Franklin John 

Outstanding English polar explorer. 
Born in Spilsby, Lincolnshire. His ancestors were free landowners (franklin) who had lived on their own land for many years, but Franklin's father, who had twelve children, sold the estate and went into business. For John, the youngest in the family, a church activity was planned, to which he fiercely resisted, since he had dreamed of the sea since childhood. The father, hoping to cure his son of fantasies, sent him to Lisbon on a merchant ship. However, this led to the opposite result. John, who had returned from sailing, became even more firmly established in his maritime choice, and then his father secured for him the place of a midshipman on the Polifem ship, on board of which Franklin participated in the battle of Copenhagen in 1801. Two months after that, he began serving on the vessel "Investigator", which was sent to discover and explore the shores of Australia. During this voyage, Franklin mastered many practical skills in the maritime service, not only in sailors, but also in officers. 
After returning from the full adventure of the voyage, Franklin was appointed a signalman for the vessel Bellerophon, on board of which he took part in the famous Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. He then served in the English Channel Flotilla, off the coast of Portugal and Brazil, and participated in the disastrous attack on New Orleans in 1814. Here he showed such courage that he was prematurely promoted to lieutenant. 
Soon after the conclusion of peace, the attention of the English government turned to Arctic research in order to search for the Northwest Passage. The search for the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific along the northern shores of North America was begun primarily by English sailors in the early 17th century, but ended in failure even in the Baffin Sea. The initiator of the resumption of them after the 200-year hiatus was the famous and influential secretary of the Admiralty J. Barrow, who was distinguished by his ability to achieve his own by any means. He succeeded in obtaining equipment in 1818 for an expedition under the command of John Ross on two ships. The second expedition on the ships "Dorothea" and "Trent" under the command of David Buchan was prescribed nothing less than the achievement of the North Pole from Spitsbergen. In the case of a free sea, the ships were to return through the Baffin Sea and the Davis Strait. In addition, the expedition also had scientific assignments: determining the magnetic declination and studying the figure of the Earth. The Trent was commanded by Franklin, whose assistant was F. Beachy, and the navigator was J. Back. Both of them subsequently gained immortal fame. 
The ships of Buchan went between Greenland and Spitsbergen, where, as is now well known, there is a powerful current that flows from north to south, carrying a huge amount of ice. 
At the end of May, the ships reached Spitsbergen and made an unsuccessful attempt to pass to the north. Having settled in the Gulf of Magdalene, they made another attempt and again failed. The third time they went north on July 6th. Soon they were surrounded by heavy ice, the movements of which often put the ships in critical position. Drawn by ice, they reached only 80° 34N. From the ice captivity escaped with significant damage, especially suffered "Dorothea", which was no longer able to continue ice navigation. Franklin asked to allow him to continue the expedition on the Trent, but Buchan decided that both ships should return to England together. 
The following 1819, two expeditions set off in search of the Northwest Passage, commanded by young sailors on the sidelines of the 1818 expeditions: W. Parry and Franklin. Young ambitious sailors managed to prove in the Admiralty that the failures of last year were caused not only by objective, but also by subjective reasons, namely, by insufficiently decisive guidance. Important support was provided by the same Barrow. Parry’s expedition was a sea expedition, while Franklin’s was a land expedition. 
The party of Franklin, whose assistant became Buck again, sailed from London at the end of May and three months later arrived at Fort York - the main base of the Hudson Company on the banks of the Hudson Bay. From here to the starting point of their research, the mouth of the Mednorudnaya River, lay a path 2 thousand km long. Moving along the rivers, making foot crossings on ice and land, suffering severely from hunger and cold, having suffered two winterings, travelers only on July 18, 1821 saw the sea.After A. Mackenzie and S. Herna Franklin was the first European to reach the Arctic Ocean from the Americas. 
Finally managed to start something for which they suffered so much deprivation. However, it was only flowers. 
On fragile canoes, the sailors moved along the coast to the east. Continued sailing month until August 18, after which they were forced to turn into the Strait of Dis from the point, which was called Cape Rotary. Winter was approaching, deer and birds migrated south. By canoe, we reached the mouth of the Huda River, climbed it, and went across the mountain pass to the Mednorudnaya River. Food stocks dried up, and famine began. They ate ugly lichens. Discipline weakened, people refused to go. By September 26, they reached Mednorudnaya, but for a long time could not cross, as the porters abandoned the canoe. After the crossing, Franklin sent Buck with two people forward to Fort Enterprise to bring the Indians to the rescue. People began to lag behind, and only five led by Franklin reached the Fort Enterprise of more than 20 people.To their horror, there was neither food nor Indians. They found a note from Buck, from which they learned that he was heading to the fort of Providence, but he doubted what was coming. For several days they lived in the Enterprise's enterprise, feeding on deer skins, bones and lichens abandoned here at the beginning of the march, suffering terribly, among other things, from ulcers on the lips and larynx caused by eating burnt bone. Approached the laggards. Dr. J. Richardson and sailor Hepburn who caught up with them told an eerie story related to the Indian Michele who joined them. It turned out that he shot two Canadian conductors and ate their meat, then simulated an accident with a junior officer Hood. They understood that the same fate awaited them. "We could save a life only by sacrificing this person". Richardson killed Michel with a pistol shot to the head. This story has shocked everyone. 
