HMS Terror found!

Quite remarkable news – the announcement of the relocation of HMS Terror, and in Terror Bay of all places.

This just shows how complex it is going to be to understand the story of the Franklin Expedition. One thing is for sure and that is that the idea of a ‘death march’ following the abandonment of the ships in 1848, the story reconstructed from the Victory Point note, is going to have to be set aside. Both ships clearly were remanned after their 1848 ‘desertion’. And, jumping the gun again, surely the encampment known to have been sited in Terror Bay must have been the ‘Terror Camp’ referenced in the Peglar Pocket book.

The Guardian seems to have got the scoop here.

There are several points here which are quite remarkably interesting:

  • The ship’s anchor appears to have been deployed, suggesting she was either at anchor or moored to an ice-sheet at the time that she sank.
  • The ship’s funnel appears to have been deployed, suggesting that she may have arrived, or been prepared for sailing, as a steamer.
  • The ship’s bell is visible, meaning that both bells from the Erebus and the Terror have survived – barely believable.
  • Since apparently there is so little damage that the bowsprit and some cabin glass is still in place, one wonders whether those pieces of broken timber recovered by Rae may have been from the Erebus?
  • And most of all, there is certainly evidence of cannibalism at the ‘boat places’ of Erebus Bay, which is well to the NORTH of the locations of both ships. What was going on?

I’m sure there is much we will learn over the ensuing years. One thing is for sure, most reconstructions of the story of the Franklin Expedition up to now are certainly wrong!

One thought on “HMS Terror found!”

  1. From Ken McGoogan’s book. “On the 20th a piece of pine wood was found, resembling the butt end of a small flag-staff. A piece of a white cotton rope attached to it, in the form of a loop, by two copper tacks. Both the rope and the tacks bore the Government mark, the broad arrow being stamped on the latter and the former having a red worsted thread running through it. Half a mile further, on a piece of oak, 3 feet 8 inches long, and one half of which was squared, was picked up.” August 20, 1851

    The piece of oak was believed to be a boat’s stanchion. I think this refers to a column of wood from the deck of a ship on which an upside down boat would be placed. (Could it be something else)? This would mean the piece of oak came from one of the ships.

    Assuming the oak to be from the deck of a ship then it is an indication that Erebus or Terror had sunk sometime prior to the summer of 1851. Perhaps this points to a wreck occurring in the summer of 1850 therefore giving enough time for the oak stanchion to reach the East coast of Victoria Land.

    In the summer of 1853 Collinson found what sounds like part of a door frame near Cambridge Bay. The piece was painted white and green. (It sounds like something that would have come from the stern of HMS Erebus).

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