According to one source, John Alexander Duntze entered the British Royal Navy when he was
only 12, on 6 August 1818. Just over ten years later, he was already Captain, first on the Tribute
and then on the Fisgard, the station he maintained from 1843 to 1847.
Though Captain Duntze is the namesake for Duntze Head on the eastern entrance point to
Esquimalt Harbour, he also had an island named after him for a short time. An island in Puget
Sound known as “McNeil Island” was accidentally named “Duntze Island” during an expedition
in 1846. It was restored by Captain Henry Kellett in 1847 as the intention was to honour
William Henry McNeil, captain of HBC’s steamship, the Beaver.
Due to his reporting, Duntze is credited with bringing to light the fact that lightning not only
causes explosions above deck, but can travel below deck and cause damage there as well.
- Bancroft, Hubert Howe, etc. The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft. San Francisco: The History
Company, Publisher, 1887.
- Government of British Columbia. “Duntze Head.” GeoBC.
- “McNeil Island.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McNeil_Island.
- Phillips, James W. “Seattle Times FIles, 1976: The View From A Prison Launch Leaving Mcneal
Island. – What's In A Name?” The Seattle Times.
- Sturgeon, William. “On Lightning and Lightning Conductors.” Memoirs of the Literary and
Philosophical Society of Manchester, vol. 14” London: H. Bailliere, Publisher, Regent Street,