HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were ships long lost to the frigid arctic. Editor-in-Chief,
Jonathan Cooper, has recommendations for two new books about the ill-fated 19th century Franklin Expedition.
In 1845, Captain John Franklin departed on his fourth expedition to the Arctic in an attempt to find a route through the Northwest Passage. It went horribly wrong. All 129 crew members were lost when both ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, were caught in ice and sunk not long after departing England and arriving in the Canadian Arctic. But the ships’ final resting place had baffled scientists and historians for 169 years. The mystery ended abruptly in 2014 when news broke that a Parks Canada research vessel had located Erebus off King William Island.
The gruesome tales of attempted survival on the two ships were broadcast by the autopsy findings of anthropologist Owen Beattie, who exhumed two bodies from a grave site in the early 1980s, finding evidence of toxic lead poisoning as well as survivalcannibalism. Not surprisingly the 2014 find, along with the discovery soon thereafter of a mostly intact (and aptly named) HMS Terror, led to a number of books on the subject. Two recent releases include Ice Ghosts by Paul Watson (released in 2017) and Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition by Owen Beattie and John Geiger (re-released in 2017). Both books deal with this spellbinding and gruesome story of daring exploration, catastrophe, and attempts to survive against all odds. And both are worth picking up.
n Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition by Owen Beattie and John Geiger.