Melville Island, North West Passage - HMS Hecla

HMS Hecla was one of the most famous discovery vessels of her age and was launched along with a sister ship, HMS Infernal, in 1815 at Hessle Cliff by the firm run by John Barkworth and George Hawkes . Their shipyard, at Cliff Hill Flatt Close, was situated on the River Humber foreshore not far from the old cottages that still stand by the little road that runs close to the water's edge. Little remains of what was once a thriving shipyard, save a few mud stained cobbles scattered along an almost empty shoreline set against the looming northern towers of the Humber Bridge.

When the Hecla and Infernal were launched into the River Humber, the two ships were probably taken down river to Humber Dock, now the Hull Marina, where the final work of making them ready for the sea was carried out. Hecla was named after the Icelandic volcano Hekla and the ship gave its name to the Hecla class bomb vessels, most were named after Volcanoes. These bomb vessels were heavily built ships intended to carry mortars for bombardment and in 1816 both the Hecla and Infernal saw action in Pellew's bombardment of Algiers, an attack on the Barbary pirates. Both ships were mentioned in R.M.Ballantyne's book, The Pirate City.

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This is Parry's Rock, a Canadian landmark located at Winter Harbour on Melville Island.
It was where William Parry and his ships, Hecla and Griper spent the winter of 1819/1820
on the first recorded voyage into the Arctic islands. The rock is engraved by his expedition.
In 1909, the Canadian Joseph-Elzéar Bernier visited the rock and claimed the Arctic
in the name of Canada. There is also a plaque on the side of the rock
commemorating the event.

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Hull, England


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