Salvation came unexpectedly. Brave Buck still reached the fort of Providence and sent the Indians with food. The rest of the winter was spent in the fort Providence and in the more southern fort on Losiny island. July 14, arrived at Fort York. Three years have passed since they left there, during which the expedition traveled a length of 5550 miles. The results of this expedition turned out to be insignificant, not corresponding to the suffering suffered. Affected by the difficulty of movement in unknown areas, as well as the natural unpreparedness of the beautiful sailor Franklin to the organization of land expeditions. 
At home, Franklin was met with great honors. In 1823 he was elected to the British Academy of Sciences. 
The desire to continue the research did not leave Franklin and his friend Parry, who returned home at about the same time. According to Parry, the Admiralty adopted a new plan: it was proposed to conduct research from three sides. Franklin had to move again from the south, while Beachy from the west through the Bering Strait, and Parry from the east through the Lancaster Strait. All three expeditions were to meet somewhere off the north coast of North America, thereby solving the problem of the Northwest Passage. 
On February 16, 1825, Franklin and his group, which included his old comrades, Lieutenant Buck and Dr. Richardson, sailed from Liverpool to New York. On board reigned cheerful mood and complete faith in success. Franklin planned to descend along the Mackenzie River to the mouth, where he split into two parties: the western and the eastern. During the preparation, special attention was paid to boats. 
At the end of July, we reached the Great Slave Lake, where Mackenzie flows out, and through it on August 7 reached the Big Bear Lake. Wintering was planned here. 
Before the onset of winter, Franklin sent Richardson to inspect the northern coast of the lake, he left Baka for preparatory work at the base, and he went to the reconnaissance route to the ocean coast. Now it was another Franklin. He clearly distributed all the duties, taking into account the experience and mistakes of the previous expedition. The beautiful sailor, Franklin, was also a great land traveler. 
On August 14, the largest boat, the Lion, reached the coast, where Franklin left Parry's message on one of the islands just in case, reinforcing it on a high pole. On September 5, they returned to the wintering place on Big Bear. 
Having successfully overwintered, at the end of June 1826, the Franklin group of 15 people headed north in two boats, the Lion and Confidence. From the mouth of the Mackenzie went west towards Beechy. The progress was extremely difficult because of the shallow water, frequent fogs and ice, constantly pressing them to the shore.Summer ended, and about a month later, Franklin, who remembered the lessons of the last expedition, ordered to turn back, although the team was ready to go on. To the base on Big Bear reached a little over a month. 
The eastern group was commanded by Dr. Richardson. His sailing on the Dolphin and Union boats was much easier due to the favorable ice conditions. Practically in pure water they reached the mouth of the Mednorudnaya River and further to the  Coronation Strait, opened by the previous expedition of Franklin. In the north, they saw an island named after them in honor of the famous naturalist Dr. Wallace. Subsequently, it turned out that this is a peninsula of a large island, now called Victoria. Having considered his task accomplished, Richardson turned back on August 6. Along an unfamiliar coast, he traveled a length of 900 miles — much more than he crossed Franklin to the west. 
After wintering on the Big Bear Lake, the travelers set off to the south in February and six months later in August 1827 were in New York. 
Having made many geographical discoveries, the expeditions of Parry, Beachy and Franklin did not solve the strategic task. The Northwest Passage was not found.Admiralty remained unhappy. It considered that even if the passage was found, it would not carry the practical benefit due to the difficulties of navigation. State funding stopped. 
For the next 17 years, Franklin retired from Arctic affairs. He held various positions from command of a ship in the Mediterranean to governorships in Tasmania and New Zealand. 
By the beginning of the 1840s, many expeditions carried out, moving both from the Bering Strait and from the Baffin Sea, significantly improved the geographical knowledge of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and although no one could go through it, it seemed that to solve the North-West problem the passage needs to be made only a small effort. This opinion was shared by the overwhelming majority of polar explorers and J. Barrow himself. Nevertheless, the Admiralty still did not allocate money, and research was conducted on private donations. 
The resumption of public funding was triumphant swimming in 1839-1843. James Ross on the ships "Terror" and "Erebus" to Antarctica, the farthest to the south. The ships stood the test perfectly, and this success inspired supporters of the search for the Northwest Passage. The penetrating power of Barrow, supported by such outstanding polar explorers as Parry, James Ross, Franklin, Sabin, did its job. The Admiralty agreed to organize a grand-scale expedition on the repaired Erebus and Terror, stating, however, that this would be the last attempt. No one then knew, and could not have known, that the attempt would not only be not the last, but would entail the organization of numerous new expeditions in the coming decades. 


