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Allison, Thomas (bap. 1647, d. in or before 1706), Arctic explorer, was baptized on 6 June 1647 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, the son of Roger Allison and his wife, Elizabeth. He became a freeman in 1668, having served his apprenticeship to Nicolas Allen...

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Atkinson, Edward Leicester (1881–1929), naval medical officer and explorer in Antarctica, was born on 23 November 1881 at Sion Hill, St Vincent, Windward Islands, West Indies, the third of eight children and the second and sole surviving son of Edward Leycester Atkinson, then an accountant at the ...

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A. H. Beesly

revised by Andrew Lambert

Back, Sir George (1796–1878), naval officer and explorer, was born on 6 November 1796 at Stockport, Cheshire, the second son of John Back and his wife, Ann. He entered the navy as midshipman of the Arethusa in 1808. He was present at the destruction of the batteries at ...

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Sir George Back (1796–1878) by Maull & Polyblank Howarth-Loomes Collection; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Baffin, William (1584?–1621), Arctic explorer, was probably born in London, possibly in 1584. Neither his parents' names nor details of his early life are known. He certainly married, and may have been the William Baffin who married Susan Hodges at St Bride's, Fleet Street...

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Balleny, John (b. c. 1770, d. in or after 1842), merchant navy officer and Antarctic discoverer, was born c.1770 but nothing is known about his early life and education. He may have been a Londoner, brought up in the Newcastle coal trade. From 1798, when he was living in the parish of ...

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Best, George (c. 1555–1584), explorer, was the son of Robert Best and Anne Bowman, married at Merstham in 1548. He learned much about geography from his father who worked as an interpreter for the Muscovy Company in London, having escorted the first Russian ambassador to ...

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Billings, Joseph (1758–1806), explorer and hydrographer in Russia, was born in 1758 at Turnham Green, Middlesex, according to ship musters; parish church registers confirm the birth of Joseph, son of Thomas and Mary Billing, on 6 September 1758. Billings's signed Russian service record, however, gives 1761 as the year of his birth. Other sources indicate that ...

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Binney, Sir (Frederick) George (1900–1972), explorer and blockade runner, was born on 23 September 1900 at Great Bookham, Surrey, the second of two sons of Maximilian Frederick Breffit Binney (1859–1936), vicar of Richmond, Surrey, and his first wife, Emily Blinkhorn, who died when ...

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A. G. E. Jones

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Biscoe, John (bap. 1794, d. 1843), merchant navy officer and explorer, was baptized in Enfield on 28 June 1794, the third son and youngest child of Thomas Biscoe of Waltham Abbey and his wife, Ann Tibbs. Nothing is known of his early years, but on leaving school he became a clerk. On 11 March 1812 he volunteered for the ...