this time the only sovereign representative of Canada in the Far North dar. Of the indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic Larsen Hanorie Umiarpolik was called (Henry with the big ship).

Larsen's most significant achievement was the 1940 to 1942 carried out initial crossing of the Northwest Passage from west to east direction with the St. Roch. It lasted because of large masses of ice that the McClintock Channel and the Franklin road blocked, a total of 28 months ( of which most of the time wintering on Victoria Island and the Boothia Peninsula) and was after the Norwegian Roald Amundsen by the Erstquerung whose itinerary Larsen on the way this was followed by the second implementation of the Northwest Passage at all. On the ( three -month due to better ice conditions ) return trip from Halifax to Vancouver chose Larsen 1944, more northerly route, which was never fully navigable, on the Lancaster and Viscount Melville Sound by the Prince of Wales street ( between Bank island and Victoria island ) to the Beaufort Sea. Thus the first return journey he had succeeded to the Northwest Passage. The journey of 1944 also presented the first crossing without wintering dar.

The last years of his service career was Larsen 's highest-ranking officer of the RCMP in the Arctic. After his first Northwest Passage, he was promoted in November 1942 to " Staff Sergeant ", after the second crossing to the "Sub - Inspector " ( September 1944 ) and " Inspector " ( 1946). In 1949 he became the senior officer ( " Officer Commanding " ) responsible for the Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory Division G of the RCMP appointed and thus it transferred responsibility for all departments of the Arctic RCMP. Stationed since he was in Ottawa. Most recently, he was in 1953 still " Superintendent ". In 1961 he retired and moved with his family first to Lunenburg ( Nova Scotia ), then to Vancouver. As Larsen died in 1964 after a short illness, he was buried in the RCMP cemetery in Regina ( Saskatchewan ). He left his native of Vancouver wife Mary Hargreaves, whom he had married in 1935, one son and two daughters.


The multiple honors for Larsen include the 1943 award Polar Medal in Silver for the captain and his crew in appreciation of the Arctic voyage from 1940 to 1942 and in 1946 awarded Patron's Medal in Gold of the Royal Geographical Society, whose honorary Fellow he was in 1947 also. Larsen was also a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and was awarded in 1959 the first Massey Medal for outstanding personal merits for the Canadian geography. In addition, he was a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America. In May 1961 he received from Waterloo University College, a Doctor of Laws honorary. According to him, the Larsensund is named ( between James Ross Street and Franklin Street), also built in 1987 the icebreaker CCGS Henry Larssen of the Canadian Coast Guard.

The schooner St. Roch RCMP is now the heart of the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Since 1958, the ship anchored permanently in a dry dock. To this around the museum building was erected. In 2000, the RCMP renamed on the occasion of the millennium of its vessels in St. Roch II and left it a chance to retrace Larsen's first Arctic journey.