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Sir John Franklin’s Arctic expedition departed England in 1845 with two Royal Navy bomb vessels, 129 men and three years’ worth of provisions. None were seen again until nearly a decade later, when their bleached bones, broken instruments, books, papers and personal effects began to be recovered on Canada’s King William Island. These relics have since had a life of their own—photographed, analyzed, cataloged and displayed in glass cases in London. This book gives a definitive history of their preservation and exhibition from the Victorian era to the present, richly illustrated with period engravings and photographs, many never before published. Appendices provide the first comprehensive accounting of all expedition relics recovered prior to the 2014 discovery of Franklin’s ship HMS Erebus.
A letter of appeal, by Dr. King, M. D.
In 1845, two British Royal Navy ships entered the Canadian Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage. Neither ship returned.
In 1845, Sir John Franklin set off from England to locate and chart the elusive Northwest Passage. He and his crew of one hundred and twenty-eight men never returned. Over the following decade, forty expeditions were launched in an effort to establish the fate of the missing men. But it wasn't until 1854 that traces of their demise were discovered along the western shore of King William Island. However, without further proof, Franklin's wife, Lady Jane, refused to believe that her husband was dead. And so, in 1857, she sponsored a final expedition. Captain Francis Leopold McClintock, a highly regarded Arctic explorer, was given command of the steam yacht Fox, and he and a crew of twenty-five set off in search of evidence. On this quest, the always-adventurous McClintock was the first European to navigate through Bellot Strait and while the Fox was frozen into the ice in winter, he and his men made long and arduous exploratory journeys by dogsled. Eventually the men reached King William Island, where they discovered a cairn at Victory Point. It contained a note that confirmed Sir John Franklin had died in 1847. When news of the expedition's success reached England, Queen Victoria bestowed the Arctic Medal on McClintock and all the officers and men of the Fox. The Voyage of the 'Fox' in the Arctic Seas is Sir Francis McClintock's own thrilling account of the Fox's journey into the Arctic, and the discovery of the fate of Sir John Franklin and his companions.

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