Henry Kellett

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Sir Henry Kellett
Henry Kellett.jpg
Sir Henry Kellett
Born2 November 1806 (1806-11-02)
Tipperary county, Ireland
Died1 March 1875 (1875-04) (aged 68)
Tipperary county, Ireland
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Years of service1822–1871
RankVice Admiral
Commands heldHMS Starling
HMS Herald
HMS Resolute (1850))
Jamaica Division
China Station
Battles/warsFirst Opium War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath

Vice Admiral Sir Henry Kellett KCB (2 November 1806 – 1 March 1875) was a British naval officer and explorer.


Kellett joined the Royal Navy in 1822.[1] He spent three years in the West Indies and then served on survey vessels under William Fitzwilliam Owen in Africa, as second in command of HMS Sulphur under Edward Belcher in the East Indies,[2] and as captain of HMS Starling in the First Opium War with China during which he was promoted to Commander in 1841 and Post-Captain in 1842.[3]

In 1845 he was appointed captain of the survey ship HMS Herald as part of a hydrography survey mission whose primary mission was to survey the coast of North America from Guayaquil to Vancouver, including the Galápagos Islands.[4] He was temporarily reassigned in 1848 to join the search for Sir John Franklin. During this voyage he sailed through the Bering Strait across the Chukchi Sea and discovered Herald Island. Kellett landed on Herald Island and named it after his ship. He also sighted Wrangel Island in the western horizon. William Pullen was on this expedition.In 1852, he commanded HMS Resolute and went to the aid of Robert McClure, whose vessel, Investigator, was trapped in the Arctic.[2] His men constructed a storehouse on Dealy Island off the south coast of Melville Island.[5]

Kellett became Senior Officer in the West Indies in 1855 and superintended Jamaica Dockyard. Admiral Superintendent of the Malta Dockyard in 1864 and Commander-in-Chief, China Station in 1869.[1] Kellett retired in 1871.[1]


Several places in Hong Kong have been named after him: Kellett Island, Kellett Bay and Mount Kellett.[6][7] Kellett Bluff on Henry Island, Washington, USA, was probably named after Captain Kellett as well. It is a place with extreme currents, views, and is frequented by feeding orcas. Kellet's whelk Kelletia kelletii is named after him.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Henry Kellett R.N." pdavis.nl. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
  3. ^ Barr, William (2007). Arctic Hell-Ship: The Voyage of HMS Enterprise, 1850-1855. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press. p. 7. ISBN 0-88864-472-8.
  4. ^ Quanchi, Max (2005). Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Pacific Islands. The Scarecrow Press. p. 87. ISBN 0810853957.
  5. ^ Kellets' Storehouse- A Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre Online Exhibit Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Wordie, Jason (2002). Streets: Exploring Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. p. 141. ISBN 962-209-563-1.
  7. ^ Yanne, Andrew; Heller, Gillis (2009). Signs of a Colonial Era. Hong Kong University Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-962-209-944-9.
  8. ^ Forbes E. (1850). "On the species of Mollusca collected during the Surveying Voyages of the Herald and Pandora, by Capt. Kellett, R.N., C.B. and Lieut. Wood, R.N.". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 18: 270-274. plate IX, figure 10.

Further reading[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Horatio Austin
Admiral Superintendent, Malta Dockyard
Succeeded by
Edward Fanshawe
Preceded by
Sir Henry Keppel
Commander-in-Chief, China Station
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Shadwell