As a young boy, the tales of the polar expeditions and their leaders enthralled me – men such as Ross, Franklin, Scott, Amundsen and Nansen.
It seems that part of the mystery surrounding Sir John Franklin’s tragic Arctic expedition has been solved by the discovery of what is thought to be the wreck of HMS Terror. HMS Terror and HMS Erebus (Franklin’s flagship) were abandoned in April 1848 in thick sea ice following his doomed attempt to complete the mapping of the North West Passage.
All of the men (129) of Franklin’s expedition were lost, despite the search for them continuing for almost 10 years after the ships were abandoned. The fate of Franklin’s ships and men has intrigued generations. The wreck of HMS Erebus was found in 2014. This new discovery was aided by a suggestion from one of the Inuit crew members of the research vessel Martin Bergmann as to a possible location of the wreck.
When discovered, the wreck was entered by a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) from the research ship and found to be battened down and in pristine condition. Some extraordinary underwater photographic footage gives some idea of life onboard in these now distant days.
If confirmed as the wreck of HMS Terror, this astonishing discovery by the Canadian Arctic Research Foundation changes the previously held opinion that the wreck lay circa 100km further north. This wreck lies in Terror Bay, off King William Island.
The Franklin Expedition continues to fascinate 168 years after HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were abandoned.