Barrett-Hamilton, Gerald Edwin Hamilton

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Barrett-Hamilton, Gerald Edwin Hamilton

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1871-1914

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Major Gerald Edwin Hamilton Barrett-Hamilton was a renowned British zoologist. He was born in 1871 and received a science degree at Trinity College, Oxford, in 1896. That same year Lord Salisbury commissioned him and Prof. D'Arcy Thompson to the British Behring Sea Fur Seal Enquiry on the Pribiloff Islands. As the commissioner he traveled extensively throughout Japan, Kamachatka, and the North Pacific Islands. In 1901-02, he served in South Africa in the Boer War. In 1903, he married Maud C. Eland of Ravenshill, Transvaal, with whom he had six children. He lived in Kilmanock, Ireland for the period 1903-1913, where he collected material on the mammals of the British Isles. He published several articles about his research expeditions in journals like "The Irish Naturalist", "Ibis", & the Royal Society's "Geographical Journal". His major work was A History of British Mammals, issued in 21 parts between 1910 & 1921. This monumental fragment is still considered a valuable reference source. In October 1913 he was commissioned by the Colonial Office and the British Museum to investigate the killing of whales in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. While on this research expedition, he contracted pneumonia and died of sudden heart-failure on January 17, 1914, at the age of 43. In 2005, the Major G.E.H. Barrett-Hamilton Memorial Scholarship was established by Michael Nesbitt, G.E.H. Barrett-Hamilton's grandson. Nesbitt wanted to pay tribute to his grandfather and his mother, Geraldine Margaret Barrett-Hamilton Nesbitt, the first woman in Winnipeg to graduate with honours in zoology and chemistry.

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