English ornithologist Reynold Bray was “an Arctic explorer of considerable achievement and much promise” who was lost at sea during a visit to northern Canada on September 14, 1938.
A month earlier, on August 10, a baby girl was born to Reynold’s widow Gillian back in England.
Notice was cabled to Bray at Churchill [in Manitoba] where he was waiting to embark upon what proved to be his last expedition. At his request the child was named Handa, after a bird island off the northwest coast of Scotland that he and Mrs. Bray had visited the previous May.
These days, Handa Island is a wildlife reserve.
The island’s Scottish Gaelic name, Eilean Shannda, is of mixed Gaelic/Norse etymology and means “island at the sandy river.”
What are your thoughts on the baby name Handa?
[Interesting fact: In 1964, Handa Bray inherited Shere Manor Estate in Surrey. She is currently the fifteenth (and first female) Lord of the Manor.]
- “Explorer’s Baby Named After Island.” Geraldton Guardian and Express [Australia] 17 Jan 1939: 4.
- “Mr. Reynold Bray.” Nature 4 Mar. 1939.
- Roberts, Thomas S., T. S. Palmer and W. L. McAtee. “Obituaries.” The Auk Vol. 57, No. 1 (Jan., 1940), pp. 137-140.
- Handa Island – Wikipedia