Franklin's Last Voyage

, "Departure Of HMS 'Erebus' and 'Terror.'"Illustrated London News, "Departure Of HMS 'Erebus' and 'Terror.'"

The British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition of 1845, better known as the fateful last voyage of Sir John Franklin, was proposed within the British Admiralty in late 1844 and decided upon in January 1845. Second Secretary Sir John Barrow had suggested another effort to find the fabled Northwest Passage: that elusive shipping route through the Arctic archipelago to the Pacific Ocean. Viscount Haddington, First Lord of the Admiralty, enlisted the opinions of several Arctic veterans before recommending that the expedition be approved. The two ships allocated to the expedition, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, left England on 19 May 1845 with veteran explorer Sir John Franklin in command. Both ships and all crew members, including Franklin, were lost in the Arctic: that much is certain. But were they lost without a trace? Or did they leave a trail of clues – written documents, material artefacts, Inuit oral accounts, and other evidence – that others could use to unlock the mystery of their fate? We think the clues are there, if you know where to look for them. And we invite you to join in the search.

Sunken ship