JOSEPH RENE BELLOT (1826-1853), French Arctic explorer, was born at Rochefort on the 18th of March 1826, the son of a farrier. With the aid of the authorities of his native town he was enabled at the age of fifteen to enter the naval school, in which he studied two years and earned a high reputation. He then took part in the Anglo-French expedition of 1845 to Madagascar, and received the cross of the Legion of Honour for distinguished conduct. He afterwards took part in another Anglo-French expedition, that of Parana, which opened the river La Plata to commerce. In 1851 he joined the Arctic expedition under the command of Captain Kennedy in search of Sir John Franklin, and discovered the strait between Boothia Felix and Somerset Land which bears his name. Early in 1852 he was promoted lieutenant, and in the same year accompanied the Franklin search expedition under Captain Inglefield. As on the previous occasion, his intelligence, devotion to duty and courage won him the esteem and admiration of all with whom he was associated. While making a perilous journey with two comrades for the purpose of communicating with Sir Edward Belcher, he suddenly disappeared in an opening between the broken masses of ice (August 1853). A pension was granted to his family by the emperor Napoleon III., and an obelisk was erected to his memory in front of Greenwich hospital.
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