Kennedy & Bellot

Captain William Kennedy (1814-1890) - He was born at Cumberland House in Rupert's Land, the half-breed son of Alexander Kennedy (who served with the HBC 1798-1829). When his father retired he traveled with him to England. In 1851 he took command of Lady Franklin's yacht Prince Albert to undertake a private expedition to search for Sir John Franklin. He wintered at Batty Bay on Somerset Island and in 1852 traveled southward along the coast. He and his second-in-command made independent discovery of Bellot Strait, separating Somerset Island from the Boothia Peninsula. Kennedy sailed through the strait and circumnavigated Somerset Island.

Joseph-Rene Bellot (1826-53) He was born 18/03/1826 at Paris. He attended a college at Rochefort on a scholarship. In 1841 he entered the Ecole Navale at BrestFrance graduating in 1843. Afterwards he served in vessels at Brest for six months. In 1844 he served as a Midshipman in the corvette Berceau in the Indian Ocean. In 1845 he was wounded in a joint Anglo-French operation against the port ofTamatave in Madagascar for which he was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour. In 1846 he served briefly in the frigate Belle-Poule. He returned to France and was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in 1847. He served two years in the corvette Triumphante returning to Rochefort in 1850. While inactive in France he became fascinated with the search for Franklin and felt that this operation should be a concern for France as well as for th eUK and the USA. In 1851 he wrote to Lady Franklin volunteering his services. Although this was initially opposed by the Admiralty, who were mistrustful, he was eventually given permission to join the Prince Albert. In 1851-52 he sailed with Captain William Kennedy on Lady Franklin's yacht the Prince Albert. While William Kennedy was ashore at Port Leopold the ship was carried away by the ice.Bellot put in at Batty Bay and set out on foot to rescue Kennedy. Bellot made a sledge journey of 1,100 miles with Kennedy in 1852. Both he and Kennedy independently discovered Bellot Strait, between Somerset Island and the Boothia Peninsula. In 1853 he asked to join E.A. Inglefield's HMS Phoenix expedition. At Beechey Island he set on foot to deliver dispatches to Belcher at Wellington Channel. On 17/08/1853 he was drowned while crossing ice in Wellington Strait while examining the ice conditions. His body was not recovered. His account of his voyage was published posthumously in France.

Bellot Strait is a narrow (2km wide) passage between Somerset Island and the Boothia Peninsula. The Strait has been transited by many ships subsequent to that time including a cruise ship. The Strait was discovered by Captain William Kennedy who was commanding a search for Franklin's lost expedition. He named it after Joseph René Bellot (a French naval officer). M'Clintock wintered there in 1858-9. The most northerly point of mainland North America it serves as an alternative to the ice conditions to the north. The Strait is difficult to transit due to strong tides and rocks when ice conditions permit.

Named Features:

  • Bellot Strait (NT);
  • Bellot Cliff (NT);
  • Bellot Island (NT);
  • Cape Kennedy(NT);
  • Port Kennedy (NT)