Frederick John Owen Evans

Captain Sir Frederick John Owen Evans KCB RN FRAS FRGS FRS (9 March 1815 – 20 December 1885), was an officer of the Royal Navy. He became a distinguished hydrographer during his career and served as Hydrographer of the Navy.

Evans, son of John Evans, a master in the Royal Navy, was born on 9 March 1815. He entered the navy as a second-class volunteer in 1828. After serving in HMS Rose and HMS Winchester he was transferred in 1833 to HMS Thunder, under Captain Richard Owen, and spent three years in surveying the coasts of Central America, the Demerara River, and the Bahama Banks. Evans subsequently served in the Mediterranean on board HMS Caledonia, the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet, and then on HMS Asia, HMS Rapid, HMS Rolla, HMS Dido, and HMS Wolverine, passing through the different ranks of the ‘master's’ line, the officers then charged with the duties of navigation. In 1841 Evans was appointed master of HMS Fly, and for the next five years he was employed in surveying the Coral Sea, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and Torres Straits. Joseph Jukes, the geologist, was on board the Fly, and wrote an account of the expedition.

In 1855 he was appointed superintendent of the compass department of the navy. He had at once to consider a difficult problem, the use of the compass in iron ships and armour-clads. It was necessary to deal with the disturbing elements arising from the iron and the magnetisation of the ships. Evans, in co-operation with Archibald Smith, accomplished the task satisfactorily. He contributed seven papers, all dealing with the magnetism of ships, to the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, of which he was elected a fellow in 1862.

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