Resurrecting Dr. Moss

The Life and Letters of a Royal Navy Surgeon, Edward Lawton Moss MD, RN, 1843-1880

By (author) Paul C. Appleton
Edited by William Barr
Categories: History
Series: Northern Lights
Publisher: University of Calgary Press
Paperback : 9781552382325, 268 pages, August 2008


Resurrecting Dr. Moss chronicles the life and death of Edward Lawton Moss, a Royal Navy surgeon on the last great British north polar expedition of the nineteenth century. Arctic historians and bibliophiles are familiar with Moss’s account of the 1875-76 British Arctic Expedition, published under the title Shores of the Polar Sea, but little has been known about Moss himself. Now, thanks to Paul Appleton’s painstaking research, his life has taken shape in this well-crafted biography.

Relying heavily on Moss’s own letters, Appleton recounts his travels in the Caribbean, the Arctic, and on Canada’s Pacific coast, creating a vivid portrait of a man he calls "an example of the best traditions of British naval medicine during the Victorian era. " Artist, author, explorer, and scientist, Dr. Moss was also a pioneering medical officer. During his posting in British Columbia, he played a pivotal role in founding one of the earliest medical institutions on Canada’s west coast, the hospital at the Esquimalt Naval Base. Moss’s life was cut short at the age of thirty-seven when the HMS Atalanta disappeared en route from Bermuda in 1880.