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Thomas Henry Manning (1911-1998).

Dr. Thomas Henry Manning, Officer of the Order of Canada, former Vice-Chairman and Executive Director of the Arctic Institute of North America, and famed Canadian Arctic expert, died on 8 November 1998 at Smiths Falls, Ontario, after a long illness. He was the author of more than 50 scholarly papers and reports, about half of them on zoological subjects, but he was probably best known for his record as an exceptional Arctic traveller on land and sea.

Tom Manning was born at Northampton, England on 22 December 1911 and educated at Harrow and Cambridge. Drawn to the North, he spent the summer of 1931 travelling in Iceland and the Faeroe Islands. The next year he hiked alone from France to Norway and from there, with a friend, continued by foot and by reindeer through Sweden and Finland and into the northern U.S.S.R., where the two men were arrested, imprisoned, and later deported.

Turning his attention to the (friendlier?) Canadian Arctic, Manning travelled in 1933 to Southampton Island in Hudson Bay, where he surveyed and conducted geographical work under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society and studied birds for the British Museum. These activities were complementary, as winter gave him the conditions for his long, solo, dogsled journeys and astronomic observations, and summer, those for studying the avian migrants. His work resulted in a greatly improved map of Southampton Island and adjacent coasts, the first study of the large snow goose colony at the Bay of Gods Mercy, and many other additions to our geographical and zoological knowledge of the area. In the course of this work, he learned the lessons of Arctic living and travel. He returned to England in 1935.

Tom Manning was back in the Eastern Arctic in 1936 as leader of the shoestring British-Canadian Arctic Expedition, which included several scientists and surveyors. The party started by whaleboat from Churchill but soon broke into independent units of one or two men. On this expedition, Manning again took the roles of surveyor and zoologist. Between 1936 and 1941, the expedition worked around Foxe Basin, on Baffin Island, Southampton Island, and the Melville Peninsula, charting many miles of coastline and discovering several islands.

When news of the outbreak of war terminated the expedition, Manning proceeded to southern Canada, where he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy. After a period spent as a cipher officer, he was seconded in 1942 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a consultant in the establishment and construction of the Southampton Island airfield. He was also actively involved in the development of arctic clothing during the war years. In 1944 he was again seconded, this time to the Geodetic Service of Canada, where he assisted in the determination of astronomical ground control for photosurveys. He worked in Ungava Bay, travelling by aircraft and Peterhead boat. Manning retired from the Royal Canadian Navy in 1945 with the rank of lieutenant commander.

Between 1945 and 1947, Tom Manning was employed by the Geodetic Survey of Canada. In the summer of 1946, he worked on and about the Ungava Peninsula, travelling by aircraft and boat. In the summer of 1947, he worked on the west coast of James Bay and Hudson Bay, travelling by canoe from Moosonee to Churchill.

Between 1948 and 1953, Manning was employed as a consultant to the Defence Research Board, and during this same period he led five expeditions. The first was the 1949 C.G.M.V. Nauja Expedition to Foxe Basin. Its purpose was to explore several islands that had been reported the previous year by an air force crew engaged in photosurvey. In the course of the Nauja expedition, a party of experts sponsored by various federal departments carried out geographical, geological, archaeological, botanical, and zoological work. Members of the second expedition in 1950 travelled by canoe along the east coast of James Bay from Moosonee to Cape Jones. Their principal object was to collect and study birds and mammals.

The third of these expeditions was the Defence Research Board's 1951 C.G.M.V. Cancolim Expedition, which sailed from Vancouver to the Beaufort Sea. This time the main goal was to gather hydrographic and oceanographic information inside the 100-fathom line. The fourth and fifth expeditions in 1952 and 1953, also for the Defence Research Board, went to Banks Island to seek places of refuge where vessels such as the Cancolim could find shelter from the heavy pack ice to the west. In the course of the two summers, they circumnavigated Banks Island by canoe. Manning and his party, although concerned essentially with geography and geodetic work, also made numerous observations on the archaeology and geology of the area and extensive studies of its birds and mammals. Between 1953 and 1957, much of Manning's time was devoted to writing up the results of his Banks Island expeditions.

In 1957 and 1958, Manning was senior partner in two faunistic expeditions sponsored by the National Museum of Canada. They travelled by dogsled, with the help of Inuit drivers, from King William Island to the Adelaide Peninsula and from Resolute Bay to Prince of Wales Island.

In 1959, a Guggenheim Fellowship enabled Manning to begin a study of taxonomic variation in the arctic hare throughout its circumpolar range. For most of the next decade, he held contracts under the polar bear program of the Canadian Wildlife Service. In 1967, he also led a CWS project related to caribou: about fifty caribou were captured on Coats Island, using an immobilizer gun and helicopter, to re-establish a population on Southampton Island.

In 1938, Tom Manning married Ella Wallace Jackson, a nurse from Nova Scotia, at Cape Dorset on Baffin Island. "Jackie" Manning took part in the rigorous field work (and wrote two books about it) and later provided invaluable research support. The couple separated amicably in the late 1960s. Manning later shared his rural home, until his death, with Brenda Carter, an artist well-known for her wildlife paintings. Carter accompanied him on many of his later field trips, which included much of his polar bear work.

Manning was awarded the Bruce Medal of the Scottish Geographical Society and Royal Philosophical Society of Edinburgh in 1944; the Patron's Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 1948; and the Massey Medal of the Royal Society of Canada in 1977. He was appointed an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1974 and awarded an honorary doctorate of literature by McMaster University in 1979.

Manning was exceptionally tough, vigorous, fearless, patient, hard-working and resourceful, qualities that made him the matchless Arctic traveller and scientist that he was, and earned him respect among Inuit and Southerners alike.

Andrew H. Macpherson

9619 - 96A Street

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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Author:Macpherson, Andrew H.
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Mar 1, 1999
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