"Terror" and "Erebus"

No one had the slightest doubt about the full triumph of the enterprise — they had to pick a long-ripe fruit. The organization to which the Royal Geographical Society joined was exemplary. Those who wished to participate in the expedition and to share its success were more than enough, which made it necessary to carry out the selection.However, it later turned out that the sailors were experienced, but there were not so many people familiar with the Arctic conditions. Commodore James Fitzgerald, who distinguished himself in many campaigns, was not supposed to be familiar with the Arctic. And here Franklin took the stage. The main objection to him was a fairly respectable age, but the authority of the old sailor played a decisive role. They could not refuse him, but they failed to convince him. Lady Franklin said: “he will die of grief” if he does not go on this voyage. 
In a society reigned complete euphoria and hats. 
On May 19, 1845, the vessels left England, having 134 people on board, among which, apart from the teams, were specialists from various scientific fields. Somewhat later, five sickness left the expedition on other ships. 129 people entered the Arctic - all of them were killed to the last. Their fate in general became clear much later on the basis of the Eskimo stories, the findings of numerous subsequent search expeditions. At the time of sending the expedition no one imagined such an unprecedented tragic outcome. The officers were so confident of success that they left such points for letters to their relatives as Petropavlovsk, Panama, the Sandwich Islands. 
A month after the departure, the ships reached the Baffin Sea. Everyone was full of optimism, they wrote letters that the transport vessel accompanying them had to pick up. 
On July 22, Franklin met with one of the captains of the whaling ships that harbor Baffin in the sea. As it was later reported, Franklin said that food was taken for 5 years; if desired, it could be stretched for 7 years. The last time the ships of Franklin saw July 26, 1845. 
A year has passed - there was no news. However, it never occurred to anyone to worry. The first signs of anxiety among the closest people appeared by the end of 1846.When the third summer came, the anxiety became general, but it seemed inconceivable that both ships with the whole crew were killed. All other expeditions, not so brilliantly equipped, still returned. The first to start the search began talking in 1846, the old John Ross, who offered his services, but his fears were considered premature.It was only in 1847 that it was decided, in the absence of news, to start a search next year. No one knew where to look for Franklin in the vast expanses of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. There were many opinions, each of which had the right to exist. 
The first to go to the area of the Somerset Island in 1848 was James Ross, followed by the expeditions of R. Hudsier (1849) and Sounders (1849–1850) to the area of the Lancaster Channel, J. Richardson and J. Rae (1848–1850), 
as well as V. Pelen (1849–1851) in the western part of the archipelago. None of them traced the missing. Only in 1850–1851. the British expedition of G. Austin, E. Ommanni and S. Osborn, and the American expedition of E. De Haven found the wintering grounds for Erebus and Terror in the southern part of the Wellington Strait near Cape Riley and Beachy Island. 
In the seven years since Franklin’s departure, numerous search expeditions have explored the northern coast of the Americas from the Bering Strait to the mouth of the Mednorudnaya River, inspected the islands of the central Canadian Arctic archipelago adjacent to the Lancaster Straits, Barrow, Peel, Prince Regent. The northern part of the archipelago turned out to be unvisited, as well as the area adjacent to the Butiya Peninsula, in which, as we now know, was the secret of the Franklin expedition. Only one man, Franklin’s wife, Lady Jane Franklin, was in charge of the search there, but they did not take the intuition of a loving heart into account and sent E. Belcher’s squadron to the north, losing two more years. 
In 1853-1854 The expedition of J. Rae discovered many things of the expedition of Franklin in the Eskimos of the Boothy Peninsula. Finally in 1857-1859. The expedition of F. McClintock examined the western coast of the Boothy Peninsula, King William Island and the mouth of the Bolshaya Rybnaya River (Baka) and discovered a large number of things from the Franklin expedition, the corpses of people and a document explaining the fate of the expedition. In subsequent years, the expeditions of C. Hall (1864–1869) and F. Shvatka (1878–1880) made a great contribution to the disclosure of the details of this terrible tragedy. 
Based on the totality of the available information, the expedition scenario is as follows. 
