Thursday, January 16, 2014

Overlooked Alaska History: The Wreck of the Handsome Molly

Even after disasters like the Franklin expedition,  the idea of the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean remained a potent dream.  Like many before them, the Captain and crew of the Handsome Molly came to grief in the cruel North. Why have you never heard of them? So many good souls and true were lost in this fool's errand that the British Navy grew deeply embarrassed by the whole thing and hushed up the fact that they continued to send ships to their doom in the vain search for the shortcut to the Pacific up until the Norwegian Roald Amundsen finally succeeded in 1906. Was it blind obedience that led these men to undertake what by then was clearly a suicide mission? Ignorance? Hubris? Or was it simply that, as men, it was against their principles to stop and ask the locals for directions? 

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