Saturday, January 9, 2016

"HMS Terror" and" HMS Erebus" ~ Part 1

Who'd have believed that 2 little boys, John and Francis, growing up in Britain, 
would become not only sailors...they became expeditioners and explorers...
whose names would go down in history books, long to be remembered?
 Understandable, considering Britain to be a sea-going country with a great Navy. 
 The life of John and Francis is 'History behind the History'.

The HMS Terror...(launched in 1813)..was a bomb vessel designed by Sir Henry Peake and constructed by the Royal Navy. It saw service in the 'War of 1812' against United States. In 1828, she was commissioned for service in the Mediterranean ~ running aground near Lisbon, Portugal, as a result of a hurricane. Repaired for Arctic service in 1836, command of 'Terror' was given to Captain George Beck for an expedition to the northern part of Hudson Bay with a view to entering Repulse Bay. 'Terror' failed to reach this Bay and barely survived the winter on Southampton Island, at one point being forced 40 feet up the side a cliff by the ice. In the spring of 1837, an encounter with an iceberg further damaged the ship which was in a sinking condition by the time Beck was able to beach the ship on the coast of Ireland at Lough Swilly. Repaired, 'Terror' and 'Erebus' were next assigned expeditions to the Antarctic; they made 3 forays from 1840-1843, sailing through the Weddell Sea. The volcano, Mount Terror on Ross Island was named after the ship.

The HMS Erebus...was also designed by Sir Henry Peake and constructed by the Royal Navy in Pembroke dockyard, Wales in 1826. A Hecia-class bomber vessel, she was named after the dark region in Hades, of Greek mythology named 'Erebus'. After 2 years of service in the Mediterranean, 'Erebus' was refitted as an exploration vessel for Antarctic service. Captained by James Clark Ross, she departed from Tasmania for Antarctica in company with 'Terror'. In 1841, the crew of both ships landed on Victoria Land and proceeded to name areas of landscapes after British politicians, scientists and acquaintances. Mount Erebus on Ross Island was named after the ship itself. They then discovered the Ross Ice Shelf which they were unable to penetrate. Late in the season, they returned to Tasmania. The following season, 1842, they continued to survey the Great Ice Barrier. The two ships wintered in the Falkland Islands before returning to the Antarctic for the remaining1842 season and 1843 season. The ships conducted studies in magnetism and returned oceanographic data and collections of botanical and ornithological specimens.

Franklin's Lost Expedition

Both ships were outfitted with steam engines and iron plating was added to the hulls on their voyage to the Arctic with Sir John Franklin as the overall command of the expedition in 'Erebus' and 'Terror' under the command of Captain Francis Moira Crozier. They were ordered to gather magnetic data in the Canadian Arctic and complete a crossing of the Northwest Passage...which had already been charted from both the east and the west....but not entirely navigated. They entered Baffin Bay in August 1845. The disappearance of the Franklin expedition set off a massive search of the Arctic and the broad circumstances of the expedition's fate were revealed during a series of expeditions between 1848 and 1866. Both ships had become ice-bound and were abandoned by their crews...all of whom died of exposure and starvation while trying to trek overland to Fort Resolution, a Hudson's Bay outpost 600 miles to the southeast. Subsequent search expeditions continued up until the late 1980's : information was gleaned from autopsies of the crew members, testimonies from the local Inuit; also revealed was that their canned rations may have been tainted by both lead and botulism. Remains of a few crew members were found on King William Island in the late 20th century.

On August 15, 2008, Parks Canada, an agency of the Government of Canada, announced a CDN $75,000 six-week research, deploying the icebreaker CCGS Sir Wilfred Laurier (named after a Prime Minister of Canada) with the goal of finding the two ships. The search also intended to strengthen Canada's claims of sovereignty over large portions of the Arctic. Further attempts to locate the ships in 2010, 2011 and 2012 ~ all of which have failed to locate the ships' remains.

On September 8, 2014, it was announced that the wreckage of one of Franklin's ships was found on the 7th of September using a remotely operated undersea vehicle recently acquired by Parks Canada.
(At this writing, it is not yet known which ship has been found...
but the remains of the ship(s) are designated as a National Historic Site of Canada.)

The precise location is withheld in order to preserve the wreck and to prevent looting.  Is this wreck "The Terror"...or is it "The Erebus"?
Yes! Recent knowledge indicates it is 'Erebus'.
Be sure to read Part 2 of this significant history!

Man's merit lieth in service and virtue...
and not in the pageantry of wealth and riches.
Written by the Rhui Institute
(Quote sent to me by Meg)

Merle Baird-Kerr...written October 2, 2014
Comments appreciated...e-mail to:

No comments:

Post a Comment