"Erebus" and "Terror" safely entered the Lancaster Strait and reached the Barrow Strait, which was clogged with ice. Franklin made an attempt to go to the Wellington Strait, but after 150 miles the ice stopped the ships again, and the expedition had to return. 
The first winter of 1845–1846 the ships conducted near the southern entrance to the Wellington Strait. Traces of a large camp, three graves and a huge number of discarded cans were found here. This led the researchers to speculate that rotten meat was in the jars. 
The unforeseen loss of such a quantity of food subsequently affected the fate of the expedition. Probably a lot could tell the autopsy graves, but did not. No documents found. This incomprehensible circumstance can be explained only by the fact that at that time Franklin was still unconditionally confident in the success of the expedition and did not consider it necessary to write about what he could tell after returning. 
Freed, the ships moved south through the Peel Strait between the islands of Somerset and the Prince of Wales, but in September 1846 they were again trapped by ice in the Victoria Strait to the west of King William Island. From here they could not get out. From a note found in 1859 on King William Island the search expedition officer F. McClintock Hobson, it followed that at the time of May 24, 1847, the expedition was all right. In the postscript, made on April 22, 1848, it is said that on June 11, 1847 the head of the expedition had died, and by that time 9 officers and 15 sailors had died. The surviving sailors, under the command of Captain F. R.M. Crozier, left the ships on April 22, 1848, and moved south to the Great Fish River. They walked, dying along the road. Their unburied corpses found the Eskimos and members of search expeditions. All the invaluable documentation of the expedition, which the savages used for kindling, fell into the hands of the Eskimos. Abandoned "Terror" and "Erebus" for a few more years continued to drift. One of them, most likely “Terror”, sank somewhere to the south of the western entrance to the Simpson Strait, the second - passed through this strait into the  Rhea Strait and sank according to various sources either in the southern part of the Rhea strait or in its northern part near the island of Mattie. 
The almost complete absence of written documents from the expedition made it possible to draw up only a general, very schematic representation of its progress. Answers to many private, but very important questions are based on conjectures and assumptions. We know what happened to the expedition, but we don’t know and we’ll never know why. Why did such a superbly equipped expedition on well-prepared and proven ships, having the most experienced and most authoritative leader, die in full force? How did the first wintering go, why did three people die, why was a huge number of cans found at the camp site, is this related to the detection of substandard products? Whydidn’t Franklin go from Beachy Island, the first wintering place, to the wide Vaikаunt-Melville strait, from which there was a direct route to the Beaufort Sea, but headed south through the narrow Peel Strait to a cluster of numerous islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago? What did Franklin himself die from, why did the officers and sailors mentioned in the note die? In what physical and moral condition did the sailors go on a hike, why, finally, more than a hundred and more well-armed men could not provide themselves with food by hunting? Now you can only speculate and make assumptions. 
The value of Franklin's geographical discoveries is great, and his fame is well deserved. However, it must be admitted that his extraordinary popularity, exceeding the popularity of many other equally well-deserved Arctic travelers, he owes much to his tragic fate. After the death of Franklin, dozens of British and American Arctic expeditions had the main task of finding him. In fact, after death, Franklin became a central figure in the study of the American Arctic. Expeditions related to the search for Franklin led to the discovery of the Northwest Passage and gave the map of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago a modern look. 
The House of Commons allocated £ 2,000 to manufacture the statue of J. Franklin in London. 
To date, an entire memorial dedicated to this expedition has been formed on Beachy Island, the site of the first wintering of the Franklin expedition. 
The oldest building is the “Gury Franklin” (Franklin's cairn), but this is not the building that the Franklin team erected in the winter of 1845–1846. That Guri was destroyed by the people of Ommanney, who rightly expected to find a message in it. In this place, in 1853, a new houri was built: at the base, built of stones, a metal pillar was fortified, with barrels and metal cylinders mounted on it. The photo of 2005 shows that Huriy has undergone significant damage.






