Reward for helping to extricate Sir John Franklin, his ships, or their crews from the ice. GMS 111, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries

Reward for helping to extricate Sir John Franklin, his ships, or their crews from the ice. GMS 111, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries

View large image Embed

Reward for helping to extricate Sir John Franklin, his ships, or their crews from the ice. GMS 111, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries

This item has no known copyright. When reusing, please acknowledge Auckland City Libraries and use the reference provided. Reproductions of images can be ordered from Auckland City Libraries.

Download full size image

Reward for helping to extricate Sir John Franklin, his ships, or their crews from the ice

Ref No: GMS 111
Date Created: 1849

For more than four hundred years, navigators sought a viable sea route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans along the northern coast of the American continent. In May 1845 the British Admiralty mounted an especially ambitious expedition in pursuit of the elusive Northwest Passage led by veteran Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. Especially equipped to withstand ice, the two ships under his command, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, had recently returned from an Antarctic voyage headed by James Clark Ross.

Franklin’s wife became deeply concerned when two years went by without any news of the expedition. Believing that Franklin was well-provisioned, the Admiralty waited a further year, however, before announcing a reward of £20,000 for the discovery of his party. This was an enticingly large sum in the mid-nineteenth century and thus many adventurers tried to locate the lost expedition.

The graves of three of Franklin’s crew members were found on Beechey Island in the Wellington Channel in 1850. Four years later, while exploring the Boothia Peninsula, John Rae, a Scottish immigrant to Canada, learned from local Inuits that a large group of foreigners had starved to death in the late 1840s near the mouth of the Back River. Suggestions that Franklin’s men had in their extremity resorted to cannibalism shocked and fascinated Victorian society.

It is likely that an innovation in the Admiralty’s provisions contributed to the men’s demise. Franklin’s ships were supplied with eight thousand tins of meat, vegetables and soup. Canned food was a new invention in the 1840s. Unfortunately the solder holding the tins together gave the crew lead poisoning.

Tags: 141g63, 6satb, 8jqoe, Arctic, b6mp6, b8jdki, c1vj2, cannibalism, ddxqtwvznbdaovegg, death, Erebus, exploration, hms erebus, hms terror, jfrioj, jhjkpp, jsdeh, jwaro, kpoxqv, lead poisoning, ojokk0, p3ozg, Terror, vhvgty, vkbqy, xaoutscjdvikcom, ztzua, zwyzqc

Add A Tag

Add keywords separated by commas

Browse all the Collection