Ottawa searches for storied Arctic shipwrecks

Erebus & Terror

By Randy Boswell

The Canadian government is set to embark on the biggest search ever for the fabled British shipwrecks Erebus and Terror, which were lost in the Canadian Arctic in the 1840s during the ill-fated Franklin Expedition and are today ranked among the world's greatest undiscovered prizes of marine archeology.

Canwest News Service has learned that a Parks Canada-led search is scheduled to begin this month in waters off King William Island, where the two ships under the command of legendary Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin became locked in heavy ice that eventually doomed the entire crew of more than 120 men.

The disappearance of Franklin and his men caused a sensation around the world at the time, and rescue ships were dispatched from Britain throughout the 1840s and 1850s.

Members of the arctic expedition led by British explorer Sir John Franklin (1786 - 1847) on their attempt to discover the Northwest passage. The expedition was beleaguered by thick ice and Franklin died in June 1847 and most of the team died of starvation.

Terror and Erebus were never found, but the tragic fate of the expedition was eventually confirmed with the discovery of the frozen bodies of several sailors and a single page from a log book placed in a cairn at a site called Victory Point.


Canadian Arctic Franklin expedition Canadian government British shipwrecks Erebus and Terror