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John Crosse was born in New Zealand in 1917. After attaining an undergraduate degree from Cambridge, Crosse completed a Masters in Engineering at Purdue University in Indiana. In 1959, he immigrated with his young family to Canada. Although he worked for some time as an engineer, Crosse was most passionate about the marine history of British Columbia. By 1968 he had written and published a centennial history of the Thermopylae, a Clipper that patrolled the shores of British Columbia in the 19th century. In the 1980s, Crosse began to dedicate his entire efforts to researching the first explorations of Europeans to North America's West Coast. He spent a number of summers in the 1990s following and documenting the precise route taken by Spanish explorers through British Columbia's Gulf Islands. As part of the research for these explorations, Crosse traveled to Spain and California to acquire background information and photocopies of the rare maps made by these early European explorers. In 1994, he wrote and published some of the findings of his research trips in an article entitled In the Wake of the Spaniards: Through the Rosario Strait. Even at the end of his life, Crosse continued to pursue his research interests, and he passed away in 2006 while working on a book about George Vancouver.