HMS Challenger Captains

Captain George Strong Nares

Captain George Nares was born 24 April 1831 in Monmouthshire, Wales. He started discovering the sea when he was just 17 as a midshipman to an Australian station. After, he took his lieutenant’s exam and went on a polar expedition in 1852 before commanding HMS Salamander in Australia from 1865.

Nares commanded the HMS Challenger expedition for most of the voyage, commanding 23 officers and approximately 240 crew. In 1874 he was recalled to command the British Arctic Expedition that ran from 1875-76 and was knighted on his return.

Captain Frank Thurle Thomson

Captain Frank Thurle Thomson and Lieutenant Carpenter took Captain Nares’ place on HMS Challenger whilst the ship was in China. The scientists and crew were quite disappointed that Nares had to leave but Captain Thomson successfully commanded the voyage until they reached the end at Portsmouth in May, 1876.


Corfield, Richard, The Silent Landscape: In the Wake of HMS Challenger 1872-1876, (London, 2004)