2005 year



In 1854, E. Belcher constructed the Franklin's Cenotaph (Franklin's cenotaph), a wooden structure, on one side of which a dedication to the entire Franklin team from Jane Franklin is engraved on a metal board, and on the other side is a dedication to Lieutenant Bello, a member of the expedition of W. Kennedy, who drowned in the Wellington Strait in 1853.

Franklin Obelisk


In addition to these structures, the graves of three sailors of Franklin, who died during the wintering, and six graves that appeared in the second half of the 20th century, are preserved on Beachy Island. 
In 1980, anthropologist Owen Beattie decided to study the remains of three members of the Franklin expedition buried on Bichey Island. Beatty was interested in information that could shed light on the cause of their death - health, nutrition, signs of illness or violence, age and physique ... Beatty was going to slightly uncover the mystery of the missing expedition - this would have to reveal the frozen bodies. That year, the grave of a senior stoker from the “Terror” John Torrington was opened. The results of the dissection and analysis of tissues showed that Torrington suffered a whole bunch of lung diseases caused by tobacco smoking and constant inhalation of coal dust. It turned out that he died from pneumonia. But not just pneumonia, but pneumonia, burdened by a strange condition - high content in the body of lead. This fact was revealed by analyzing a ten-centimeter beam of Torrington hair taken from the back of the head. A microscopic examination of the hair showed that from the very first days of swimming and for eight months, Torrington was getting too much lead inside ...

Two years later, Beatty returned to Beachy Island with his team. This time, the task was to open the bodies of John Hartnell, the twenty-five year old sailor from the Terrorand William Braine, the private marines from the Terror, and also to carry out an X-ray examination. It turned out that the first died of tuberculosis, and the second from pneumonia. But the main thing is that the laboratory analysis also showed them a high lead content in the body. The question “from where” did not even stand - it became clear that lead had entered the body of sailors along with canned food, which was the main type of food for the crews of both ships of Franklin. 
At that time, as now, the government encouraged the fleet’s desire to purchase everything that was needed at the lowest possible prices. The company supplying canned food had a bad reputation, but the question of the cost of the order became decisive. And although all three sailors did not die directly from lead poisoning, an excess of lead in the body considerably weakened their health and lowered their immunity, providing a direct path to all other diseases that eventually killed them - and the same fate awaited everyone else, sooner or later. Three hungry winterings in the ice, scurvy, one hundred and twenty mile transition on hummocks and stones with heavy boats and a bunch of unnecessary things doomed people to death - however, did they really have any other way out of the situation? 
The effect of lead on the human body in 1845 was practically not studied, and the cans were sealed in approximately the same way for another forty-five years after the departure of Erebus and Terror. The sad fate of the expedition received another explanation - and it was the three sailors who helped to rest; their ashes lie in the Arctic desert, on the Spit of Beachy Island - the south-western extremity of Devon Island, Barrow ...


Left: Franklin statue in Spilsby's hometown;

Right: Statue of Franklin in London


In 2014, it was reported that Canadian archaeologists discovered one of the ships, but which one was not established then. In October, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper noted that underwater archaeologists, having carefully studied artifacts from the ocean floor and images of the earth's surface, concluded that it was the ship of the British fleet Erebus, on which John Franklin himself was based.

Island in the  Kennedy Strait between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. 
Island and cape in East Greenland.

Cape on the north coast of Alaska west of Cape Barrow. 
Cape on the west coast of King William Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Discovered and named in 1830 by James Ross. 
Cape (Sir-John-Franklin) in the west of the Grinnell Peninsula of Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

Mountains in northwestern Canada. 
Lake in the lower reaches of the Great Fish (Baka) River in northern Canada. 
Bay on the Canadian coast of the Beaufort Sea. Opened by the squad of J. Richardson in 1826. 
Strait between the Prince-Wales Island and the peninsula Boothia.

Glacier on the Land of Gustav, Northeastern Land Island, Spitsbergen. Coordinates 80° 00'N   19° 00'E.


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